Men's Hoops Hosts LMU on Saturday
UPCOMING Â The Pepperdine men’s basketball team hosts rival Loyola Marymount on Saturday to begin a three-game homestand in West Coast Conference play. It’s the 145th meeting between the two schools, the lengthiest series between Pepperdine and any opponent. The Waves will be looking for their first WCC win of the season. Saturday features a doubleheader with the men’s and women’s teams.
GAME #21 Â Saturday (Jan. 26) at Firestone Fieldhouse: Pepperdine (6-14, 0-4) vs, Loyola Marymount (4-16, 1-3) at 7 p.m. (preceded by the Pepperdine-LMU women’s basketball game at 4:30 p.m.).
ON THE WEB Â Fans 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 23rd season with the Waves, is behind the microphone. Home games will have live audio and video, while road games will be audio only. Go to the Pepperdine Athletics website and look for the WaveCasts button. Live statistics are also available for home games. All online services are currently free.
LOYOLA MARYMOUNT Â Pepperdine is 84-60 all-time against Loyola Marymount and has won 18 of the last 20 meetings. The Waves are 27-8 in Malibu against the Lions and have won nine straight at home. Pepperdine swept the season series in 2006-07. The last Lion win in Malibu occurred in 1997-98.
GAME #20 RECAP Â Pepperdine nearly overcame Santa Clara’s fast start, but a big early deficit proved to be too much in a 101-86 loss at the Leavey Center on Monday (Jan. 21). The Broncos could do no wrong for the first 14 or so minutes, hitting 11 of their first 12 shots en route to a 41-21 lead with 5:53 to play. The Waves chipped away and got as close as three points, last at 68-65 with nine minutes left, but the Broncos held off the rally. Malcolm Thomas led four players in double-figures with 16 points.
EXPERIENCE (OR LACK THEREOF) Â Of the 13 players that are currently part of the team, only one saw any action last season (walk-on Tyler Carr). The status of senior center Jarrad Henry is still uncertain. Three other players were on the roster last year: two of whom redshirted due to NCAA transfer rules, and a walk-on who did not appear in any games. There are nine players new to the team: one junior college transfer, seven true freshmen and a sophomore walk-on.
HOW ABOUT THOSE FRESHMEN? Â Freshmen are providing most of the Waves’ scoring, with 65.2 percent of the points thus far. Freshmen have scored at least half of the Waves’ points in 19 of 20 games, including the first 15 of the season (a streak that ended when reserves played most of Pepperdine’s rout of Hope International). Freshmen contributed the most with 85.9% of the 92 points against Long Beach State. See the chart on page five for game-by-game figures. Four of the top five scorers still on the team are freshmen (Tyrone Shelley at 15.4 ppg, Malcolm Thomas at 13.5 ppg, Daniel Johnson at 9.9 ppg and Mychel Thompson at 8.3 ppg).
MORE ON SHELLEY Â Based on available records, Tyrone Shelley’s 34 points vs. Cal State Northridge set a new single-game scoring mark by a Pepperdine freshman. He is fourth in the WCC in scoring (15.4 ppg), as well as sixth in steals (1.65) and eighth in rebounding (6.2). He has three double-doubles, most recently with 20 points and 14 rebounds at Saint Mary’s last weekend. He was Pepperdine’s leading scorer in each of the first three WCC games.
MORE ON THOMAS Â Freshman Malcolm Thomas was named one of the five-best mid-major freshmen in the West by espn.com’s Kyle Whelliston at the end of November. He ranks third in the WCC in rebounding (9.0) and is also fourth in field goal percentage (.548), fourth in blocked shots (1.60) and ninth in scoring (13.4). He has four double-doubles and has had team bests of 15 double-figure scoring games and seven double-figure rebounding games. He scored in double-figures in 12 straight non-conference games at one point.
