Men's Hoops Heads to Northwest, Faces Gonzaga on Thursday
Jan. 11, 2011
MALIBU, Calif. -- The Pepperdine men's basketball team makes its only road trip during the month of January as the Waves head to the Pacific Northwest to battle Gonzaga and Portland in West Coast Conference play. Six of the Waves' eight games during the month of January are being played in Firestone Fieldhouse.
While the team traveled from Malibu to Spokane today, Asbury and his wife Carlie are in Phoenix, Arizona, where their daughter Megan gave birth on Sunday to their first grandchild, Caden. The baby boy was born 16 weeks premature while weighing less than two pounds. The baby and mother are doing well under the circumstances.
Asbury may be back on the sidelines for Saturday's game at Portland.
This won't be the first time that Wilson has taken over the reins for Pepperdine. He was elevated to interim head coach for the final 13 games of the 1995-96 season.
GAME #20 -- Thursday (January 13) at the McCarthey Athletic Center in Spokane, Wash.: Pepperdine (7-12, 1-1 WCC) at Gonzaga (11-5, 1-0 WCC) at 6 p.m.
GAME #21 -- Saturday (January 15) at the Chiles Center in Portland, Ore.: Pepperdine at Portland (12-4, 0-1 WCC) at 7 p.m. The Pilots host Loyola Marymount on Thursday.
ON THE WEB -- Wave Casts (Pepperdine's live video broadcasts of all home games and audio broadcasts of all road contests) are new and improved for 2010-11 and will be free to all users at www.pepperdinesports.com. Veteran play-by-play man Al Epstein, now in his 26th season with the Waves, is behind the microphone. An interactive live blog using Cover It Live technology will be hosted for all remaining road games, including this weekend's games at Gonzaga and Portland. Live statistics will also be provided on the website via GameTracker.
TELEVISION -- The Pepperdine-Gonzaga game will be shown on KHQ-TV in Spokane and on Universal Sports (Seattle). Greg Heister and Craig Ehlo are the announcers.
GONZAGA -- Pepperdine is 31-38 all-time against Gonzaga. The Waves won 26 of the first 31 meetings, but the Bulldogs have won 33 of the last 38. Gonzaga has won 18 consecutive matchups and 12 straight in Spokane. Pepperdine last won at home in January 2002 and in Spokane in Feburary 1998. The Waves gave a tremendous effort there last year in a 91-84 loss where Keion Bell set a McCarthey Athletic Center scoring record by an opponent as he poured in 34 of his career-high 37 points in the second half.
PORTLAND -- Pepperdine is 52-30 all-time against Portland. The Pilots have won five in a row after the Waves won two of three games during the 2007-08 season. That's also the last time Pepperdine won at Portland. Keion Bell scored 21 points in an 80-64 loss at Portland last season.
GAME #19 RECAP -- An early barrage of three-pointers by Saint Mary's put Pepperdine in a hole and the Gaels went on for an 85-60 victory on Saturday (Jan. 8) in Firestone Fieldhouse. Saint Mary's won its eighth straight game and the squad made seven of its first eight three-pointers and 15 for the game. Four Waves scored in double-figures, led by Taylor Darby's team highs of 16 points and nine rebounds.
TWO TO 1,000 -- Two Waves joined Pepperdine's 1,000-point club earlier this season, becoming the 35th and 36th members in school history. Keion Bell hit the milestone in the season opener at Portland State and now has 1,277 (tied for 19th on Pepperdine's career list). Mychel Thompson scored his 1,000th point in his 100th career game at Missouri State and now has 1,171 (27th on Pepperdine's career list). Prior to this season, the last two people to break onto the list were Alex Acker and Glen McGowan in 2004-05.
THOMPSON -- In addition to his scoring total, Mychel Thompson is on his way toward becoming one of the most prolific players in school history in several categories. He is fourth on Pepperdine's all-time list for three-pointers made with 168 (Thompson probably won't move up any further, next on the list is Terrance Johnson with 221). With 132 steals, he is now #8 on Pepperdine's career list (next is Alex Acker with 133). Thompson has played in 114 games in his career and barring injury he will break Pepperdine's career record (Kelvin Gibbs with 124) by season's end. Thompson is second on the team with a career-high 12.6 points per game. He made his 100th career start last weekend against Saint Mary's.
BELL -- Because he's played in fewer than 75% of Pepperdine's games (14 of 19), Keion Bell no longer appears among the conference and national leaders. If he did, he would rank #1 in the WCC and #19 in the nation at 20.7 points per game. He has missed the last three games while recovering from an ankle injury, and he has missed a total of five games due to injury this season. Bell has scored 22 or more points six times, including a season-high 33 against Northern Arizona and 31 vs. Texas-San Antonio. Bell has scored in double-figures in every game he's played this season. According to ESPN.com, he would rank #6 in the country in free throw attempts (130), and he's hit 72.3% of his foul shots.
