Thursday, February 05, 2009



Men's Hoops Visits Rival LMU on Saturday

Courtesy: Pepperdine Sports Information
Release: 02/04/2009
Pepperdine Men's Basketball Notes

UPCOMING — Saturday marks the 149th meeting between the Pepperdine and Loyola Marymount men’s basketball teams. The visiting Waves have had the upper hand for the last 10 years and are trying to keep it that way, while the Lions are aiming for their first West Coast Conference win of the season. Pepperdine opened WCC play with a victory over its local rival and is looking to begin the second half of conference action with another win. Underclassmen are dominating the young Pepperdine lineup, as freshmen and sophomores are scoring nearly 86% of the points.
GAME #24 — Saturday (Feb. 7) at Gersten Pavilion in Los Angeles, Calif.: Pepperdine (5-18, 2-5, sixth place) at Loyola Marymount (1-22, 0-7, eighth place) at 7 p.m. The women's game between the two schools is at 4:30 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.
LOYOLA MARYMOUNT — Pepperdine is 88-60 all-time against Loyola Marymount. As one might expect with your chief rival, Pepperdine has played LMU more times than any other school. The Waves are in the midst of a very good stretch, having won 21 of the last 23 meetings dating back to the 1998-99 season. The Waves are going for their third consecutive sweep in a season series and have won five straight.
LAST TIME VS. LMU — Back on Jan. 10 ... Pepperdine continued its home-court dominance of Loyola Marymount as the Waves pulled off a 59-57 win in a game televised by ESPNU. It was the Waves’ 11th straight home win over the Lions. Keion Bell scored a team-high 15 points and Mychel Thompson and Dane Suttle Jr. each scored 12. Pepperdine led 38-27 early in the second half but went scoreless for eight minutes and LMU claimed a 42-38 advantage.
The Waves took the lead back for good with a 7-0 run and later held LMU scoreless for five minutes to take a nine-point lead in the final minute of play. The Lions never had a chance to tie or retake the lead, as LaRon Armstead banked in a three-quarter-court three-pointer at the buzzer to cut the final margin from five to two.
LAST GAME — The inside-outside play of Santa Clara proved to be a little too much as the visiting Waves fell 64-52 at the Leavey Center on Saturday (Jan. 31). Keion Bell had a team-high 12 points and Mychel Thompson added 10, but Santa Clara 7-footer John Bryant had 19 points and 17 rebounds and the Broncos made 12 three-pointers. Pepperdine trailed 33-26 at halftime and was outshot 37.0% to 47.8%.
KEION BELL — As Pepperdine’s leading scorer, Keion Bell has shown that he is a strong candidate for WCC All-Freshman team honors. He is averaging 12.3 points overall (13th in the WCC and third among conference freshmen) and 16.3 points in conference play (fourth in the WCC, first among freshmen). He has scored in double-figures in six of seven conference games, and is averaging 19.0 ppg over the last five games (all in double-figures). He nearly set or tied two school records in the win at San Francisco (1/29). His 32 points were two shy of the Pepperdine freshman record and his 13-for-14 shooting was one field goal made short of the single-game record for field-goal percentage. Bell also had his first collegiate double-double with 19 points and 12 rebounds vs. Gonzaga (1/22).
QUICK HITSRyan Holmes scored only two points in his first five games after returning from a knee injury, but then scored nine points at both San Francisco and Santa Clara ... The Waves had a good weekend shooting three-pointers, making 14 of 31 (45.2%) ... Pepperdine actually shot better on threes than on twos in both games ... The Waves have committed fewer turnovers than the opponent in three of the last four games.
ROTATION — Among the 12 players that got into the game against Santa Clara, nine were freshmen or sophomores and seven weren’t on the roster last year. Lately, Pepperdine has been starting three freshmen, a sophomore and a senior. Prior to that, the Waves had started four freshmen and one sophomore for nine straight games. The Waves have 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 58.9% of the scoring, compared to 26.6% by the sophomores and 14.4% by the seniors. The two games where freshmen contributed the most were at Hawaii and vs. Portland (76%).
STAT LEADERS — In the WCC, Keion Bell is tied for second in steals (1.52), sixth in free throw percentage (.750), 13th in scoring (12.3) and tied for 15th in assists (2.00) ... Taylor Darby is tied for fifth in rebounding (7.0) ... Dane Suttle Jr. is 10th in three-point field goal percentage (.390) and tied for 11th in three-pointers made (1.39) ... Andy Shannon is 11th in blocked shots (0.80) ... Rico Tucker is tied for 15th in assists (2.00) ... Mychel Thompson is 17th in scoring (10.8).
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 ... The Waves beat Loyola Marymount in Firestone Fieldhouse for the 11th consecutive time ... Pepperdine won its conference opener (vs. LMU) for the first time since 2005.
SOLES4SOULS — Pepperdine’s Student Athlete Advisory Committee, in conjunction with student-fan group Riptide, will be collecting shoes at Firestone Fieldhouse until Feb. 17 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.
AGRE OUT — Sophomore center Denis Agre, in his first season at Pepperdine after transferring from Central Arizona College, became academically ineligible at the start of the semester. He averaged 3.2 points and 3.6 rebounds and started seven of the first 16 games. 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 2008, 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 have been much more palatable to Waves fans in 2008-09. A year after playing just three non-conference home games, Pepperdine supporters were treated to eight this time around, including ones against such big-time opponents as Brigham Young and Georgia Tech, and in-state rivals such as Cal State Bakersfield, UC Irvine and Pacific. A few of the road games were notable too, including contests at Pac-10 foes Arizona State and USC. The Waves also took 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.
WCC HALL OF HONOR — Pepperdine great Doug Christie will be among the first class inducted into the WCC Hall of Honor at the WCC Tournament in Las Vegas in March. Christie was a two-time All-American and WCC Player of the Year in 1991 and 1992. The other seven set to be inducted are Hank Gathers (Loyola Marymount), Frank Burgess (Gonzaga), Clive Charles (Portland), Carroll Williams (Santa Clara), Tom Meschery (Saint Mary’s), Bernie Bickerstaff (San Diego) and Joe Ellis (San Francisco).
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). This is the 33rd consecutive season where at least one Pepperdine alum has been on an NBA roster. 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.
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 ticket

