Sunday, March 01, 2009


Waves' Home Finale Ends With 70-62 Loss
Courtesy: Pepperdine Sports Information
Release: 02/28/2009

Pepperdine-San Francisco Box Score

MALIBU, Calif. ­— The Pepperdine men’s basketball had a hot-shooting second half but couldn’t overcome a cold first half, and lost its regular-season finale to San Francisco, 70-62, in West Coast Conference play at Firestone Fieldhouse on Saturday.

The Waves (8-22) were picked to finish last in the WCC but were able to achieve a sixth-place finish with a 5-9 record. The Dons improved to 11-18, 3-11, and are likely to be Pepperdine’s first-round opponent in next week’s WCC Tournament (seedings will be set after tonight’s other games).

The Waves shot just 24.1% in the first half and fell behind 27-20 at halftime. Despite shooting 50% in the second half and eventually pulling to within one point, they weren’t ever able to pull ahead.

Freshman guard Keion Bell (Los Angeles, Calif./Pasadena HS) had team highs of 18 points, eight rebounds and four assists. Freshman guard Lorne Jackson (Simi Valley, Calif./Simi Valley HS) sank three three-pointers and scored 11 points in 10 minutes of action.

USF, which ended up outshooting the Waves 40.0% to 37.7%, got 21 points from Peter Smith and 16 points and 10 rebounds from Dior Lowhorn.

The Waves hit just one of their first 10 shots and two of their first 17. USF would take its biggest lead of the game at 16-6 with 9:39 to play in the first half after a Chris O’Brien three-pointer. A Jackson three-pointer got it down to four points at 24-20 with 1:18 left, but Smith responded with a three-pointer on the other end of the floor to make the halftime score 27-20.

In the second half, the Waves kept closing the gap, but each time the Dons would come up with an answer. A lay-up by Bell made it 31-28 with 16:55 left, but O’Brien followed with a three-pointer. A basket by freshman forward Taylor Darby (San Marcos, Calif./Mission Hills HS) made it 36-33 with 15:28 left, but Lowhorn then converted a three-point play. A jumper by Bell got the Waves within one point at 39-38 with 13:14 left, but USF’s Kwame Vaughn immediately hit a three-pointer, and Smith hit another three a minute later to push the lead back up to 45-38.

The Waves were within five points a couple of times in the final five minutes, including 60-55 with 1:59 left when sophomore forward Mychel Thompson (Ladera Ranch, Calif./Stoneridge Prep) sank a three-pointer. But the Dons made all 10 of their free throws (eight by Smith) in the final two minutes to ice the victory.

Pepperdine committed a season low seven turnovers. The Waves actually had more field goals than the Dons (23 to 18), but USF hit 25 of 33 free throws, compared to 8 of 13 for Pepperdine.

Pepperdine’s three senior guards – Ryan Holmes (Phoenix, Ariz./Millennium HS/Phoenix CC), Mike Hornbuckle (Westlake Village, Calif./Oaks Christian HS/Azusa Pacific) and Rico Tucker (San Diego, Calif./University HS/Minnesota) were honored in a pregame ceremony and were in the starting lineup for Senior Day.

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 know they will be the #6 seed at the upcoming WCC Tournament, held at the Orleans Arena in Las Vegas, and their first-round game will be Friday (March 6) at approximately 8:30 p.m. The opponent will likely be USF but could be Loyola Marymount depending on today’s other results. Subscribers to “Wave Casts” at can listen to Al Epstein’s call of the action at all of Pepperdine’s men’s and women’s games at the tournament.

WCC Tournament Brackets Set
Courtesy: Pepperdine Sports Information
Release: 02/28/2009 Tournament Central Page
2009 WCC Tournament Brackets

MALIBU, Calif. -- With the conclusion of the West Coast Conference's regular season, the postseason seeding of Pepperdine men's and women's basketball teams has been determined for the upcoming WCC Tournament.
The Pepperdine men finished in sixth place in the WCC and are the #6 seed. The Waves will meet #7-seed San Francisco for the second time in less than a week on Friday (March 6) at approximately 8:30 p.m. The two schools split the season series, with the Dons pulling out a 70-62 win on Saturday in Malibu.
The Pepperdine women finished in third place in the WCC, received the #3 seed and earned a coveted first-round bye. The Waves will meet either #6 San Diego or #7 San Francisco in the quarterfinals on Saturday (March 7) at approximately 2:30 p.m.
The WCC Tournament has moved to a neutral-site venue for the first time ever, with the Orleans Arena in Las Vegas providing the site. All-session passes have already sold out, although a limited number of single-session tickets will be available.
San Francisco 70, Pepperdine 62
Associated Press
MALIBU, Calif.
-- Dior Lowhorn had 16 points and 10 rebounds and Peter Smith had 21 points as San Francisco beat Pepperdine, 70-62, in both team's final West Coast Conference game on Saturday.
Smith made 4-of-8 3-pointers and eight free throws in the final two minutes for the Dons (11-18, 3-11 WCC).
Keion Bell scored 16 of his 18 points in the second half to lead Pepperdine (8-22, 5-9) and Lorne Jackson added 11 points.

