Pepperdine-SMC WCC Quarterfinal on ESPN2 on Saturday Night
March 4, 2014
MALIBU, Calif. -- The postseason begins on Saturday night for the Pepperdine men's basketball team as the fifth-seeded Waves battle fourth-seeded Saint Mary's in the quarterfinals of the WCC Championships. Pepperdine has had its best season in nearly a decade, as the Waves' 15 overall wins are the most since 2004-05. After being picked to finish 10th in the preseason coaches' poll, the Waves ended up fifth and with their first top-half finish in the standings since 2004.
GAME #31 -- Saturday (March 8) at the Orleans Arena in Las Vegas, Nev.: #5 Pepperdine (15-15, 8-10 WCC, fifth place) vs. #4 Saint Mary's (21-10, 11-7 WCC, fourth place) in the quarterfinals at approximately 8 p.m. (30 minutes after the conclusion of the 6 p.m. game).
GAME #32 -- If Pepperdine wins ... Monday (March 10) at the Orleans Arena in Las Vegas, Nev.: either #1 Gonzaga, #8 Pacific or #9 Santa Clara in the semifinals (time TBA).
WAVECASTS -- Live audio broadcasts of all of Pepperdine's men's and women's WCC Tournament games will be free to all users at www.pepperdinesports.com.Veteran play-by-play man Al Epstein is behind the microphone (now in his 29th season, he has a streak going of 875 consecutive broadcasts).
TELEVISION -- The Pepperdine-Saint Mary's game will be shown on ESPN2. Dave Flemming and Sean Farnham are the announcers.
SOCIAL MEDIA -- On Twitter, get the latest news on the men's basketball program at @PeppBasketball and follow our coaches at @MartyWilson4, @CoachMarkAmaral, @Coach_BMoore and @jimpelman. You can also like the Pepperdine Men's Basketball and/or Pepperdine Athletics pages on Facebook, and both PepperdineHoops and PepperdineWaves on Instagram.
HOOPS EXTRA -- Pepperdine is providing more insider content to its fans this season via the Hoops Extra basketball blog, which can be accessed at www.pepperdinesports.com/hoopsextra.
WCC AWARDS -- Stacy Davis became the first Wave to earn All-WCC first team honors since 2005. Brendan Lane was named WCC Defensive Player of the Year (the third-ever for Pepperdine and the first since 2002). Lane was also selected to the All-WCC honorable mention team. Finally, Jeremy Major garnered a spot on the WCC All-Freshman team.
ACADEMICS -- Malte Kramer is Pepperdine basketball's first-ever Capital One/CoSIDA Academic All-American. The economics major with a 4.0 GPA was named to the third team after previously being selected to the all-district first team ... Kramer and Brendan Lane were both selected to the WCC All-Academic first team. It's the fourth time in the last five years that the Waves have had multiple student-athletes on the first team.
WCC CHAMPIONSHIPS -- In 27 previous events, Pepperdine has an all-time record of 28-23 (.549) at the WCC Championships and won titles in the 1991, 1992 and 1994 seasons (all under former coach Tom Asbury). The Waves have won at least one game at 18 of the tournaments. Pepperdine has its best seeding (#5) since 2005. That year was the first and only time previously that the Waves were the #5 seed (they went 1-1). Marty Wilson led the Waves to one of the biggest upsets in tournament history back in 1996 when as the interim coach, he directed eighth-seeded Pepperdine to a victory over a Steve Nash-led, top-seeded Santa Clara team on the Broncos' home floor. This year's squad's previous WCC Championships experience consists entirely of five players having appeared in one game last season.
SAINT MARY'S -- Pepperdine is 68-62 all-time against Saint Mary's. However, the Gaels have won 15 straight and 21 of the last 22. The Waves' last win in the series came in 2007 in Moraga. Though the Gaels won twice during the regular season, the combined margin of eight points is by far the smallest during SMC's winning streak. Pepperdine shot better than SMC from the field (43.0% to 38.7%), from the three-point line (34.5% to 28.6%) and free throw line (73.3% to 69.2%) despite the two losses. This is the first meeting between the schools at the WCC Championships since the 2004 semifinals. The Waves are 4-3 against the Gaels in the tournament, including a victory in the 1991 championship game.
