Friday, January 02, 2009


Men's Hoops Hosts Western Oregon on Saturday
Courtesy: Pepperdine Sports Information
Release: 01/01/2009

Buy Tickets to Saturday's Game.
Subscribe to "Wave Casts" and Watch Saturday's Game On-Line.
Pepperdine Men's Basketball Game Notes

UPCOMING — The Pepperdine men’s basketball team begins the new year with its final non-conference game against Western Oregon, an NCAA Division II school, this weekend. After three strong showings at the Rainbow Classic, the Waves hope to continue to build up positive momentum heading into the West Coast Conference season.
Underclassmen are dominating the young Pepperdine lineup, as freshmen and sophomores are scoring more than 85% of the points.
GAME #16 — Saturday (Jan. 3) at Firestone Fieldhouse: Pepperdine (2-13) vs. Western Oregon (6-3) at 2 p.m.
ON THE WEB — Subscribers to "Wave Casts" can catch all Pepperdine men’s basketball games on the internet at Veteran play-by-play man Al Epstein, now in his 24th season with the Waves, is behind the microphone. Non-televised home games will have live audio and video, while road games will be audio only. Go to the Pepperdine Athletics website and look for the WaveCasts link. An annual pass costs $69.95 and monthly subscriptions are also available. Live statistics will be available for all home matches free of charge, and links are provided to the home team’s website when the Waves are on the road.
TICKETS — Men’s basketball single-game tickets cost $15 (lower reserved), $12 (upper reserved), $10 (adult general admission) or $5 (children general admission). Call (866) WAVE-TIX to purchase tickets.
OPPONENT — This is Pepperdine’s first-ever meeting with Western Oregon, an NCAA Division II school located in Monmouth, Ore., which is a member of the Great Northwest Athletic Conference. The Wolves were slated to play Brigham Young (a previous Pepperdine opponent) last month but the game was rescheduled due to weather issues.
LAST THREE GAMES — The Waves finished in sixth place at the 45th Annual Outrigger Hotels Rainbow Classic, hosted by Hawaii, last weekend. In the opener, Buffalo’s Andy Robinson hit a short jumper with 0.8 seconds left to give the Bulls a 72-71 overtime victory and send the Waves to a heartbreaking loss. In a consolation bracket game, Lorne Jackson made a driving lay-up with 6.6 seconds left to give the Waves a 58-56 lead over Coppin State. Fortunately, Pepperdine wasn’t victimized by a buzzer-beater for the second straight night as the Eagles missed a three-pointer at the horn. The win ended Pepperdine’s 12-game losing streak. In the consolation championship game, host Hawaii pulled off a 78-70 win as the Waves finally ran out of gas in the second half of their third game in three days.
MORE RAINBOW CLASSIC NOTES — Pepperdine’s scoring leaders for the tournament were Lorne Jackson (14.0 ppg) and Mychel Thompson (11.0 ppg) ... Rebounding leaders were Taylor Darby (9.0 rpg) and Corbin Moore (7.3 rpg) ... Assist leader was Rico Tucker (3.0 apg) ... Pepperdine led at halftime in just three of the first 12 games this season, then led at the break at all three Rainbow Classic games ... It was Pepperdine’s second appearance at the Rainbow Classic after a fourth-place finish in 2003.
ROTATION — Among the 10 players that have seen the most playing time lately, eight are freshmen or sophomores and seven weren’t on the roster last year ... Pepperdine has been starting four freshmen and one sophomore, and has played five freshmen on the court at one time on an occasional basis.
FRESHMAN SCORING — Last year, freshmen scored 63.6% of Pepperdine’s points. It looks like the new group of freshmen will lead the way in 2008-09 as well. Right now they account for 57.3% of the scoring, compared to 27.9% by the sophomores and 14.8% by the seniors.
INJURY UPDATE — Senior point guard Ryan Holmes suffered a knee injury two minutes into the New Mexico State game on Nov. 21 and has missed 11 straight games. He was attempting a lay-up but an Aggie player landed on him. It was diagnosed as a sprain and he is expected to be out until at least early January. One of just three upperclassmen on the squad, the absence of Holmes’ experience and steady point guard play has been felt by the young Waves ... Sophomore forward Jonathan Dupre' suffered a sprained ankle against Georgia Tech on Dec. 20 and did not play at the Rainbow Classic.
STAT LEADERS — Scoring leaders are freshman Keion Bell (11.1), sophomore Mychel Thompson (10.3), freshman Lorne Jackson (8.9) and freshman Dane Suttle Jr. (8.0) ... Rebounding leaders are freshman Taylor Darby (7.2), freshman Corbin Moore (5.0) and sophomore Denis Agre (3.8).
SEASON NOTABLES — The win over Cal State Monterey Bay gave the Waves their first victory in a season opener since 2001-02 ... Veteran broadcaster Al Epstein called his 700th consecutive Pepperdine men’s basketball broadcast vs. Pacific on Dec. 13 ... The game at Cal State Northridge on Dec. 18 was the 2,000th in program history ... Pepperdine’s 12-game losing streak tied the third-longest in program history and was the longest since the 1965-66 season.
SOLES4SOULS — Pepperdine’s Student Athlete Advisory Committee, in conjunction with student-fan group Riptide, will be collecting shoes at Firestone Fieldhouse throughout the 2008-09 basketball season for Soles4Souls. Soles4Souls has already successfully donated more than one million pairs of shoes to those hurting both domestically and internationally. Fans can drop off shoes, both new and used, into the Soles4Souls collection box located near the concession stand at Firestone Fieldhouse, or among several additional boxes placed throughout Pepperdine’s Malibu campus.
ROSTER — The Waves have just five players that saw action last season. Only four of them were on the roster at season’s end, and because of injuries, only two of them played in the 2007-08 season finale at the WCC Tournament. The five returners accounted for 40.2% of last year’s scoring (950/2,365), 32.0% of the rebounding (357/1,117), 59.6% of the assists (239/401), 16.4% of the blocked shots (21/128) and 57.9% of the steals (183/316). To replenish the roster, the Waves added 10 newcomers. Two are sophomores that are junior college transfers, six are scholarship freshmen and two others are walk-on freshmen. Of the 15 players, 12 are underclassmen. The breakdown is three seniors, zero juniors, four sophomores and eight freshmen.