Pepperdine Team Report
Getting Inside
Pepperdine is not going to win a conference title, and it probably won’t finish in the top half of the West Coast Conference standings, but a few things that occurred in the Waves’ Jan. 29 victory over San Francisco may have made the season a success. Simply beating the Dons on USF’s home court was an accomplishment, since it provided the Waves with their first road win, an important milestone for a freshman-laden team like Pepperdine. With that win, the Waves pushed past San Francisco into sixth place midway through the conference season, a small but worthwhile step for a team picked to finish last.

Pepperdine has a good chance to pick up its third conference win in its next game, Feb. 7 against last-place Loyola Marymount, a team it beat earlier this season.Considering that the Waves lost the season’s first 12 games against Division I opponents, making some inroads in the WCC counts for something.But if the Waves are going to be a factor in the conference in the near future, they need a star player. Freshman Keion Bell showed signs in the win over San Francisco that he might be such a player. Bell hit 13 of 14 shots, including four of four 3-pointers, to score 32 points against the Dons, by far the most by a Pepperdine player this season. Bell had 22 of his points in the second half when the Waves were nailing down their first road win. Bell won’t be scoring 32 every game, but it was not a complete fluke, as he has been scoring well throughout the conference season. He scored in double figures in six of the Waves’ first seven conference games, and as of Feb. 2, he was averaging 17.0 points in conference games, ranking him third in the WCC.

Pepperdine is beginning to rely on his offensive production, and Bell has been the Waves’ leading scorer in six of their first seven conference games. He also leads the team in assists and is second in rebounds. Bell is the kind of player who could be the centerpiece of a successful team, but he needs to show he can do it throughout a season.
Notes, Quotes
• Pepperdine had lost six straight games to San Francisco before beating the Dons on Jan. 29.
• The Waves’ victory over San Francisco ended Pepperdine’s eight-game losing streak on their opponent’s home court. Their last road win came last February.
Quote To Note: “They couldn’t guard me down on the post.”—Santa Clara C John Bryant, after the Broncos’ Jan. 31 victory over Pepperdine, which simply does not have the size to cope with the 6-foot-10 Bryant.
Strategy And Personnel
Virtually everyone on the roster is getting a lot of playing time as coach Tom Asbury evaluates what he has and tries different combinations. Eleven players are averaging at least 13 minutes per game, and all 11 have started at least one game. Against San Francisco and Santa Clara, the Waves started three freshmen, a sophomore and a senior, and that seems to be Asbury’s best lineup.
Player Rotation: Usual starters — G Keion Bell, G Lorne Jackson, G Ron Holmes, F Taylor Darby, C Corbin Moore, F Mychel Thompson. Key subs—F Jonathan Dupre, G Michael Hornbuckle, G Lorne Jackson, G Dane Suttle Jr.
Game Review:
Portland 73, Pepperdine 58
Pepperdine 69, San Francisco 67
Santa Clara 64, Pepperdine 52
Game Preview:
at Loyola Marymount, Saturday, Feb. 7
vs. San Diego, Thursday, Feb. 12
vs. Santa Clara, Saturday, Feb. 14

