Tyler Haws, Frank Bartley IV, Josh Sharp, Kyle Collinsworth, Matt Carlino

BYU's Tyler Haws, left, Frank Bartley IV, Josh Sharp, Kyle Collinsworth and Matt Carlino come together at mid-court after Oregon took the lead in overtime in an NCAA college basketball game in Eugene on Saturday, Dec. 21, 2013. Oregon defeated BYU 100-96 in overtime. (AP Photo/Chris Pietsch)

Speaking of location, there are worse places in college basketball-playing America to be stuck on a three-game losing streak.

And BYU would like to get on the winning track Monday (8 p.m. MST) against a West Coast Conference team, Pepperdine, that's had its share of bad luck (or no luck at all) when playing the Cougars.

"We've got to come together as a team and we've just got play. We've got to play extremely hard at a high level," Skyler Halford said as he has taken no solace in an expanded role while his team has fallen to 8-6 amid the worst losing streak of the Dave Rose-coached era.

Could a couple days spent in the pristine enclave of Malibu, Calif., be the elixir?

BYU has never lost to the Waves in four meetings as WCC opponents. Last January, Pepperdine squandered a 12-pont lead to lose by two.

Even this year, Pepperdine (8-5) won its WCC opener (unlike the Cougars) but continues to me a mystifying team at Firestone Fieldhouse.

USD defeated San Francisco on Saturday, outscoring an opponent in both halves for the first time this season. Also, Pepperdine is a better shooting team away from home: 51 percent field-goal percentage compared to 46; and an even wider spread (45 to 26) from the 3-point line.

Forgive BYU if it feels like there are far bigger issues to solve.

Saturday's one-sided defeat at Loyola Marymount in Los Angeles (where BYU has also won the previous two seasons) was the 10th straight game with guards Matt Carlino, Kyle Collinsworth and Tyler Haws plus big men Nate Austin and Eric Mika as the starters, and 12th time this season. The Cougars are now a mere 6-6 when that favorable five start.

Carlino's amid possibly the worst slump of his career, and still hoisting outside shots at a high rate. Haws has been in-and-out of consistency from game to game. Mika and Austin are seemingly battling more foul trouble than the issues senior center Brandon Davies faced last year, which frustrated the Cougars and their strategies to no end.

The two bright spots at LMU were Halford and Collinsworth, the latter of which had 18 points and eight rebounds plus three assists in his first WCC game.

Offense is hardly stellar, especially from the 3-point line. But Rose sees bigger concerns.

"It comes down to the defensive end, where we have to be better to start the game. If we're going to make a run to come back, you can't just keep trying to match their score. That's been an issue with our team throughout the year," Rose said shortly after the LMU defeat, in which BYU never cut the deficit to single digits in the second half.

Some early losses were hard to swallow, but understandable. But there's always been the insistence (seemingly from inside and outside the program) that the lessons would make BYU stronger.

That hasn't shown itself in a while. Lopsided defeats this month to Utah and LMU — not exactly NCAA Tournament-caliber teams right now — have become especially alarming.

BYU hasn't won since Dec. 11 at home against overmatched Prairie View.

"Everybody said how difficult our schedule was in the preseason. The bottom line is we told the guys what's really hard is what we're about to jump into here. It's way more difficult than the games we just played," Rose said of league play, when the 10 WCC teams will face each other twice. "These league games everybody scouts you, everybody knows you. They know your tendencies. They know how you want to play and they try to make you play a different way."

Rose basically said he needs some standout players (think Haws, Carlino and Collinsworth) to play more consistently as veterans. Different essentially meaning more consistent.

"To have a team that's really successful you have to be able to count on certain guys to do certain things every night. That's what we're lacking right now," Rose said. "We don't really know what we can count on going through the lineup and the roster. So that will be our challenge to find what we know we have and what we can count on and hopefully be consistent with that."

BYU (8-6, 0-1) at Pepperdine (8-5, 1-0)

8 p.m. MST, Firestone Fieldhouse (Malibu, Calif.)

Radio: KSL 1160 AM (102.7 FM)

TV: Comcast SportsNet Bay Area (also online at TheW.tv)

Tip-ins: BYU has won all four meetings against the Waves as WCC foes. ...Senior forward Brendan Lane, a UCLA transfer, is averaging 15.2 points and 8.1 rebounds and leads the WCC with 2.3 blocks per game.

 
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