RETURNERS — Three players — senior Rico Tucker (10.7 ppg last season), sophomore Mychel Thompson (8.1 ppg) and senior Ryan Holmes (6.0 ppg) — were starters in 2007-08. Senior Mike Hornbuckle (5.5 ppg) saw extended playing time last season and started half of the 32 games. Sophomore Gus Clardy (1.3 ppg), a walk-on, appeared in 16 games last season.
NEWCOMERS — When Tom Asbury was hired in February, he was given a very late start to the recruiting process. The three recruits that signed letters-of-intent with the previous coaching staff were given their release, and several players transferred following the season. With many holes to fill, Asbury and his staff utilized their contacts, identified the best of the remaining unsigned talent that fit their needs and put together a very impressive group under the circumstances. The Sporting News ranked Pepperdine’s recruiting class #2 in the West Coast Conference.
NON-CONFERENCE SCHEDULE — The home schedule should be much more palatable to Waves fans in 2008-09. A year after playing just three non-conference home games, Pepperdine supporters will be treated to eight this time around, including ones against such big-time opponents as Brigham Young and Georgia Tech, and in-state foes such as Cal State Bakersfield, UC Irvine and Pacific. A few of the road games are notable too, including contests at Pac-10 foes Arizona State and USC. The Waves will also take part in the Rainbow Classic in Hawaii right after Christmas.
TELEVISION — The Waves will appear on television several times once again in 2008-09. Six games will be shown locally (Nov. 21 at Arizona State on FSN Prime Ticket, Jan. 10 vs. Loyola Marymount on ESPNU, Jan. 22 vs. Gonzaga on FSN West, Feb. 14 vs. San Diego on FSN West, Feb. 21 at Gonzaga on ESPNU and Feb. 26 vs. Saint Mary’s on FSN West). A few other games will be televised out of market (Nov. 21 at New Mexico State on FSN Arizona, Dec. 28 vs. Buffalo on KFVE in Hawaii, Jan. 17 at Saint Mary’s on Comcast Sports Net California).
TOM ASBURY — It was announced on Feb. 19, 2008, that the architect of one of the best stretches in Pepperdine history, Tom Asbury, was returning to Malibu to become the Waves’ head coach again. Asbury was previously at Pepperdine for 15 seasons, the first nine as an assistant coach (1980-88) and then the next six as the head coach (1989-94). He then served as head coach at Kansas State from 1995-2000 and was most recently an assistant coach at Alabama from 2004-07. Asbury went 125-59 (.679) in his first six seasons with the Waves and 210-147 (.588) in his first 12 seasons overall as a head coach. The Waves went to the postseason five times in six years with three NCAA Tournament appearances (1991, ’92, ’94) and two in the NIT (1989, ’93). Pepperdine won three regular-season West Coast Conference titles, finished no worse than second in any of his six seasons and compiled a league record of 66-18 (.786). Pepperdine’s only three WCC Tournament championships came under Asbury.
ASSISTANTSTom Asbury wanted to find assistants with a passion for Pepperdine and an understanding of its mission, so he turned to three former student-athletes. It’s believed that Duke and Pepperdine have the only two college basketball staffs where the assistant coaches are all alums. Associate head coach Marty Wilson (1985-89) and assistant coaches Damin Lopez (1990-94) and Will Kimble (2001-03) played in three different eras, all successful. In the 13 seasons that made up their playing careers, Pepperdine went a combined 261-135 (.659), had 12 winning seasons, won six WCC regular-season titles and three WCC tournament titles, and made six NCAA Tournaments and four NITs.
RECRUITS — The Waves signed two players to letters-of-intent for 2009-10 during the early-signing period. They are 6-foot-3 point guard Josh Lowery (Phoenix, Ariz./Desert Vista HS) and 6-foot-9 forward/center Tanner Kerry (Sydney, Australia).
WCC PRESEASON POLL — Unfortunately, Pepperdine was picked to finish eighth in the conference’s preseason poll, done by a vote of the coaches. The predicted order of finish went Gonzaga, Saint Mary’s, San Diego, Santa Clara, San Francisco, Portland, Loyola Marymount and Pepperdine.
LAST SEASON — The midseason resignation of Vance Walberg and several player departures that followed contributed to Pepperdine’s third straight losing season, as the Waves finished 11-21 overall and sixth in the WCC at 4-10. They defeated Portland in the first round of the WCC Tournament before falling to eventual champion San Diego in the quarterfinals.
PEPPERDINE HISTORY — This is the 71st season of Pepperdine basketball, and the Waves opened 2008-09 with an all-time record of 1,102-887 (.554). Pepperdine has been to the NCAA Tournament 13 times (last in 2002), and has won 12 West Coast Conference regular-season titles (last in 2002) and three WCC Tournament crowns (last in 1994).
BEST IN THE WEST — Over the 30-season period from the 1978-79 season through the 2007-08 campaign, Pepperdine has proven itself as one of the top Division I programs on the West Coast. Of the 31 schools that currently play Division I basketball in California, Oregon or Washington, the Waves began the 2008-09 season ranking third overall in postseason appearances (16) and fifth in both wins (516) and winning percentage (.575) over the past 30 years.
WAVES IN THE PROS — Several former Pepperdine players have gone on to play in the NBA, most notably Dennis Johnson (the 1979 NBA Finals MVP) and Doug Christie (a 15-year NBA veteran who was a mainstay on the All-Defensive Team). Currently in the NBA is Yakhouba Diawara, now in his third season overall and his first with the Miami Heat. Alex Acker is on the Detroit Pistons’ roster for the second time, having also appeared briefly with the team in 2005-06. Some recent players have been playing in foreign countries, including Brandon Armstrong (Ukraine), Casey Crawford (Mexico), Tashaan Forehan-Kelly (New Zealand), Jelani Gardner (Greece), Kelvin Gibbs (Germany), Chase Griffin (Germany), Dana Jones (Switzerland) and Glen McGowan (Dominican Republic) and Levy Middlebrooks (Mexico). Robert "Hollywood" Turner, formerly a member of the Harlem Globetrotters, is now playing in Germany.
ABOUT PEPPERDINE — Pepperdine boasts a one-of-a-kind athletic department with unprecedented success for a school of its size. The Waves have won a total of nine NCAA championships in five different men’s sports — one of just 14 schools to have accomplished this feat. Of the 14, Pepperdine is the only non-BCS school and has by far the smallest enrollment. The majority of Pepperdine’s teams are ranked nationally year after year and several compete for conference and national titles.
Waves report: Getting inside
Oct. 25, 2008 The Sports Xchange