In Focus: The Waves beat Loyola Marymount in a tight game at Pepperdine earlier in the season, and this is the Waves’ best chance for a second conference road win. The Waves are deeper than Loyola Marymount and might do well to try to wear the Lions down. Pepperdine’s zone defense should be effective against the Lions, who do not shoot well from the perimeter. The Waves need only keep an eye on Corey Counts at the 3-point line. Loyola Marymount will have trouble containing Keion Bell, and the Waves should run their offense through him.
Roster Report:• Former Pepperdine star Doug Christie will be one of eight players who will be the first inductees into the West Coast Conference Hall of Fame.
Lorne Jackson has scored in double figures nine times this season, but he did not reach double digits in any of the Waves’ first seven conference games and was scoreless in the Jan. 31 game against Santa Clara.
• Keion Bell was shooting 51.2 percent from the field in WCC games as of Feb. 2.• Senior Ryan Holmes totaled just two points in his first five games after returning from a knee injury, but he had nine points in each of the two next games against San Francisco and Santa Clara on Jan. 29 and 31.

The past is history. The future is a mystery and this moment is a gift. That is why this moment is called "the present".

NCAAB Matchup Pepperdine @ USC
The departure of O.J. Mayo did not leave the cupboard bare at USC. There was a collection of young talent waiting in the wings including Taj Gibson, who is still around to block shots (3.4 per game) and Daniel Hackett (7 assists a game). Now added to the mix is a highly sought-after freshman, DeMar DeRozan, who has all the God-given talent in the world but has yet to be the impact player Mayo was. The Trojans have suffered defeats at the hands of Seton Hall and Missouri and haven't really passed a test against a team that possesses a national ranking, although they did take things right down to the wire before losing to sixth-ranked Oklahoma in their last outing.
Pepperdine has had a woeful time taking care of the ball, so far they have averaged just under 19 turnovers. The Waves did their best to rebound from the disaster last season when Vance Walberg, the inventor of the dribble-drive offense, resigned. New Coach Tom Asbury, who had taken Pepperdine to the NCAA tournament three times in the process of 125 games, takes over again and brings some optimism back to the program. But it did not help that two standout freshmen from last year, Tyrone Shelley and Malcolm Thomas, who were the two top scorers on the roster, decided to leave the program.
There shouldn't be any excuses for the Trojans not to have focus as they haven't played since the Oklahoma game and don't face another real challenge until a week from now when they go up against Georgia Tech. The only issue for USC may be a little rust when facing their Malibu neighbor. Maybe, but it was Pepperdine who played like it was rusty last time out as the opponent, Pacific, chalked up 16 steals. Such sloppy play won't hold up if Tim Floyd's team has its concentration about it. But there is a back door to be concerned with. USC is not a particularly deep team, and had faltered often in the second half leading to the Oklahoma comeback. This may not be a game which will bring out a heck of a lot of enthusiasm in the Trojan players, and this number may be a bit inflated. But look - Pepperdine shot less than 27% against Arizona State and 36% against BYU. In those two games combined they had exactly ONE player in double figures. So maybe that back door stays closed.
A blowout is altogether possible, considering that USC is rested and has had time to prepare. Remember that Floyd is usually a very well-prepared coach. Lay the points with USC, the 26-point favorite in the BetUS NCAA college basketball sports betting odds.
JAY'S PLAY: USC -26 **
(Graded on a scale of 1-4 stars)

NCAA Basketball – San Diego at Pepperdine
Both of these teams beat up on Loyola-Marymount in the last week, but the similarities kind of end there.
San Diego is like a poor man's Washington State, in that they embark on slowing the game down and playing a disciplined offense and keep their opponents in a half-court offense on the other end. Because of this, they are often less affected by the hostile crowds on the road, and this has resulted in 16 covers in the last 19 road games for the Toreros.