JACKSON -- With career highs of 23 points and 10 assists against Seattle on Jan. 2, Lorne Jackson became the first Wave to post at least 20 points and 10 assists in a game since Doug Christie did it in December 1991. He became the first Wave to record 10 assists in a game in nearly four years. He then followed that with a career-high 26 points against San Diego the very next contest. Jackson is averaging a career-high 10.6 points, third on the team.
WHO'S HOT -- Lorne Jackson is averaging 21.3 points the last three games ... Jonathan Dupre' is averaging 8.0 points and 4.3 rebounds the last three games ... After going scoreless in four consecutive games, Dane Suttle Jr. is averaging 6.3 points the last three contests ... Corbin Moore went scoreless for three straight games but is now averaging 8.0 points over the last two games ... As a team, the Waves are shooting 83.8% from the foul line (62-for-74) over the last three games.
NOTABLES -- Pepperdine has already matched its 2009-10 win total ... The Waves have comeback victories of 15 points or more in each of Tom Asbury's three seasons back: 15 vs. Santa Clara (1/31/09), 17 vs. Loyola Marymount (1/9/10) and 19 at Pacific (12/1/10) ... Pepperdine won its conference opener for the third straight year ... The Waves posted consecutive 20-point wins against Seattle (84-64) and San Diego (75-55); the last time that happened was February 2001 against Saint Mary's (82-53) and San Francisco (82-61).
JUNIOR CLASS -- Pepperdine's seven-member junior class is on its way toward leading the Waves in scoring for the third consecutive year. As freshmen in 2008-09, they scored 57.4% of the team's points. As sophomores last season, they garnered 63.6% of the scoring. Now as juniors, they're posting 59.3% percent of the points. They've been the highest-scoring class in all but three games this season.
REBOUNDS -- The Waves' current rebound margin of +3.0 would be their best since 1993-94. They've outrebounded their opponent by a double-digit margin five times this season. Pepperdine is third in the WCC averaging 12.9 offensive rebounds per game.
2010-11 HONORS -- Keion Bell was named the WCC's Player of the Month in November after averaging 24.2 points in his five games ... Bell was awarded WCC Player of the Week honors on Dec. 6 after averaging 28.0 points in games against Pacific and Texas-San Antonio ... Bell was named to the preseason All-WCC first team.
COMEBACKS -- The Waves came back from double-digit deficits in each of their first three victories this season (and could have had four more). Nevada had a 10-point lead in the second half, Arkansas State had an 11-point advantage in the first half and Pacific was up by 19 points in the first half. Pepperdine could almost claim seven such victories. The Waves trailed Portland State by 11 in the first half (but lost by two), were behind CSU Bakersfield by 11 in the second half (but lost by two), almost rallied from a 16-point deficit vs. Texas-San Antonio (cutting the lead to one before losing by five) and fell behind 12-0 vs. Cal Poly (the six-point loss was a three-point game multiple times in the second half).
CLOSE CALLS -- Three of Pepperdine's first four games came down to the final shot (all three attempts missed). Portland State won by two after Jonathan Dupre's jumper at the buzzer was off. The Waves held off Nevada by one point after the Wolf Pack's last-second attempt hit the side of the backboard. CSU Bakersfield won by two after Lorne Jackson had a lay-up attempt blocked out of bounds with 0.7 seconds left, and Mychel Thompson's hurried lay-up off the inbounds pass didn't fall at the buzzer.
KERRY -- Before the UC Irvine game on Dec. 18, head coach Tom Asbury announced that sophomore Tanner Kerry left the program at the end of the semester with the intention of transferring to another institution. The 6-foot-9 forward/center who hails from Sydney, Australia, had played in 10 games this season and was averaging 0.6 points and 0.3 rebounds in 4.3 minutes.
ROSTER -- After several seasons with less-than-experienced teams, the 2010-11 roster is finally filled with veterans. Prior to Tanner Kerry's departure, 13 players were back from last year's team and 14 had previously suited up for the Waves, giving Pepperdine its most returners in school history. Eleven of the 15 current players are upperclassmen, with four seniors, seven juniors, two sophomores and two freshmen. Twelve players are on scholarship and three are walk-ons.
RETURNERS -- Only two student-athletes that saw minimal playing time did not return from last season, so at the start of the campaign the Waves had back 100 percent of last year's points (2,044) and steals (152), as well as 99.4% of the rebounds (1,008/1,014), 99.7% of the assists (341/342), 97.3% of the blocked shots (73/75) and 99.6% of the minutes played (6,248/6,275). With Tanner Kerry's midseason departure, those percentages dropped to 97.6% of the points, 94.7% of the rebounds, 98.8% of the assists, 93.3% of the blocks, 98.7% of the steals and 94.6% of the minutes.
