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Pepperdine Opens WCC Action Saturday Against San Francisco


Jan. 5, 2006

Malibu, Calif. -

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THIS WEEK: The Pepperdine men's basketball team begins its 14-game West Coast Conference (WCC) schedule this weekend when it hosts San Francisco at Firestone Fieldhouse on Saturday beginning at 7 p.m.

The Waves continue WCC play on Monday when they welcome San Diego to Firestone Fieldhouse for a 7 p.m. contest.

Pepperdine enters conference play with a 4-8 overall record after falling to Oklahoma State, 69-49, Tuesday night in Malibu. After opening the season 1-6, the Waves have posted a 3-2 mark in their last five games.

Freshman guard Michael Gerrity scored a team-high 13 points to lead the Waves in their loss to the Cowboys.

Pepperdine enters Saturday's game against San Francisco seeking its ninth season-opening win in the last 10 years. Since 1997, the Waves have won their WCC opener every year except 2004 when it lost 87-70 to Gonzaga in Malibu.

San Francisco begins conference play with a 4-9 record and has lost its last four games, including a 65-60 setback at Fresno State on December 29.

OKLAHOMA STATE RECAP: Torre Johnson registered career highs of 20 points and 11 rebounds to Oklahoma State to a 69-49 victory over Pepperdine at Firestone Fieldhouse Wednesday night. Johnson, a junior reserve whose previous career highs were 17 points and seven rebounds, went 10-for-14 from the field. Mario Boggan and Jamaal Brown each added 11 points for the Cowboys (10-4), who held Pepperdine to a season-low 27.1 percent (13 of 48) shooting percentage. The Waves were particularly futile in the first half, making just four of 22 shots (18.2 percent) on the way to a 37-16 halftime deficit. Michael Gerrity led Pepperdine with 13 points as the freshman point guard was the Waves player to finish in double figures. The Waves showed signs of life early in the second half, going on a 6-0 run to get to within 17, 39-22, but a quick time-out by Oklahoma State coach Eddie Sutton, who was coaching his 500th game at the school, halted the momentum. Johnson made consecutive baskets after the time-out, and the Cowboys did not allow the Waves to get closer than 17 points the rest of the way. After both teams started slow -- the Cowboys making two of their first 12 shots and the Waves two of their first nine -- both teams went to their benches, but only Sutton got positive results. With Johnson leading the way, the Cowboy bench outscored the Pepperdine reserves 19-7 in the first half and 43-14 for the game. Consecutive baskets by Jameson Curry gave Oklahoma State its first lead, 6-5, and triggered a 13-0 run that eventually stretched to 34-10 by halftime as the Waves made just two field goals in the last 17 minutes.

ABOUT SAN FRANCISCO: San Francisco enters Saturday's West Coast Conference (WCC) opener with a 4-9 record and has lost its last four games, including a 65-60 setback at Fresno State on December 29. The Dons are currently averaging 68.5 points a game while allowing 72.8 points a contest. San Francisco has four players scoring in double figures and is led by junior forward Alan Wiggins, Jr., who tops the club with 13.9 points and 7.4 rebounds a game. Wiggins, Jr. is coming off a career-high 24-point performance at Fresno State. Head coach Jessie Evans is in the midst of his second season on the Hilltop and has compiled an overall record to date of 21-23 (.477).

SERIES VERSUS SAN FRANCISCO: Saturday's game between Pepperdine San Francisco will mark the 154th meeting between the longtime conference rivals and the Dons lead the lead the series, 85-68. The two clubs met twice a year ago and the Waves won both contests, defeating San Francisco 64-57 in Malibu and 85-68 at War Memorial Gymnasium. Pepperdine currently has a three-game winning streak against the Dons and has not won four in a row over San Francisco since posting a seven-game winning streak between 1998-2002.

PEPPERDINE POSTS 3-2 MARK AGAINST BIG WEST TEAMS IN 2005: Pepperdine posted a 3-2 record against Big West Conference opponents in 2005. The Waves fell 76-66 to Cal State Fullerton on November 23, defeated UC Irvine 79-76 November 26, suffered a 65-56 setback at UC Santa Barbara (December 7) and posted victories over Long Beach State (92-86, December 17) and Cal State Northridge (87-72, December 28).

WAVES VERSUS RANKED OPPONENTS: Pepperdine went 1-2 against ranked opponents during the 2004-05 season. The Waves registered a 75-61 victory over then No. 17-ranked Wisconsin on November 27 at Firestone Fieldhouse. It marked Pepperdine's first win over a ranked opponent since defeating No. 13 Gonzaga, 88-79, in Malibu on January 18, 2002. The Waves suffered their first defeat to a ranked opponent this season in Spokane on January 15 when the No. 16 Bulldogs registered an 86-62 victory over Pepperdine. Gonzaga, ranked No. 14, defeated the Waves again Thursday night, posting an 82-75 victory at Firestone Fieldhouse. The Waves are 0-1 against ranked opponents this season, losing their season-opener 75-56, to No. 2 Connecticut.