Pepperdine does not have the lockdown defense it became known for several years ago. The Waves are more into cranking things up these days, and that is reflected on both ends of the court. Pepperdine scores 79 points a game (30th in the nation) but has yielded 48% shooting on the part of the opposition. because San Diego does a very good job at getting out on the perimeter, Pepperdine is going to be hard-pressed to hit the three-pointer, which is a major staple of their offensive attack.
San Diego will win this battle of tempo because it has demonstrated much more ability relative to the opposition. While Pepperdine is without a true quality win this season, San Diego has already knocked off the likes of Hawaii, Kentucky and Saint Mary's (in fact knocking the Gaels out of the rankings). They have the offensive threat (Brandon Johnson) that can make a difference. And with a four-game winning streak, you can see they know they had better get things into high gear if they're going to be a contender for the WCC title or a spot in the NIT.

Pepperdine at Portland
We may never get to the bottom of why Vance Walberg, a highly successful junior college coach who brought to Malibu his "dribble-drive" offense that was actually adopted openly by Memphis coach John Calipari, suddenly left the school for "personal reasons." What made the story more bizarre was that four of the team's players followed him, but among the rest there was near-mutiny, as Walberg was cited for abusing players emotionally and verbally.
It can be safely said that Saint Mary's, which is now ranked 21st in the USA Today poll and 25th in the Associated Press poll, was way overconfident when it took the court against Pepperdine on January 19 - the first game since a Waves program that looked like it was in shambles said goodbye to coach Vance Walberg. What they got was a scare before finally emerging victorious by a 79-74 count.
Pepperdine figures to get their full attention this time around, but it can also safely be said that the Waves, or at least those who remained with the team (four players left the program after Walberg) have been happier and looser under the interim coach Eric Bridgeland. Gonzaga may have run them off the court, but they've kept some games close, and even won a few, including a revenge match at home against Santa Clara in front of a noisy gym on Saturday.
But the Waves still haven't cured some of their shooting woes, which has seen them hitting just 37% of their shots over the last four games. Will they figure to get hot all of a sudden against a St. Mary's team that limited Loyola Marymount to just 26% from the floor. The Gaels also haven't been as charitable with the ball as several recent Pepperdine opponents, as they've coughed it up just a little over 11 times a game over the last five.

With four days off after this, until a non-conference tilt against Kent State, we see no reason why offensively-balanced St. Mary's couldn't pull away over time. And when the Waves get to this level of opponent is when their relative lack of athleticism will show - witness the games with Gonzaga.
We'll lay it with St. Mary's, the 14-point favorite in the BetUS NCAA college basketball betting odds.

Saint Mary's at Pepperdine
Because of all the tension building, it was actually a relief that he left, although he did leave behind a vacuum, if for no other reason than that his offensive scheme takes a while to develop and master. But when you look at Pepperdine's recent efforts, you can see that they have hung tough with a lot of teams, losing by five against nationally-ranked Saint Mary's, 15 to Santa Clara (in a game that was closer than the score indicated), three to San Francisco, and three to San Diego. And they beat Loyola Marymount by 23 - all of this after Walberg resigned. It was their bad luck that they caught Gonzaga coming off a bitter loss to St. Mary's and had a huge style disadvantage.
But no style disadvantage here. The Waves can drive Portland into a more up-tempo game, and almost won straight-up doing that on January 12 (lost by 4). In three of the last four games, the Pilots have shot 26%, 37% and 33%, so perhaps this time Pepperdine can control tempo against and tally the difference-making points.

Pepperdine Waves at San Francisco Dons
The legendary Eddie Sutton took over as head coach at San Francisco in late December, and his team has shown some improvement in the shooting department, occasionally getting beyond 60 points. But it hasn't translated to many wins, and in fact none over better teams. In fact, the Dons have covered just one of their last seven games, and haven't proven to be much of a three-point threat.
Meanwhile, Pepperdine, though a poor shooting team (less than 38% in three of its last four) has nonetheless continued to play hard in all areas for interim coach Eric Bridgeland, which was initially a big concern because of the nature of the coaching transition. But all of a sudden, you've got the Waves winning three of their last five games, and in one of the losses they were very competitive with defensive-minded San Diego, one of the better teams in the WCC.
Listen Now!NCAA Basketball Betting Radio!
True, Pepperdine turns the ball over a lot (17.2 a game), but they also force a lot of miscues on the part of the opponent (10.2 steals per contest). At this point in the season, when teams don't really have much of a chance to make an impact in the conference tournament, we usually like the team that shows they're trying hard. And if they're getting points, that's maybe a bonus.

