Pepperdine ends nine-game losing streak to San Diego with win
Staff and Wire Services
Updated: 02/14/2009 10:27:46 PM PST
Keion Bell scored 18 points and Ryan Holmes added 17 points as the Pepperdine men's basketball team defeated San Diego 57-52 Saturday at Firestone Fieldhouse.
Pepperdine snapped a nine-game losing streak against the Toreros.
The Waves (8-18, 5-5 Big West Conference) won their third straight.
Rob Jones had 13 points and seven rebounds and Danny Brown scored 11 points for San Diego (13-13, 5-6), which has lost six of its past seven games.
Men's Hoops Beats USD, Wins 3rd Straight
Courtesy: Pepperdine Sports Information
Pepperdine-San Diego Box Score
MALIBU, Calif. — Keion Bell and Ryan Holmes combined for 35 points to lead the Pepperdine men’s basketball team to a very happy Homecoming and a 57-52 victory over San Diego in a West Coast Conference game on Thursday evening at Firestone Fieldhouse.
The Waves (8-18, 5-5) ended a nine-game losing streak to the Toreros (13-13, 5-6). The Waves’ victory also gives them their most conference wins since 2005. Pepperdine now has a three-game winning streak, notable because it’s the first one this season and the Waves’ first in WCC play since February 2004. Coupled with Thursday’s 66-60 win over Santa Clara, this is Pepperdine’s first two-game weekend sweep in WCC action since January 2005.
Bell (Los Angeles, Calif./Pasadena HS), a freshman guard, had game highs of 18 points and 10 rebounds for his third double-double of the season. He also had five steals and four assists. Twelve of Bell’s points came in the second half. Holmes (Phoenix, Ariz./Millennium HS/Phoenix CC), a senior guard, added 17 points and three assists.
The Waves trailed by 11 points in the first half and earned their second straight double-digit comeback victory. Pepperdine led 30-28 at halftime and for nearly the entire second half, but had to hold off a USD rally that saw the Toreros take a potential go-ahead three-point attempt with 16 seconds left. It was another stellar defensive effort by Pepperdine, which held USD to 33.9% shooting. The Waves made just enough of their shots, hitting 36.2%, and also had a 46-32 advantage on the boards.
“In the last three games we’ve really defended people,” Pepperdine Coach Tom Asbury said. “We’ve won on the defensive end, no question about it. We made it interesting at the end, and we were able to come back from a big deficit again. But we kept our poise and we’ve showed that we’re maturing. This was a great effort. Our mantra has been that we want to finish empty, with each guy leaving it all on the floor, and that’s what we’ve been doing.
“Ryan and Keion were both really solid, really played well. Keion gets stronger as the game goes on, and is making big plays at the end. He doesn’t feel the magnitude of the game or situation, he just plays. Ryan has done everything you’d want in a fifth-year senior point guard.”
In the first meeting with the Toreros in San Diego, the Waves fell behind by the score of 13-2. Tonight, Pepperdine was behind 12-2 after three minutes, and USD later built 11-point leads at 19-8 and 21-10. It was still a 10-point game at 24-14 with a little more than five minutes to play when the Waves began to take charge.
Over the next 3 ½ minutes, the Waves went on a 14-0 run, and Holmes led the way with seven points (he had 11 in the first half). He began the streak with a reverse lay-up and ended it with a long jumper and a three-pointer. His last basket gave the Waves a 28-24 lead with 1:35 left.
USD tied the game again at 28-28, but Bell let the game clock wind down before driving in for a lay-up just before the buzzer, giving the Waves a 30-28 halftime lead. The Toreros took their only lead of the second half at 35-34, but Holmes gave the Waves the lead back with a three-pointer. Pepperdine was still ahead by two at 41-39 when Bell scored the final six points of a 7-0 run to push the advantage to 48-39 with 6:25 left.
The Waves still led by nine at 52-43 after Holmes’ fast-break lay-up with 2:30 left. But Pepperdine was careless with the ball a couple of times, and USD scored the next six points to make the score 52-49 with 1:45 left.
Bell sank a short jumper to beat the shot clock with 1:15 remaining, giving the Waves a five-point lead again at 54-49. USD’s Rob Jones drained a three-pointer with 33 seconds left to make it a two-point game at 54-52. Another turnover gave USD a chance to take the lead on Danny Brown’s three-point attempt, but Bell collected his 10th rebound of the game and was fouled. He sank both free throws to make the score 56-52 with 14.2 seconds remaining.
After a USD miss, Holmes sealed the victory with a free throw with six seconds left and ended the contest with a steal. Bell and Holmes scored Pepperdine’s final 15 points of the game and 18 of the Waves’ 27 second-half points. Of the 10 players that saw action for the Waves, eight were freshmen or sophomores, and six weren’t on the roster last year.