WALBERG RESIGNS Â On the morning on Thursday, Jan. 18, head coach Vance Walberg unexpectedly resigned, citing personal and family reasons. In his 1 1/2 seasons with the Waves after leaving Fresno City College, Walberg’s teams went 14-35 overall. Pepperdine was 6-12 overall and 0-2 in the WCC at the time of his resignation.
BRIDGELAND ELEVATED Â Eric Bridgeland, in his second season as an assistant coach, was elevated to interim head coach. He previously was a head coach for seven seasons at the Division III level and posted an overall record of 115-65 (.639). In five seasons at Puget Sound (2002-06), Bridgeland’s teams captured three consecutive Northwest Conference championsips (2004-06), advanced to the Division III NCAA Tournament "Sweet 16" in 2004 and 2005 and the "Elite Eight" in 2006. Bridgeland was tabbed the Northwest Conference’s Coach of the Year following the 2003-04 and 2005-06 seasons. He also coached at NCAA Division III UC Santa Cruz for two seasons (1999-2000 and 2000-01).
ROSTER FALLOUT Â Senior guard Jason Walberg, who transferred to Pepperdine prior to the 2006-07 season in order to play for his father, left the program following his father’s resignation. Senior center Jarrad Henry did not travel with the team last weekend and has not returned to practice, though the coaches hope that he may decide to return. Henry missed the first 11 games of the season with a broken thumb and reinjured the thumb in early January, though he continued to attempt to play.
FIRST HALF/SECOND HALF Â The Waves have trailed at halftime in 18 of 20 games, including the first eight of the season. They lost the first four but came back to win the next four. Pepperdine’s first halftime lead of the season came in the ninth contest at Montana State (though the Waves ended up losing). Pepperdine then trailed at halftime the next six games before taking a 42-point lead at halftime vs. Hope International. Pepperdine has trailed at halftime in all four WCC games. On the positive side, the Waves have either outscored or matched the opponent in the second half in 12 of 20 games.
POINTS Â Pepperdine is second in the WCC in scoring (78.3 ppg) and the more points for the Waves, the better. In Pepperdine’s victories, the average score has been 93.7 to 77.8. In losses, the average is 71.8 to 85.3. The Waves are 4-0 when scoring 90 points or more. The fewest points that Pepperdine scored in any of its six victories is 83 points (Pacific).
STEALS Â The Waves lead the WCC in steals (9.90 per game). The next-closest school in that category is Saint Mary’s at 7.39. Rico Tucker is first in the conference at 2.2 steals per contest.
REBOUNDS Â Although Pepperdine’s rebound margin is a negative 1.6, that’s a vast improvement over 2006-07, when it was a negative 12.3. The Waves lead the WCC in offensive rebounding at 14.15 per game. At his current pace, Malcolm Thomas (9.0 rpg) could finish as the Waves’ best rebounder since 1993-94 (Dana Jones, 9.7 rpg).
STREAKS Â Pepperdine’s modest four-game winning streak in November provided a few highlights. It was the first time that the Waves had won as many as three in a row since January 2005. The final three wins in the streak came away from home, the first time Pepperdine had won three straight road or neutral-site games since November 2004.
2007-08 HONORS Â Malcolm Thomas was named to the all-tournament team at the Oregon World Vision Invitational after averaging 13.0 points and 10.0 rebounds ... Tyrone Shelley and Rico Tucker were named to the all-tournament team at the Montana State GranTree Inn Classic. Shelley averaged 19.5 ppg and Tucker averaged 16.5 ppg.
LAST-SECOND HEROICS Â Tyrone Shelley hit a three-pointer with 4.2 seconds left to send the Nov. 28 game at Northern Arizona into overtime, and the Waves ended up winning 93-87 ... On Nov. 30 vs. Texas-Pan American, Jason Walberg drove down the lane and dished off to Malcolm Thomas, who laid it in with six seconds left for the game-winning points in an 86-84 victory ... The Waves have hit three-pointers right before the halftime buzzer three times: Jon Reed vs. Long Beach State on Nov. 21, Rico Tucker at Northern Arizona on Nov. 28 and Shelley vs. Hope International on Jan. 8 ... Shelley hit a three-pointer at the final buzzer at Manhattan, but unfortunately the Waves trailed by four points prior to his basket.