ASBURY -- Now in his second stint in charge of the Waves is coaching great Tom Asbury. He returned to Malibu prior to the 2008-09 campaign to become the Waves' head coach again after 14 seasons away. Asbury was previously at Pepperdine for nine years as an assistant coach (1980-88) and then the next six as the head coach (1989-94). He went on to serve as head coach at Kansas State from 1995-2000 and was an assistant coach at Alabama from 2004-07. Asbury went 125-59 (.679) in his first head coaching job at Pepperdine and took the Waves 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 WCC titles and the school's only three WCC Tournament championships came under Asbury. Prior to the start of the 2010-11 season, his eight-year record at Pepperdine was 141-106 (.571) and his 14-year record as a head coach was 226-194 (.538).
ASSISTANTS -- Upon his return, 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. The group is still together for the third consecutive season. 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.
TELEVISION -- The Waves currently have five local, regional or national television appearances: November 15 at UCLA (8 p.m., ESPNU), December 28 at Alabama (8 p.m. CT, CSNCA), January 8 vs. Saint Mary's (5 p.m., Prime Ticket), January 27 vs. Santa Clara (7:30 p.m., Prime Ticket) and February 16 at Loyola Marymount (8 p.m., ESPNU).
WCC PRESEASON POLL -- According to the WCC's coaches, the predicted order of conference finish is as follows: Gonzaga, Loyola Marymount, Saint Mary's, Santa Clara, Portland, San Francisco, Pepperdine and San Diego.
NON-CONFERENCE SCHEDULE -- The Waves won six non-conference games this season, more than the past two years and tied for the most over a six-season span. Tom Asbury believes in preparing his team for league play with a difficult non-conference slate of games. The Waves had a number of daunting road trips, including out-of-state games at Portland State, Utah, Alabama and Miami (Fla.). Pepperdine played four games in the Dick's Sporting Goods NIT Season Tip-Off, two at UCLA's Pauley Pavilion and two at Missouri State.
LAST SEASON -- The Waves are looking to improve upon a 7-24 record in 2009-10 and a tie for sixth place in the WCC at 3-11. Keion Bell was named NABC All-District second team and All-WCC honorable mention after finishing second in the conference with 18.5 ppg. Mychel Thompson (11.8 ppg) joined him on the conference's honorable mention squad.
ITALY TRIP -- Following the 2009-10 season and just after the spring semester ended, the Waves took a 10-day trip to Italy in early May. They won three of four games on the trip against varying levels of competition. Keion Bell (23.3 ppg) and Mychel Thompson (15.5) were the team's top scorers as Pepperdine averaged 86 points per game. The coaches were happy about 10 extra practices prior to the trip and the increased team bonding that took place while in Italy.
NLI SIGNINGS -- The Waves signed three high school seniors to national letters-of-intent in November: 6-foot-2 guard Jordan Baker (Tempe, Ariz./Tempe HS), 6-foot-7 forward Ramon Eaton (Sacramento, Calif./Sheldon HS) and 6-foot-9 forward/center Paulin Mpawe (Redlands, Calif./Redlands East Valley HS). Eaton was on the Long Beach Press-Telegram's Best in the West third team, while Baker was honorable mention.
PEPPERDINE HISTORY -- This is the 73rd season of Pepperdine basketball, and the Waves opened 2010-11 with an all-time record of 1,118-934 (.545). 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). Did you know that William "Bird" Averitt led the nation in scoring in 1972-73 with 33.9 points per game?
BEST IN THE WEST -- Pepperdine has long been one of the top Division I programs on the West Coast. Over the 32-season period from the 1978-79 season through the 2009-10 campaign, of the 32 schools that currently play Division I basketball in California, Oregon or Washington, the Waves began the 2010-11 season tied for fourth overall in postseason appearances (16), fifth in wins (532) and sixth in winning percentage (.554) over the past 32 years.
WAVES IN THE PROS -- Sadly, it looks like a streak of 34 consecutive seasons with at least one Pepperdine alum on an NBA roster will end in 2010-11. The most recent NBAers, Yakhouba Diawara and Alex Acker, are back in Europe. The streak began in 1976-77 after the ABA/NBA merger. A total of 16 former Pepperdine players have gone on to play in the NBA, most notably Dennis Johnson (a 2010 Naismith Hall of Fame inductee, the 1979 NBA Finals MVP and a three-time NBA champion) and Doug Christie (a 15-year NBA veteran who was a mainstay on the All-Defensive Team).
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 compete for conference and national titles.