The Waves head to the Pacific Northwest next weekend and will visit Portland on Thursday (Feb. 19) at 7 p.m. and Gonzaga on Saturday (Feb. 21) at 8:30 p.m. The Gonzaga game will be shown on ESPNU. Subscribers to “Wave Casts” at http://www.pepperdinesports.com/?SPSID=90183&SPID=10851&DB_OEM_ID=18500 can listen to Al Epstein’s call of the action.
Waves Host USD in FSN West-Televised Game
Courtesy: Pepperdine Sports Information
Pepperdine Men's Basketball Game Notes
UPCOMING — Following a thrilling comeback victory over Santa Clara, the Pepperdine men’s basketball team has won two straight West Coast Conference contests and three of four. The Waves next take on San Diego in a Valentine’s Day game that will be televised by FSN West. It’s also Homecoming at Pepperdine. Underclassmen are dominating the young Pepperdine lineup, as freshmen and sophomores are scoring nearly 85% of the points. Kenpom.com rates the Waves as having the eighth least-experienced team in the country.
GAME #26 — Saturday (Feb. 14) at Firestone Fieldhouse: Pepperdine (7-18, 4-5, sixth place) vs. San Diego (13-12, 5-5, tied for fourth place) at 5 p.m.
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.
ON THE WEB — Subscribers to "Wave Casts" can catch all Pepperdine men’s basketball games on the internet at www.pepperdinesports.com. 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 and home TV 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.
ON TELEVISION — The Pepperdine-San Diego game will be televised live by FSN West. Ron Pitts and former Pepperdine Coach Jim Harrick will call the game.
SAN DIEGO — Pepperdine is 52-32 all-time against San Diego. However, the Toreros have won nine straight in the series, including one earlier this season. USD has ended Pepperdine’s season at the WCC Tournament in each of the last four seasons. The Waves last won in 2006 at home. Tom Asbury went 13-1 against San Diego in his first stint as head coach.
LAST TIME VS. SAN DIEGO — Back on Jan. 15 ... San Diego’s WCC-leading defense clamped down on Pepperdine, holding the Waves to 35.2% shooting and a 62-47 loss at the Jenny Craig Pavilion. The Waves scored a season-low 17 points in the first half and the Toreros went up 30-17 at the break before leading by as many as 21 in the second half. Mychel Thompson was the only Wave in double-figures with 15 points. Corbin Moore added eight points and nine rebounds. The duo shot 9-for-16 from the field, while the rest of the team went 10-for-38, with no one else scoring more than five points. One bright spot for the Waves was a +12 rebounding margin (37-25), which included 14 offensive rebounds (five by Moore).
LAST GAME — After trailing by 15 points early in the second half and still down by eight with less than four minutes to play, the Pepperdine men’s basketball team went on a 16-0 run to stun Santa Clara and earn a 66-60 victory in Firestone Fieldhouse on Thursday night (Feb. 12). The Broncos led 39-24 and 41-26 to start the second half and were still up 58-50 with four minutes left. Jonathan Dupre' and Mychel Thompson hit three-pointers on back-to-back possessions to start the run. A baseline jumper by Dupre’ tied the game at 58-58 with 2:37 left. Keion Bell made two free throws at 1:56 to give Pepperdine its first lead since the first minute of the game. Corbin Moore extended the lead with a tip-in with 58 seconds to play, and Thompson and Bell each made a pair of free throws in the final minutes. Santa Clara’s four-minute drought (which saw four missed shots, two missed free throws on the front ends of one-and-ones and two turnovers) finally ended with 12 seconds remaining in the game. Dupre’ scored a season-high 16 points and Bell and Thompson each scored 14.
MORE FROM LAST GAME — The 15-point comeback was Pepperdine’s largest in a victory this season ... It was Pepperdine’s first victory this season when trailing at halftime (1-14) and the first when trailing with five minutes to play (1-16) ... Ryan Holmes had a career-high seven assists ... Pepperdine has beaten Santa Clara in Firestone Fieldhouse four straight times and 12 of the last 13 ... The Broncos haven’t swept a season series against the Waves since 1984 ... Despite John Bryant’s presence (25 points and 12 rebounds), the Waves had a 39-31 rebounding edge (including 18 offensive rebounds).
KEION BELL — Pepperdine’s leading scorer, Keion Bell, has proven himself as a leading candidate for WCC All-Freshman team honors. He is averaging 12.5 points overall (13th in the WCC and third among conference freshmen) and 15.9 points in conference play (seventh in the WCC, first among freshmen). He has scored in double-figures in eight of nine conference games, and is averaging 17.7 ppg over the last seven 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. Though just 6-foot-3, he has two double-doubles that came against Gonzaga (1/22, 19 points, 12 rebounds) and Loyola Marymount (2/7, 15 points, 11 rebounds).
