Men's Basketball Wins at UC Riverside, 69-66
Nov. 13, 2013
RIVERSIDE, Calif. - Stacy Davis scored a game-high 23 points, including the go-ahead free throws with 33.7 seconds left, as the Pepperdine men's basketball team went on the road and knocked off UC Riverside, 69-66, on Wednesday night.
The Waves improved to 2-0 to start the season while the Highlanders dropped to 0-2.
Pepperdine led by as many as 13 points early in the second half, but UCR clawed its way back and eventually tied the game at 63-63 in the final minute. Davis made two free throws on the next possession, and senior guard Nikolas Skouen (Bergen, Norway/Pratt CC) went 4-for-4 from the line in the final seconds.
The Highlanders, down four after Skouen's final two free throws with 5.9 left, had one last chance. UCR's Nick Gruninger, who was fouled with 2.8 seconds left, made the first free throw and purposefully missed the second. Though the Highlanders were able to grab a long rebound, they couldn't get a shot off before the final buzzer.
Davis (Laveen, Ariz./Fairfax HS), who scored a career-high 24 points in the season opener against San Diego Christian, just missed a double-double as he collected nine rebounds. He went to the free throw line 16 times (making 11) and also sank his first two career three-pointers.
His fellow starter in the frontcourt, senior forward Brendan Lane (Rocklin, Calif./Rocklin HS/UCLA) also came close to a double-double with 10 points and nine rebounds. Skouen and freshman guard Jeremy Major (Pasadena, Calif./Maranatha HS) each scored 10 points.
After making just four three-pointers total against San Diego Christian, the Waves went 6-for-8 in the first half alone and jumped out to a 40-32 lead at the break.
Davis hit a three-pointer and made a jumper to start the second half, pushing the Waves' lead to 45-32 with under 18 minutes to play. Unfortunately, that would be the last Pepperdine field goal for nearly 10 minutes.
After 12 straight misses, UCR had pulled within one point at 50-49. Sophomore guard Austin Mills (Beverly Hills, Calif./Beverly Hills HS) finally broke the drought with a three-pointer with 8:20 to play. Pepperdine maintained a bit of a lead for a while, but UCR continued to chip away.
A Davis basket made it 63-59 with less than two minutes left, but a pair of UCR baskets tied the game with under a minute to play. But between Davis and Skouen the Waves were 6-for-6 from the line in the final minute.
After shooting 54.2% from the field in the first half, the Waves were at 29.2% for the second half and 41.7% for the game. Though the Waves were outshot (UCR hit on 44.8%), Pepperdine had a 38-28 rebounding edge and had big edges from beyond the arc (9-for-18 vs. 3-for-16) and the foul line (20-for-26 vs. 11-for-17).
Pepperdine Coach Marty Wilson wasn't pleased afterward that the Waves let the Highlanders back into the game in the second half.
"We have to have more poise and to be able to execute under pressure," he said. "We got rattled and didn't play well at times. We got up and didn't execute, didn't set great screens, didn't move the ball. Defensively, in our zone we didn't communicate well and didn't make adjustments. So there is some good film to break down and to learn from."
On Davis, Wilson said: "Stacy is going to be big for us all year. He's going to put everyone on his shoulders quite a bit. He knows he's going to be a big factor for us. The great thing is that he got to the free throw line so much because he was aggressive."
Pepperdine stays on the road for its next game and plays at Central Michigan on Saturday (Nov. 16) at 6:30 p.m. ET/3:30 p.m. PT. Fans can listen the game via WaveCasts at www.pepperdinesports.com with Al Epstein on the call.