The Waves were brought back to reality and reminded of their youth in blowout losses to Portland and Gonzaga on Feb. 19 and 21, but the Waves still have a lot to play for in their final two regular-season games.
Pepperdine still has a chance to finish in the top four in the conference standings, and that would not only amount to an amazing accomplishment, but it could give the Waves a bye in the first round of the WCC tournament.
There is every reason to believe the Waves can win one, if not both, of their home games against St. Mary's, which will still be without Patty Mills, and San Francisco, a team the Waves beat on the road earlier in the season.
The Waves have played well at home in the second half of the conference season, which should give them confidence, but first they have to get over their humbling trip to the Northwest. They were never in either game and lost by a combined margin of 63 points.
Not only did that put an abrupt end to the Waves' three-game winning streak, but it demonstrated how far behind the WCC leaders the Waves are despite their improvement.
They shot poorly in both games and did not take care of the ball. They were out of both games almost immediately, allowing both Portland and Gonzaga to shoot out to big leads, which makes things particularly difficult on the road.
The Bulldogs toyed with Pepperdine, taking an early 24-11 advantage and cruising.
"They are just too much better than we are now," Loyola Marymount coach Tom Asbury said. "They're bigger, more physical, more experienced."
Pepperdine played more like it did early in the season, when its young players were overmatched in nearly every game. While winning four of their five games immediately before the Feb. 19 Portland game, the Waves had been pesky defensively, preventing opponents from feeling comfortable. But Portland and Gonzaga scored almost at will against Pepperdine, which showed the inconsistency associated with inexperience.
Inexperienced teams typically play much better at home, though, and the Waves had won their last two home games heading into the final two conference games.
--Pepperdine's Feb. 21 loss to Gonzaga was the Waves' 16th straight defeat against the Bulldogs. Although his squad lost both games against Gonzaga this year, Tom Asbury still has a 10-5 record against Gonzaga as Pepperdine's head coach.
--Pepperdine shot a season-worst 23.3 percent against Portland, then followed that by shooting 27.6 percent in the first half against Gonzaga two days later.
--One win in their final two games would give the Waves six conference victories, which would be their most since they were 6-8 in 2005. Two wins in the final two games would give the Waves a .500 conference record, which would be the first time since 2004 that Pepperdine would not have a losing conference record.
QUOTE TO NOTE: "We took a step backwards this weekend." -- Pepperdine coach Tom Asbury, after the Waves were blown out in road games against Portland and Gonzaga on Feb. 19 and 21.
Tom Asbury continues to play a lot of players. Nine players are receiving significant playing time, and no one is averaging more than 28.4 minutes, which is Mychel Thompson's mark. A lot of players are gaining experience as Asbury tries to fit the pieces together for this season and the seasons to come.
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.
Pepperdine 57, San Diego 52
Portland 74, Pepperdine 45
Gonzaga 92, Pepperdine 58
Vs. St. Mary's, Thursday, Feb. 26
Vs. San Francisco, Saturday, Feb. 28
WCC tournament at Las Vegas, Friday, March 6, or Saturday, March 7
IN FOCUS: Pepperdine would love to end its regular season with a home victory over San Francisco, and a win might earn the Waves a bye in the first round of the conference tournament. The Waves beat the Dons by two points in San Francisco, although Pepperdine can't expect Keion Bell to score 32 points again, as he did in the earlier win. The Waves have enough quickness on defense to cause the Dons' ball handlers problems, and they need to get some steals and convert them into transition baskets. Dior Lowhorn may get his points, so the Waves must prevent the other USF players from hurting them.
--Freshman Keion Bell's performance against Santa Clara and San Diego earned him WCC player of the week honors, the first time in two years a Pepperdine player won the award. Bell has scored in double figures in 10 consecutive games, as of Feb. 24.
--Walk-on freshman Richard Banning made his college debut against Portland on Feb. 19. He did not score in one minute of playing time.
--Walk-on freshman Don Martin got his first playing time in a WCC game against Portland on Feb. 19.
--Dane Suttle Jr. scored 13 points against Portland, his highest total in WCC play, but two days later he went scoreless against Gonzaga.
USF Closes 2008-09 Regular Season with 70-62 Victory at Pepperdine
Peter Smith Pours in Career-High 21 Points for the Dons
Feb. 28, 2009
Final Stats
(Malibu, CA)
- USF men's basketball rebounded for a satisfying 70-62 West Coast Conference victory against Pepperdine Saturday afternoon at Firestone Fieldhouse. The Dons (11-18, 3-11 WCC) thwarted a late rally by the Waves (8-22, 5-9 WCC) to secure their first league road win of the season.
San Francisco now awaits the outcome of the Loyola Marymount vs. Saint Mary's contest in Los Angeles at Gersten Pavilion, scheduled for a 5:00 PM tip. Should the Lions lose, the Dons would secure the No. 7 seed and take on the No. 6 seeded Waves in the opening round of the 2009 WCC Tournament, beginning Friday, March 6 at the Orleans Arena in Las Vegas. Should LMU upset the Gaels, the Lions and Dons would have the same number of league wins and would require multiple tiebreakers.
Freshman guard Peter Smith exploded for a career-high 21 points, converting on four 3-pointers to go along with an outstanding showing at the free throw line in the clutch. Smith converted on 9-of-10 from the stripe to secure the Dons victory. Junior forward Dior Lowhorn recorded his fifth double-double with 16-point, 10 rebound outing.
USF's freshmen enjoyed a huge day in Malibu, combining for 50 points, led by Smith's effort. Freshman Kwame Vaughn added 13 points and four assists, continuing his strong play of late. Freshman guard Chris O'Brien matched a career-high with nine points and seven boards and freshman forward Angelo Caloiaro chipped in seven points and three rebounds. Junior guard Dontae Bryant did not score, but dished out a game-high six assists and pulled three rebounds for the Dons

San Francisco shot .400 (18-45) from the field with nine 3-pointers and limited the Waves to a .377 (23-61) from the floor. The Dons attacking style produced a big day at the charity stripe. USF hit at a .758 (25-33) clip from the line. San Francisco held a modest 37-34 rebounding advantage.
Freshman guard Keion Bell led the Waves with 18 points, while Lorne Jackson added 11.
Full pairings for the 2009 WCC Tournament will be released after the conclusion of all Saturday's contests.