QUICK HITS — A win over San Diego would give Pepperdine its first two-game weekend sweep in WCC play since January 2005 ... Pepperdine has improved to 5-5 in games decided by nine or fewer points (3-2 in games decided by five or fewer points).
FREE THROWS — Pepperdine currently leads the WCC in free throw percentage at 70.7%. The Waves would like to get there a little more, as they’ve only shot 399 free throws compared to 535 for opponents. Seven of Pepperdine’s regulars are at 70% or above. Only Keion Bell appears in the WCC individual leaders (tied for sixth place at 75.0%). A few others have higher percentages, including Lorne Jackson at 82.6%, but don’t have enough attempts to qualify.
ROTATION — Among the 11 players that got into the game against Santa Clara, eight were freshmen or sophomores and six 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 57.6% of the scoring, compared to 27.1% by the sophomores and 15.3% by the seniors. The two games where freshmen contributed the most were at Hawaii and vs. Portland (76%). The freshmen have been the highest-scoring class in all but two games.
STAT LEADERS — In the WCC, Keion Bell is fourth in steals (1.52), tied for sixth in free throw percentage (.750) and 13th in scoring (12.5) ... Taylor Darby is seventh in rebounding (6.8) ... Dane Suttle Jr. is ninth in three-point field goal percentage (.381) ... Andy Shannon is tied for ninth in blocked shots (0.81) ... Ryan Holmes is 15th in assists (2.23) ... Corbin Moore is 15th in rebounding (4.8) ... Mychel Thompson is 20th in scoring (10.5).
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 ... 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.
ASSISTANTS — Tom 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 — Pepperdine may do better than predicted, as the Waves were 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.
Coming off upset loss, USD men try to bounce back at Pepperdine
By Hank Wesch
Union-Tribune Staff Writer
2:00 a.m. February 14, 2009
LOS ANGELES — Thursday night's loss at 1-23 Loyola Marymount was the sixth in seven games for the USD men's basketball team.
If that doesn't mean the Toreros are at a crisis point coming into this evening's game in Malibu against Pepperdine, it will certainly do until a crisis point comes along.
“I hope this doesn't turn the season (into a full-blown downward spiral),” sophomore forward Rob Jones said after the 65-57 loss. “I hope we're stronger than that.”
Coming into the three-day trip to Los Angeles to play LMU and Pepperdine, it looked, on paper, to be a third straight year for a USD sweep. But in light of the Toreros' loss and the stunning upset by Pepperdine (5-18, 4-5 WCC) of Santa Clara on Thursday, the possibility exists that the Toreros could be swept.
Pepperdine brought back prodigal coaching son Tom Asbury this season, 15 years after he departed following a six-year run as head coach that was among the most successful in school history. The Waves won West Coast Conference regular-season championships from 1992-94 and WCC Tournament crowns in 1991, '92 and '94.
Asbury, who was head coach at Kansas State for six years after his Pepperdine departure and most recently served four years as an assistant at Alabama, filled his Pepperdine staff with people who were around for the glory years.
And after a rocky preconference experience, the Waves appear to be coming around to Asbury's precise and controlled style, a marked contrast to the helter-skelter of Vance Walberg's largely unsuccessful teams the past two years.
Pepperdine went on a late 16-0 run to pull out the victory over Santa Clara after trailing by 15 in the second half.
USD prevailed 62-47 against Pepperdine a month ago in San Diego. But obviously, things have changed since then. USD coach Bill Grier was disappointed in his team's intensity and effort against LMU. Recent Toreros woes on offense are reflected in a 52.6 points-per-game average in their last five losses.
“We're struggling (offensively) when we can't get something off our first action,” Grier said. “And by this point in the season in league, teams have you scouted so well, they know how to play the first option pretty well.”
Lost cause for Toreros in L.A.
By Hank Wesch
Union-Tribune Staff Writer
2:00 a.m. February 15, 2009
MALIBU – The USD men's basketball team completed three lost days in Los Angeles County by falling to Pepperdine yesterday.
Now, in addition to dealing with the emotional trauma of defeats at 1-22 Loyola Marymount on Thursday and Pepperdine, an opponent against whom the Toreros had won nine straight, they also have some internal issues to address before facing the top three teams in the West Coast Conference while closing out the regular season in the next two weeks.
Coach Bill Grier opted for his third different starting lineup in as many games in yesterday's 57-52 defeat before 2,496 at Firestone Fieldhouse, giving senior guard Danny Brown his third start of the year and sophomore forward Clinton Houston his first.