A LOOK AHEAD: Pepperdine concludes its season-long four-game homestand on Monday when it welcomes San Diego to Firestone Fieldhouse for a 7 p.m. contest. The Waves will then hit the road when the travel to the Pacific Northwest to take on defending WCC Champion and nationally-ranked Gonzaga on Saturday, January 14 beginning at 8 p.m. Pepperdine concludes its trip to the Northwest on Monday when it visits Portland on Monday, January 16.

YOUTH IS SERVED: Pepperdine entered the 2005-06 campaign as the youngest team in the West Coast Conference (WCC) as its roster consists of six freshmen and a total of 13 underclassmen. Last season, the Waves had four seniors and four juniors on the roster.

WAVES OPEN 2005-06 CAMPAIGN WITH FIVE NEW STARTERS: Pepperdine opened its 2005-06 season with an entirely new starting line-up than the one that started the Waves' final game a year ago. In its season-opener against Connecticut, the Pepperdine starting line-up included senior forward Tashaan Forehan-Kelly, freshman forward Willie Galick, sophomore center Jarrad Henry, junior guard Gregg Barlow and rookie point guard Michael Gerrity. The group entered the season with a combined five career starts - all by Henry - and includes three newcomers (Barlow, Galick, Gerrity) to the roster.

SEARCHING FOR OFFENSE: Pepperdine, which has traditionally been one of the highest scoring teams in the West Conference (WCC), has uncharacteristically struggled offensively during the 2005-06 season. The Waves rank eighth in the WCC, averaging 63.2 points a contest. Pepperdine has posted a scoring average of at least 70 points a game in each of the last six seasons. The last time a Waves team averaged less than 70 points a game was the 1998-99 season when they averaged 65.7 points a game and finished 19-13. No Pepperdine team has played a complete season scoring below 60 points a game since the 1949-50 campaign when the Waves averaged 53.1 points a contest. Pepperdine concluded the season with a 21-12 record.

WAVES FRONT LINE RECEIVES BOOST: Pepperdine's frontline received a much-needed boost with the return of 7-foot sophomore center Russell Hicks. Hicks, who missed the Waves' first 11 games with a foot injury, made his 2005-06 debut against Oklahoma State on Tuesday scoring two points and grabbing a pair of rebounds in 13 minutes.

FRESHMEN LEAD THE WAY: Thus far during the 2005-06 season, freshmen have been leading the way for Pepperdine. Rookie point guard Michael Gerrity tops the Waves with 15.7 points, 3.8 assists and 1.9 steals a contest. He ranks sixth overall and first among freshmen in the West Coast Conference (WCC) in scoring and is sixth in assists and leads the conference in steals. Prior to straining a ligament in his left knee at Wisconsin on December 3, freshman forward Chris Oakes was ranked among the conference leaders in rebounding with 7.6 boards a game, and was first in the conference in offensive rebounds with 4.6 a contest.

MISCELLANEOUS STATISTICS: Through 12 games this season, Pepperdine is averaging 63.2 points a game while allowing 70.7 points a contest...Heading into WCC play, the Waves rank eighth in the West Coast Conference (WCC) in scoring and fourth in scoring defense...A year ago, Pepperdine finished third in the WCC with 75.0 points a game and were eighth in scoring defense, allowing 74.2 points...Pepperdine trails only Santa Clara (37.6) in field goal percentage defense as the Waves are limiting opponents to just 41.4 percent shooting from the field...Pepperdine's 43-point output at Kansas December 19 was its lowest since scoring 42 points in a 42-38 victory over Santa Clara in 1976...The Waves have scored fewer than 50 points three times this season...Pepperdine averaged 59.5 points and shot just 37.7 percent from the field in its first six games as it posted a 1-5 mark...In their four wins, the Waves are converting 52.4 percent of their field goal attempts and averaging 83.2 points a contest...Conversely, in its eight losses, Pepperdine is connecting on just 33.2 percent of its shots and averaging 53.2 points a game...Sophomore center Jarrad Henry is tied for second in the WCC in blocked shots (2.1) while senior forward Tashaan Forehan-Kelly is third in steals (1.7).

PEPPERDINE SIGNS BLAKE WALLACE TO LETTER OF INTENT: The Pepperdine men's basketball team signed Blake Wallace to a national letter of intent during November's early signing period. Wallace, a 6-foot-7 small forward from Servite High in Anaheim, California, will be a freshman for the Waves when classes start in September. A resident of Yorba Linda, California, Wallace averaged 20 points, nine rebounds and three blocks a game as a junior during the 2003-04 season. He was a second team Division III-AA All-CIF Southern Section selection, named third team All-Orange County by the Orange County Register and was selected to Cal-Hi's All-State Underclassman Team. As a sophomore, Wallace averaged 15.2 points, 10 rebounds and 2.4 blocks a contest en route to being named second team All-CIF. Heading into the 2005-06 season, Wallace is a second team Preseason Best in the West selection by the Long Beach Press Telegram. Additionally, Wallace participated at the Adidas All-America Camp in 2004 and 2005. ranked him the third-best small forward on the west coast and 23rd in the country in addition to being a four-star recruit.