Gonzaga at Pepperdine - The Bulldogs are Back Baby
Gonzaga is trying to climb its way back up the ladder in the national rankings. The Bulldogs went through some difficult times in the latter half of December. After losing a road game to Arizona, they faded in overtime against Connecticut, then lost a home game to a rather nondescript Portland State team, before traveling to Utah and losing a heart-breaker. That made four pointspread losses in a row, but since then the 'Zags have had a wake-up call of sorts. They went to Knoxville, a very tough place to play, and pulled away from Tennessee in the overtime period, winning by ten points. Then came an easy 17-point win over Portland, which may have been a letdown game to an extent, as they failed to cover the 21.5-point number. In the last two games, though, this team has taken no prisoners, blowing Santa Clara out of the gym (95-53) on the strength of a 55% onslaught of offense, then cruising to an 85-51 win over San Francisco. In those games, Gonzaga had a +36 rebounding margin. It should be mentioned that those latter two opponents are said to have improved over last year. Austin Daye was expected to follow up his outstanding freshman season with an even better one as a soph. If his effort against San Francisco was any indication, his game may elevate during conference play. Daye had 25 and nine rebounds against the Dons.
The same could be said about Pepperdine, if for no other reason than that they were so awful last season. The Waves had troubles on the court and off in the 2007-08 campaign, which included the mysterious resignation of Vance Walberg, the enigmatic coach who came to Malibu after crafting a great junior college career in which he literally invented the dribble-drive offense. Tom Asbury, who was the team's head coach from 1989-1994, was brought back to campus, but the residue of the Walberg tenure was going to take a while to disappear. After winning the opener against Cal State-Monterey Bay, they lost the next 12 games, and have beaten only Coppin State, Western Oregon and Loyola Marymount since then. The Waves are shooting only 39% as a team, and average almost 18 turnovers a contest. They've shot 35% against San Diego and 33% against Saint Mary's in the last two games. This is a rebuilding team, without question. Pepperdine is starting four freshmen and a sophomore right now, and this team is having a heck of a time scoring points (93 total in last two).

Men's Hoops Holds Down LMU in 58-43 Win
Courtesy: Pepperdine Sports Information

Release: 02/07/2009

LOS ANGELES, Calif. ­— Senior guard Ryan Holmes had 18 points and a tremendous defensive effort by the visiting Pepperdine men’s basketball team led to a 58-43 win over Loyola Marymount in a West Coast Conference game on Saturday evening.

Pepperdine improved to 6-18 overall and 3-5 in the WCC and swept the season series from LMU (1-23, 0-8). The Waves have now won six straight in the series, and 22 of the last 24 meetings. Holmes (Phoenix, Ariz./Millennium HS/Phoenix CC) had his best scoring game since returning at the start of the conference season from a knee injury. He also had a team-high four assists and made six of nine shots from the field.

Freshman guard Keion Bell (Los Angeles, Calif./Pasadena HS) collected his second career double-double with 15 points and 11 rebounds. He scored in double-figures for the sixth straight game and the seventh time in eight conference games. Sophomore forward Jonathan Dupre' (Houston, Texas/Marshall HS/Collin County CC) added eight points, his most in conference play.

The game was tied 37-37 but the Waves went on a game-deciding 11-0 run, and ended up outscoring the Lions 21-6 over the game’s final eight minutes. The Waves’ defense played a huge role, holding the Lions to just 25.8% shooting from the field. Both it and LMU’s total points were by far season lows by a Pepperdine opponent this season. Pepperdine shot 43.5% from the field.

“We did a great job defensively in both halves,” Pepperdine Coach Tom Asbury said. “You look at the numbers, that was a great job. We didn’t do that on the boards, unfortunately. We showed some poise in the end and made plays down the stretch. Our young players are maturing. Ryan Holmes, if that wasn’t his best game ever, it was certainly his best game for me. We got a lot of solid play out of all of our seniors.”

The Waves got off to a nice start, as freshman forward Taylor Darby (San Marcos, Calif./Mission Hills HS) had a couple of tip-ins and had six points in a 12-2 run, putting the Waves up 16-9 with 11:20 to play. But Pepperdine’s offense sputtered for nearly the next seven minutes, as the Waves missed six shots and committed four turnovers during a 10-0 LMU run that put the Lions ahead 19-16 with 5:14 to go.

