Men's Hoops Ends Home Season Against Portland, Gonzaga
Feb. 8, 2011
MALIBU, Calif. -- It may still be early February, but Pepperdine's final two home games of the 2010-11 season are this week. The Waves wrap up play at Firestone Fieldhouse against Portland and Gonzaga, then have their final three regular-season games on the road. Pepperdine will honor its four seniors before Saturday's game. The Waves are coming off a dramatic victory at San Diego and still have hopes of breaking into the top half of the West Coast Conference.
GAME #27 -- Thursday (February 10) at Firestone Fieldhouse: Pepperdine (10-16, 4-5 WCC) vs. Portland (17-7, 4-4 WCC) at 7 p.m.
GAME #28 -- Saturday (February 12) at Firestone Fieldhouse: Pepperdine vs. Gonzaga (15-9, 5-3 WCC) at 7 p.m. The Bulldogs play at Loyola Marymount on Thursday night.
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. Live statistics at home games will be provided on the website via GameTracker.
TICKETS -- For the majority of home games, including the Portland contest, men's basketball single-game tickets cost $15 (reserved), $12 (adult general admission) or $5 (child general admission). The Gonzaga game is a premium contest and ticket prices are $25 (reserved) and $20 (general admission). Call (866) WAVE-TIX for more information or to purchase tickets.
PROMOTIONS -- For the Portland game, the first 350 Pepperdine students to arrive will receive a Waves-branded Chico Bag eco-friendly tote, and the first 300 will get a postgame meal from Chick-fil-A ... For the Gonzaga game, there will be a pregame tailgate for students (sponsored by the Student Programming Board) and the first 750 fans will get the 2011 Gonzaga game t-shirt ... The Gonzaga game sponsor is the Law Offices of Hiepler & Hiepler.
TELEVISION -- Although it won't be shown locally, the Pepperdine-Gonzaga game will be on KHQ-TV in Spokane and FSN Northwest. Greg Heister and Craig Ehlo are the announcers.
PORTLAND -- Pepperdine is 52-31 all-time against Portland. The Pilots have won six in a row since the Waves won two of three games during the 2007-08 season. Portland has won in its last five trips to Malibu, with the Waves' last victory here coming in 2005.
LAST TIME VS. PORTLAND -- Back on Jan. 15 ... Pepperdine defended well enough to win, but suffered through its coldest offensive performance of the season in a 57-42 loss at Portland. The Waves held the Pilots to 15 points below their season scoring average and to 40.4% shooting. But, after the Waves hit four of their first six three-pointers, they missed their final 19 of the game. They finished at 31.4% from the field and 16.0% from beyond the arc while also committing 19 turnovers, 13 of which came in the first half as Portland took a 33-24 lead. The Waves pulled within three at 40-37 with a little more than nine minutes left, but the Pilots put the game away with a 14-1 run over the next seven minutes. Mychel Thompson and Keion Bell scored 10 points apiece.
GONZAGA -- Pepperdine is 31-39 all-time against Gonzaga. The Waves won 26 of the first 31 meetings, but the Bulldogs have won 34 of the last 39. Gonzaga has won 19 consecutive matchups and eight straight in Malibu. Pepperdine last won in January 2002 at home.
LAST TIME VS. GONZAGA -- Back on Jan. 13 ... Pepperdine had a pretty good offensive showing, but Gonzaga's three stars led the Bulldogs to a 92-75 win in Spokane. The Waves hit 51.9% of their shots for the game, their best performance since the season opener, but the Bulldogs were even better at 62.5%. Lorne Jackson led the Waves with 18 points and four steals, while Mychel Thompson had 15 points and Taylor Darby posted 14 points. Gonzaga took a 46-30 halftime lead and the second half was pretty even as the Waves shot 60.0% after the break. The Bulldogs got a career-high 24 points (8-for-8 FG, 8-for-8 FT) from Robert Sacre and 19 points apiece from Elias Harris (8-for-9 FG) and Steven Gray.
GAME #26 RECAP -- The Waves swept San Diego for the first time since 2004 thanks to a stunning performance by Mychel Thompson in a 70-63 overtime road victory on Saturday (Feb. 5). Thompson sank a 35-footer at the buzzer to send the game to overtime, then scored 12 of the Waves' 13 points in OT. He scored a game-high 25 points overall, 23 of which came after halftime. Neither team ever led by more than seven points and there were 12 lead changes. USD had a three-point lead and was shooting free throws with four seconds left in regulation, but missed the front end of a one-and-one. Gus Clardy got the ball to Thompson, who hurried up the floor and put up the game-tying shot just after passing the halfcourt line. The Waves never trailed again as Thompson scored the team's first 12 points of overtime.