The tide nearly overtook Pepperdine last season. But this season, the Waves could benefit from a rocky season that should put a crop of talented underclassmen in a position to pull more than its share of surprises.
Pepperdine lost 21 games but showed dramatic improvement under interim coach Eric Bridgeland, who was replaced in the offseason by Tom Asbury. Asbury has a history of success at Pepperdine, having led the Waves to three NCAA Tournament berths in his six seasons as the Waves coach from 1989 through 1994.
Bridgeland should get credit for keeping this team competitive in light of the misseason coaching change and the departure of three key players immediately after Vance Walberg quit the job midway through his second season as coach.
There are many reasons for Pepperdine fans to be excited, but the Waves are still reeling from the loss of freshmen stars Tyrone Shelley and Malcolm Thomas.They were immediate assets but both opted to leave the program.
Still, there are valuable pieces for Asbury to mold. Pepperdine had a finishing kick down the stretch last March and momentum is on the Waves' side.
The Waves were 6-12 overall and 0-2 in the conference following a blowout loss to Gonzaga when Walberg left. They went 5-9 the rest of the way under Bridgeland, but won four of their last eight games, including a win in the first round of the WCC tournament even though Pepperdine was without its starting point guard, Rico Tucker.
Tucker, who tore his anterior cruciate ligament late in the season, should be back as a potential team centerpiece, but Asbury inherits a team that returns all of its key players.
Asbury was an assistant to Jim Harrick for nine seasons at Pepperdine and took over at the end of the 1988 season. He won the WCC three times and had two NIT berths in addition to the NCAA trips in 1991, '92 and '94.