But after getting off to a good start, the Toreros (13-13, 5-6 WCC) sputtered, squandered a lead that reached 11 points in the first half, and lost for the sixth time in seven games.
Through all but four minutes of a close second half, All-WCC senior forward Gyno Pomare sat unused at the end of the bench. Sophomore point guard Trumaine Johnson also was relegated there for all but three minutes of the second half.
“I'm just going to play guys who are going to play hard and compete,” Grier said. “(Pomare), for whatever reason, hasn't been. He's going to have other opportunities, but he's got to show that he really wants to play hard and be the kind of player that he has been.
“He was great early when they were in man (to man defense). But when they went to zone he wasn't posting up very hard. Part of the problem is we're not getting the ball to him, I know, but he's also kind of quit posting.
“And that's a bad combination.”
Regarding Pomare and Johnson, Grier said:
“It's about their approach. Their approach with their teammates and their approach with playing hard and doing the things that the staff is asking them to do. I don't think (Johnson) has been playing that well for the last five or six games, and it really showed against LMU. So I had to make a change.”
Pomare and Brown connected for USD on the first four shots of the game, Brown's coming from three-point range, and three minutes in the Toreros led 12-2.
USD maintained a double-digit margin until 5:26 remained before halftime. Then the Toreros missed shots, committed turnovers and allowed some open shots that the Waves (8-18, 5-5) capitalized on, and Pepperdine led 30-28 at the break.
After scoring 24 points in the first 14:34 of the game, USD scored 15 in the next 17 minutes yet trailed only 41-39. Pepperdine outscored USD 11-4 in the next seven minutes to lead 52-43 entering the final 2:20 of the game.
USD then put on a full-court press and with Rob Jones (13 points, seven rebounds) making big plays, cut the lead to 54-52 with 33 seconds to play.
The Toreros got a steal and had a chance to take the lead with 16 seconds left, but Brown was long with an open three-point attempt and Pepperdine made 3-of-4 free throws to set the final score. Other WCC games Freshman Mickey McConnell scored 20 points to lead host Saint Mary's (20-5, 7-4) to a 77-65 win over Portland (16-9, 7-3) . . . Austin Daye had 17 points as No. 19 Gonzaga (19-5, 10-0) won 78-73 at San Francisco (9-17, 1-10) . . . Kevin Foster scored 26 points as Santa Clara (14-14, 6-5) edged host Loyola Marymount (2-24, 1-9) 69-64.
The Associated Press contributed to this report
Bell Earns WCC Player of the Week Award
Courtesy: Pepperdine Sports Information
MALIBU, Calif. — Freshman guard Keion Bell of the Pepperdine men’s basketball team has been named the West Coast Conference’s Player of the Week following the Waves’ victories over Santa Clara and San Diego, it was announced today.
Bell (Los Angeles, Calif./Pasadena HS) averaged 16.0 points, 7.5 rebounds, 4.5 assists and 3.5 steals in leading Pepperdine to the two victories. The Waves beat the Broncos 66-60 on Thursday (Feb. 12) and the Toreros 57-52 on Saturday (Feb. 14), both in Firestone Fieldhouse.
He had 14 points, five rebounds, five assists and two steals against Santa Clara. As the Waves rallied from a 15-point second-half deficit, his two free throws gave Pepperdine the lead for good with 1:56 left. He then collected his third double-double of the season with game highs of 18 points and 10 rebounds against San Diego, as well as five steals and four assists. Bell scored 12 of Pepperdine’s final 15 points of the game as the Waves held off the Toreros. The five steals were the most by a Pepperdine player this season.
Bell is averaging team highs of 12.7 points per game overall (13th in the WCC and third among conference freshmen) and 16.1 points in conference play (seventh in the WCC and second among freshmen). Bell has scored in double-figures in nine of 10 conference games, including eight in a row.
He led Pepperdine to a number of notable feats over the weekend. The Waves’ current three-game conference win streak is their first since February 2004. It was Pepperdine’s first two-game weekend sweep in WCC action since January 2005. Pepperdine now has five conference wins, its most since the 2005 season. The Waves also ended a nine-game losing streak to USD.
Bell is Pepperdine’s first WCC Player of the Week honoree since Chase Griffin won the award in February 2007. He’s the first Pepperdine freshman to win the award since Shaun Davis in December 2003.
The Waves (8-18 overall, 5-5 WCC for fifth place) head to the Pacific Northwest this weekend and will visit Portland on Thursday (Feb. 19) at 7 p.m. and Gonzaga on Saturday (Feb. 21) at 8:30 p.m. The Gonzaga game will be shown on ESPNU. Subscribers to “Wave Casts” at http://www.pepperdinesports.com/?DB_OEM_ID=18500 can listen to Al Epstein’s call of the action.