DR. JARBO: Senior forward Keith Jarbo, who joined the Pepperdine basketball program as a walk-on prior to the 2003-04 campaign and was awarded a scholarship for his senior season, will graduate in April with a sports medicine degree. After taking the summer off, Jarbo will attend medical school. He has already been accepted to the University of Michigan's medical school and has applied to several others, including UCLA, USC and George Washington.

WCC NO. 11 IN RPI RANKINGS: The West Coast Conference is ranked No. 10 in the latest Collegiate Men's Basketball RPI report. The WCC's No. 10 ranking is out of the 32 Division I conferences in the country, and the second consecutive year that the Conference is ranked in the top 10 in the nation. It also marks the third time in the last six seasons that the WCC has garnered a top 10 RPI listing. Last season, the WCC finished the season with an all-time best No. 7 ranking in the RPI and in 2002 the league capped the year with a No. 10 rating.

WCC BREAKS NON-CONFERENCE WINS RECORD: West Coast Conference (WCC) teams compiled a cumulative overall non-conference record of 79-40 (.664) in 2004. The 70 wins eclipsed the previous mark of 73 set during the 1984-85 season. The WCC also set a league record for winning percentage, breaking the previous league mark was .649 set during the 1978-79 campaign.

ACKER DRAFTED BY THE NBA: Guard Alex Acker, who declared early for the NBA Draft last spring, was a second-round draft pick by the Detroit Pistons following his junior season. The two-time All-West Coast Conference (WCC) selection went on to make the Pistons' opening day roster and became the first Pepperdine player to be drafted since 2001 when Brandon Armstrong was the 23rd overall pick by the Houston Rockets following his sophomore season.

PEPPERDINE AND THE WCC: Dating back to the 1997-98 season, Pepperdine has the West Coast Conference's (WCC) second-best record in league play. The Waves have compiled an overall record to date of 76-35 (.685), trailing only Gonzaga, which has posted an 96-15 (.865) record during the same time. Since 1998, Gonzaga and Pepperdine have either won or shared every WCC regular-season title. The Bulldogs claimed outright titles in 1998, 1999, 2001, 2003 and 2004, while the Waves captured the 2000 regular season crown. The two teams shared the title in 2002.

Paul Westphal: Paul Westphal, the former head coach of the Phoenix Suns and the Seattle SuperSonics, is in the midst of his fifth season at Pepperdine and has compiled a mark of 73-60 (.549) in Malibu. He succeeded Jan van Breda Kolff who resigned as the Waves' head coach in April of 2001 to accept a similar position at St. Bonaventure. Westphal is the program's 11th head coach. Westphal brought more than 12 years of head coaching experience to Pepperdine, and including stints with Southwestern Baptist Bible College and Grand Canyon College, his current seven-year collegiate record stands at 157-87 (.643). He directed the Phoenix Suns to the NBA Finals in his rookie season back in 1993 and the Pacific Division title in 1993 and 1995. Including the playoffs, Westphal's overall NBA head coaching record stands at 294-181 (.619). A first round draft choice by the Boston Celtics in 1972, Westphal played 12 seasons in the NBA for Boston, Phoenix, New York and Seattle. He was a five-time NBA All-Star, named to the All-NBA team four times and a member of the 1974 Celtics teams that won the NBA title. A three-time All-Pacific 8 Conference performer and a two-time All-American at USC, Westphal averaged 16.4 points in three seasons with the Trojans and was inducted into USC's "Hall of Fame" in 1997.

THE PROGRAM: In the midst of its 68th season of intercollegiate competition, the Pepperdine men's basketball program has compiled an overall record to date of 1081-822 (.568). A total of 22 Pepperdine teams have posted 20-plus win campaigns. The Waves have won 19 or more games eight times in the last 15 campaigns. Pepperdine made its 13th NCAA Tournament appearance in 2001-02, and the Waves have appeared in the National Invitation Tournament (NIT) a total of eight times, including the Preseason NIT in 1985 and 2000. Since the start of the 1979-80 campaign, Pepperdine teams have compiled an overall record of 494-358 (.580), including a 250-116 (.683) mark in regular season West Coast Conference (WCC) play. Since the 1980-81 season, Pepperdine teams have either won or shared the WCC regular season title on 10 occasions-1981, 1982, 1983, 1985, 1986, 1991, 1992, 1993, 2000 and 2002-and the program has won 12 basketball championships overall. Additionally, the Waves have captured the WCC Tournament championship three times-1991, 1992 and 1994.

WAVES AT HOME: Dating back to the start of the 1997-98 campaign, the Waves are 80-24 (.769) at home. Pepperdine's all-time homecourt record at Firestone Fieldhouse, dating back to the start of the 1973-74 campaign, currently stands at 318-113 (.738). The Waves finished the 2004-05 season with a 9-3 home mark. Pepperdine is 3-2 at home this year.

WAVES ON THE ROAD: Pepperdine concluded the 2004-05 campaign with an 8-11 (.421) overall record. Since the 1995-96 season, the Waves are 85-103 (.452), including a 25-24 mark (.510) in neutral court contests. Pepperdine is currently 1-6 on the road in 2005-06.

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