The final five minutes was all Pepperdine, however, as it was LMU’s turn to go scoreless. The Waves snapped out of their drought with baskets on three consecutive possessions. Holmes made a steal and fed Bell for a lay-up with 4:28 left. Bell gave the Waves the lead back at 21-19 with a three-pointer with 3:48 to go, and Holmes converted a traditional three-point play to make it 24-19 with 3:21 left.

Dupre’ drained a long jumper with 35 seconds left, and the Waves went into halftime with a 26-19 edge. The 19 points were the fewest by a Pepperdine opponent in the first half this season, and the Waves held LMU to 19.4% shooting in the first half.

The Waves still had a seven-point lead at 32-25 after a tip-in by Bell, but another rough offensive stretch allowed the Lions to catch up and surpass the Waves, as an 11-2 run gave LMU a 36-34 advantage with 10 minutes to play. Tied 37-37, Bell scored on an offensive rebound to jump-start the 11-0 run and put the Waves ahead to stay. Senior guard Mike Hornbuckle (Westlake Village, Calif./Oaks Christian HS/Azusa Pacific) hit a three-pointer and a long jumper as part of the run, which allowed Pepperdine to put the game away. The Waves hit eight of eight free throws in the final two-plus minutes.

LMU collected an impressive 22 offensive rebounds, but turned that into just 16 second-chance points. The teams ended up tied at 39-39 in rebounding. Free throw shooting played an important role, as Pepperdine was 15-for-17 and LMU was 7-for-17.

The last time the Waves allowed fewer points to the Lions was a 55-41 victory in the 1958-59 season. Of the 12 players that saw action for the Waves, nine were freshmen or sophomores and seven weren’t on the roster last year.

The Waves return home next weekend to host Santa Clara (Thursday, Feb. 12 at 7:30 p.m.) and San Diego (Saturday, Feb. 14 at 5 p.m.). The game against the Toreros will be shown on FSN West. Subscribers to “Wave Casts” at can listen to Al Epstein’s call of the action.

Shooting Continues to Haunt Lions
Men's basketball shoots just 25.8 percent as they fall to rival, 58-43.
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Feb. 7, 2009
Box Score
Los Angeles, CA - Despite taking 16 more shots, the Loyola Marymount men's basketball team could not overcome 25.8 percent shooting from the field as they fell to rival Pepperdine, 58-43, in West Coast Conference action on Saturday night at Gersten Pavilion. The Lions went 16-for-62 from the field while Pepperdine went 20-for-46 (43.5 percent).
The Lions hit just six field goals in the first half and trailed 25-19 at the break. The shooting woes were not limited to just the field as they went just 4-for-22 from the three-point line (18.2 percent). In addition, the Lions, who entered Saturday second in the WCC in free throw shooting at better than 71 percent, went just 7-for-17 from the free throw line (41.2 percent).
"We could not hit anything tonight," said Head Coach Max Good. "We couldn't hit from inside, we couldn't even hit from the free throw line. We really struggled. We did a good job in creating opportunities, but we couldn't capitalize."
Vernon Teel led the Lions with 17 points and eight rebounds, all offensive. He was the only Lion in double figures as the shooting woes were evident in the freshman. Kevin Young finished with 13 rebounds, seven offensive, but had just six points while going just 3-for-12.
"We did a good job on the glass in giving ourselves additional opportunities, but we couldn't hit those either," said Good. The Lions had 22 offensive boards to Pepperdine's nine and outscored the Waves 16-9 in second chance points.
Jarred DuBois had nine points and seven rebounds but went just 3-for-20 from the field. Making matters worse, DuBois, who entered the game second in the WCC in free throw shooting at better than 86 percent, was just 2-for-5.
In addition to the rebound edge on the offensive glass, the Lions forced Pepperdine into 16 turnovers on seven steals while only having 13 turnovers. "We did better in taking care of the ball and creating offense from our defense, but again, we didn't take care of our opportunities," said Good.
The Lions trailed by seven for most of the second half but despite the rough shooting managed to erase the deficit and took the lead. Trailing 32-25, the Lions went on an 11-2 run, capped by a DuBois jumper to take a 36-34 lead with 10:00 to play. LMU couldn't seize the momentum as the Waves retook the lead on three free throws and never lost it.