Pepperdine Loses 81-71 Battle to No. 5 Gonzaga Monday Night
Feb. 20, 2006
MALIBU, Calif. (AP) -- Junior forward Adam Morrison scored 26 points and J.P. Batista had 16 points and 13 rebounds as No. 5 Gonzaga won its 14th straight game, an 81-71 victory over Pepperdine on Monday night before a sold out crowd at Firestone Fieldhouse.
Gonzaga (23-3, 12-0) clinched its sixth straight West Coast Conference regular season title when Loyola Marymount lost to Portland earlier Monday. The Bulldogs clinched a share of the title on Saturday when they beat Loyola Marymount.
The 14-game winning streak matches No. 6 George Washington for the longest in the nation, and Gonzaga has won 21 consecutive conference games.
Senior forward Tashaan Forehan-Kelly, playing his final home game, had 25 points for Pepperdine (7-17, 3-9), which has lost five straight overall and 10 in a row to Gonzaga.
Pierre Marie Altidor-Cespedes added a career-high 17 points for Gonzaga.
With Kobe Bryant, Reggie Miller and a host of NBA scouts in the crowd to watch Morrison, the nation's leading scorer had a relatively quiet night, going 7-for-17 from the field and 11-for-17 from the free throw line.
Morrison, who had a career-high 44 points on Saturday, came into the game averaging 29.4 points, a half-point ahead of Duke's J.J. Redick. Morrison missed his first five shots on Monday, hit the next five in a row, then missed five more before making his last two.
Batista, who averages 19.5 points per game, was coming off a season-low six points.
Gonzaga opened a double-digit lead to start the second half, but Pepperdine closed to 52-48 on a layup by Willie Galick with 11:56 to play.
Batista then made a three-point play to start an 8-0 run and the Bulldogs pulled away, leading by as many as 14 points down the stretch.
The Bulldogs earned the No. 1 seed and a bye straight to the semifinals of the WCC tournament that begins on their court on March 3.
Morrison struggled with his shooting in the first half and had a nosebleed that required a wad of gauze.
He made his first field goal with 3:11 to play in the half and followed with a 3-pointer on the next possession to give Gonzaga a 35-28 lead.
Morrison then hit a long jumper with two defenders in his face in the final seconds of the half to give Gonzaga a 39-32 lead.
Pepperdine opened the game with a 17-8 run that featured eight points from Forehan-Kelly and four from Russell Hicks. The nine-point lead would be the Waves' biggest.
Gonzaga answered with a 19-4 run, capped by a three-point play from Batista that gave the Bulldogs a 27-21 lead with 5:21 left in the half.
Sophomore guard Kingsley Costain came off the bench to score 12 points for the Waves, who finished the season 6-6 at home.
Pepperdine travels to the Bay Area later this week to close out WCC regular-season play when it visits Saint Mary's and Santa Clara. The will play at Saint Mary's on Saturday at 7 p.m. before traveling to the South Bay to take on Santa Clara Monday at 7 p.m.