ROAD TRIP Â Pepperdine’s 10-game road trip (which featured nine away games and one neutral-site contest) appears to have been the longest stretch without a home game in school history. The Waves went 47 days without a home game (Nov. 21 to Jan. 8). During this stretch, Pepperdine played the two schools with the longest current home winning streaks in the country, Memphis and BYU.
SCHEDULE Â The non-conference schedule was daunting, as the Waves played 13 of their 16 non-conference games away from home. The Waves took on three ranked teams on the road, losing at #12 Oregon, #25 BYU and #2 Memphis. Pepperdine won four of the 13 games away from Malibu. One oddity had Pepperdine playing Pacific twice. The Tigers won on a neutral court in Oregon but the Waves returned the favor on Pacific’s home floor in Stockton a month later. The three non-conference home games came against a trio of local schools: Cal State Northridge, Long Beach State and Hope International.
WCC PRESEASON POLL Â The Waves were picked to finish sixth in the WCC in a preseason coaches’ poll. The predicted order is as follows: Gonzaga (five first-place votes), Saint Mary’s (three first-place votes), San Diego, Santa Clara, San Francisco, Pepperdine, Portland and Loyola Marymount.
TELEVISION Â Pepperdine fans will be able to watch the Waves on television plenty of times in 2007-08. The non-conference game at Northern Arizona was shown on tape delay on FSN Prime Ticket. Right now eight of the 14 WCC games will be available on the likes of FSN West, FSN Prime Ticket, ESPN, ESPNU and CSTV.
RECRUITS Â The Waves signed their second straight outstanding class during the early signing period. Joining the Waves in 2008-09 will be guards Brad Tinsley (Oregon City, Ore./Oregon City HS) and Paul McCoy (Portland, Ore./Grant HS) and forward Paul George (Palmdale, Calif./Knight HS). All three are rated among the nation’s top 150 players by various recruiting services. Tinsley and McCoy are the #1 and #4-rated seniors in the state of Oregon, according to OregonPreps.com. George is the third-best small forward on the West Coast, according to ScoutHoops.com.
WAVES IN THE PROS Â 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 last played with the Clippers in 2006-07). Currently in the NBA is Yakhouba Diawara, now in his second season with the Denver Nuggets. Diawara, who played at Pepperdine in 2003-04 and 2004-05 and was an all-conference honoree, was the Nuggets’ starting shooting guard on opening night of the 2007-08 NBA season. Some recent players have been playing overseas, including Alex Acker (Spain), Brandon Armstrong (Poland), Tashaan Forehan-Kelly (New Zealand), Jelani Gardner (Russia), Kelvin Gibbs (Greece), Geoff Lear (France) and Glen McGowan (Belgium). Robert "Hollywood" Turner is a member of the Harlem Globetrotters.
PEPPERDINE HISTORY Â This is the 70th season of Pepperdine basketball, and the Waves opened 2007-08 with an all-time record of 1,092-857 (.560). 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).
FIRESTONE FIELDHOUSE Â When Pepperdine moved its campus from South-Central Los Angeles to Malibu, Firestone Fieldhouse was built and opened in November 1973. The gym currently seats 3,104 fans. Entering the 2007-08 season, the Waves compiled a cumulative record of 335-128 (.724) in 35 seasons and won a school-record 30 consecutive games from 1984-87.
TICKETS Â Season tickets for men’s basketball cost $440 for courtside seats, $165 for lower reserved and $132 for upper reserved. Individual game tickets cost $15 for lower reserved, $12 for upper reserved and $10 for general admission. Please call 1-866-WAVETIX for more information.