APPEARANCE ACCOLADES -- Barring injury, two seniors are about to set records for longevity at Pepperdine. Mychel Thompson is close to becoming the Waves' all-time leader in games played. He's currently #3 (tied) with 121 games in his career. Kelvin Gibbs, with 124 from 1998-01, is the all-time leader. Thompson should set the record on February 24 at San Francisco. And if he doesn't already, Gus Clardy will soon hold the record for most games played by a Pepperdine walk-on. Clardy has appeared in 80 games over his four seasons. Keith Jarbo, who played in 83 games from 2004-06, came to Pepperdine as a walk-on before earning a scholarship his final season.
THOMPSON -- The participation chart isn't the only area where Mychel Thompson stands out on Pepperdine's all-time lists. He will end up as one of the Waves' most prolific players in school history in a number of categories. He scored his 1,000th point in his 100th career game at Missouri State and now has 1,278 (20th on Pepperdine's career list). He is fourth at Pepperdine for three-pointers made with 178 (Thompson probably won't move up any further, next on the list is Terrance Johnson with 221). With 139 steals, he is now #6 on Pepperdine's career list (next is Tezale Archie with 140). Thompson is second on the team with a career-high 13.3 points per game and scored a career-best 34 against Nevada. He made his 100th career start against Saint Mary's on Jan. 8.
JACKSON -- After recording just one 20-point game his first two seasons, Lorne Jackson has posted six of them this year, including three in conference play. Jackson is averaging a career-high 11.9 points, third on the team. In league games only, he's first on the team and third in the WCC at 16.6 points per game. Against Seattle on Jan. 2, 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 also 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.
SEASON NOTABLES -- Pepperdine surpassed its 2009-10 win total with the victory over LMU (1/22), and reached the 10-win mark at San Diego (2/5) for the first time since 2007-08 ... One more victory will equal the program's most amount of wins over the previous five seasons (11 in 2007-08) ... Tom Asbury won his 150th game at Pepperdine on Jan. 29 vs. San Francisco ... The Waves have comeback victories of 15 points or more in each 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) ... Pepperdine won its 13th consecutive home game against LMU (1/22) ... The Waves' 61 points in the second half vs. USF (1/29) were their most after halftime since 1995 (Weber State, 67) and their most in a WCC game since 1990 (LMU, 71) ... Pepperdine had consecutive season-best shooting performances against USF (54.7% on 1/29) and Saint Mary's (55.1% on 2/3), the first time the Waves had two straight WCC games shooting at 54% or better since February 2003 ... The Waves swept the regular-season series against San Diego for the first time since 2004.
JUNIOR CLASS -- Pepperdine's 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 60.2% percent of the points. They've been the highest-scoring class in all but four games this season.
REBOUNDS -- The Waves' current rebound margin of +1.9 would be their best since 1997-98. They've outrebounded their opponent by a double-digit margin five times this season.
CLOSE CALLS -- The first four times this season a game came down to a final shot at the buzzer, all four attempts missed (the Waves were 2-2 such results). Then came February 5 at San Diego. With the Waves trailing by three with four seconds left, USD missed the front end of a one-and-one. Mychel Thompson pushed the ball up the floor and sank a 35-footer as time expired, sending the game to overtime (where the Waves were victorious). A potential game-winning shot happened in three of the first four games of the season, and then not again until game #22 against LMU. 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 Thompson's hurried lay-up off the inbounds pass didn't fall at the buzzer. LMU attempted a last-second potential game-tying three-pointer but it missed.
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).
ROSTER CHANGES -- Prior to the San Diego game on Feb. 5, head coach Tom Asbury suspended junior guard Keion Bell for the remainder of the season, citing "conduct detrimental to the team." Bell was on pace to be the team's leading scorer for the third consecutive year at 18.9 points per game ... Before the UC Irvine game on Dec. 18, Asbury announced that sophomore forward/center Tanner Kerry left the program at the end of the semester with the intention of transferring to another institution. He had averaged 4.3 minutes in 10 games this season.
ROSTER -- After several seasons with less-than-experienced teams, the 2010-11 roster is finally filled with veterans. Prior to the departures of Keion Bell and Tanner Kerry, 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. Ten of the 14 current players are upperclassmen, with four seniors, six juniors, two sophomores and two freshmen. Eleven 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).
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).
PCH CUP -- The PCH Cup, now in its second year, is a season-long competition encompassing all athletic meetings between local rivals Pepperdine and Loyola Marymount, which are separated by just 19.1 miles. Pepperdine won the initial crown in 2009-10 (14.5 to 8.5). With the help of the home men's basketball victory on Jan. 22, Pepperdine currently leads the 2010-11 scoring, 7.5 to 5.0. A home win is worth one point, a road win is worth 1.5 points.
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.