Thompson Helps Waves Beat Western Oregon
Courtesy: Pepperdine Sports Information

Release: 01/03/2009

MALIBU, Calif. ­— Sophomore forward Mychel Thompson scored 21 points, including a couple of big baskets down the stretch, to lead the Pepperdine men’s basketball team to a 77-67 victory over Western Oregon on Saturday afternoon at Firestone Fieldhouse.

The Waves won for the second time in three games and improved to 3-13. Western Oregon, an NCAA Division II school, fell to 6-4. Thompson (Ladera Ranch, Calif./Stoneridge Prep), who also had seven rebounds and three assists, was one of four Waves in double-figures. He scored Pepperdine’s final nine points of the game after the Wolves pulled within three points at 68-65 with 2:50 to play.

Freshman forward Taylor Darby (San Marcos, Calif./Mission Hills HS) had his third double-double of the season with a season-high 15 points and 13 rebounds. Freshman forward Dane Suttle Jr. (Los Angeles, Calif./Summit College Prep) had 16 points in 18 minutes before fouling out and freshman guard Lorne Jackson (Simi Valley, Calif./Simi Valley HS) added 10 points and five assists.

Western Oregon had its offense clicking early, and with the help of two three-pointers by Sam Kelly, the Wolves grabbed a 14-7 lead at the first media timeout. The Waves awoke with a 14-2 run over the next 4 ½ minutes, with Thompson scoring seven of the points. That gave Pepperdine a 21-16 lead with 11:28 left.

The Waves’ lead grew to 25-19 after a lay-up by senior guard Mike Hornbuckle (Westlake Village, Calif./Oaks Christian HS/Azusa Pacific) and 29-22 after a lay-up by freshman center Corbin Moore (Cypress, Calif./Los Alamitos HS) off a terrific entry pass from freshman guard Keion Bell (Los Angeles, Calif./Pasadena HS). Pepperdine took a double-digit lead at 37-27 with less than five minutes to go after Jackson drained a three-pointer from the left wing. Western Oregon closed out the half on a 6-2 run, and Pepperdine went into the break ahead 41-35.

After Thompson hit a three-pointer to make the score 52-40 with 16:05 to play, the Waves maintained a double-digit lead for the next nine minutes. The biggest lead was 15 points at 56-41 with 13:45 left. Later, two free throws by Suttle gave the Waves a 66-52 lead with 8:43 to play.

Over the next five minutes, however, Pepperdine missed seven shots and committed two turnovers, and Western Oregon went on an 11-0 run, fueled by five points by Stanley Ratcliffe and a pair of baskets by Blair Wheadon, to cut Pepperdine’s lead to just three points at 66-63 with 3:55 left. Darby finally ended the drought with a putback with 3:23 to play, but the Wolves made it a three-point game again at 68-65 with 2:50 left after two Travis Kuhns free throws.

Thompson helped rescue the Waves from there, as he first hit a jumper from the left baseline, then a three-pointer from the top of the key, to push Pepperdine’s lead back up to 73-65 with 1:40 left. He went 4-for-4 from the free throw line in the final 30 seconds to ice the victory.

Both teams’ shooting cooled off in the second half. The Waves shot 48.6% in the first half but finished at 40.0%. The Wolves shot 32.8% for the game, a season low by a Pepperdine opponent. Pepperdine had a season-low nine turnovers and a season-high 19 assists. The Waves had 18 offensive rebounds and turned that into a 20-8 edge in second-chance points. Western Oregon had five players score in double-figures, led by 16 points from Wheadon.

Of the 10 players that saw action for the Waves, eight were freshmen or sophomores and seven weren’t on the roster last year. The Waves played their 12th straight game without Ryan Holmes (Phoenix, Ariz./Millennium HS/Phoenix CC), their starting point guard and one of just three seniors, who is sidelined by a knee injury. Sophomore forward Jonathan Dupre' (Houston, Texas/Marshall HS/Collin County CC) missed his fourth straight game with a sprained ankle.
The Waves begin West Coast Conference play next Saturday (Jan. 10) against local rival Loyola Marymount at 8 p.m. The game will be shown on ESPNU. Subscribers to “Wave Casts” at can hear Al Epstein’s call of the action.