FIRST GAME VS. SMC -- Back on Jan. 23 in Moraga ... Pepperdine gave a spirited effort at Saint Mary's, but the Gaels had a big second half from the free throw line and prevailed 80-74. The Waves fell behind by 11 in the first half but got within one point a couple of times in the second half. They held the Gaels to 29.2% (7-for-24) shooting in the second half. But after SMC went just 1-for-2 from the free throw line in the first half, the Gaels went 25-for-34 in the second half. Brendan Lane scored a team-high 18 points as four Waves reached double-figures.
SECOND GAME VS. SMC -- Back on Feb. 8 in Malibu ... A tremendous effort ended with a heartbreaking finish as Pepperdine lost to Saint Mary's, 69-67, in overtime. The Waves led by six at halftime (28-22) but trailed by seven with less than five minutes left in regulation. Pepperdine fought back and tied the game on Brendan Lane's dunk with 19.2 seconds left. In OT alone, there were eight lead changes and three ties and neither team went up by more than one until the final margin. Pepperdine's last points came with 1:44 left, and the Waves had five shots to take the lead at the end but couldn't connect. Lane finished with 19 points, 10 rebounds, six blocks and three steals. The Waves outshot the Gaels 41.8% to 35.5%, but were outrebounded 40-31 and gave up 19 offensive rebounds.
DAVIS -- Sophomore forward Stacy Davis, a two-time All-WCC selection (2014 first team, 2013 honorable mention) only reached the 20-point mark once as a freshman, but he's done so nine times this season en route to a team-high 15.2 scoring average (ninth in the WCC). He scored a career-high 28 points at San Diego and had 27 at Loyola Marymount. He's one of the top rebounders in the league, ranking fifth overall (7.7 rpg) and second in league play (8.2 rpg). He's posted six double-doubles (and three times was just one rebound away from having more). The Waves are 9-4 when Davis scores at least 15 points, 8-3 when he grabs at least nine rebounds and 6-0 when he has a double-double.
Davis is just the second Wave to score at least 20 points in each of the first four games of the season in the last 31 years. He went 11-for-11 from the free throw line twice (at USD and vs. Pacific). He's only the sixth Wave known to have been perfect from the line with at least 11 attempts, and the only one ever to do it twice. Davis was the 2013 WCC Newcomer of the Year.
LANE -- Senior forward Brendan Lane is the WCC Defensive Player of the Year and an All-WCC honorable mention pick. The UCLA transfer is averaging 13.2 points (17th in the WCC) and 7.4 rebounds (seventh in the WCC). Lane's 55.0% field-goal percentage ranks fifth in the WCC and 35th nationally.
Lane is the conference's top shot-blocker, averaging 2.4 per game overall (37th nationally) and 2.5 in league games. He's turning in one of the best shot-blocking seasons in Pepperdine history, ranking third in both average and total blocks (71) on the school's single-season records list. He has a current streak of 18 straight games with a block, which is the second-longest run in school history (he blocked a shot in all 17 WCC games in which he played). He also had a stretch of seven consecutive games with multiple blocks, the fourth-longest streak of its kind in program history.
Lane only scored in double-figures once in his three years with the Bruins but he did it in each of the first nine games this season (and 21 overall). He has eight double-doubles this year (and was twice one rebound away from having more). His 26-point, 17-rebound game at Santa Clara was the best stat line by a Wave since Glen McGowan went for 31 and 22 in January 2005. It was the first 25-15 game as well as the most rebounds by any Wave since then. Lane's seven blocked shots in the season opener vs. San Diego Christian were the most by a Wave since Jarrad Henry set the school record with 11 in February 2007. It tied the seventh-best single-game effort in Pepperdine history and set a school record for a player in his debut.
LANE AND DAVIS -- It was expected that Brendan Lane and Stacy Davis would give the Waves one of the best frontcourts in the WCC (if not the best), and the overall stats tilt in their favor. Their combined averages of 28.4 points and 15.1 rebounds rank first and second, respectively, in both categories among other conference big men. When either one records a double-double, Pepperdine is 10-3 overall and 5-2 in WCC games. When both Lane and Davis score in double-figures, the Waves are 9-6 overall and 4-4 in league play. Against Houston Baptist, they became the first pair of Waves to post at least 20 points and 10 rebounds in the same game in nearly 25 years. They have 14 double-doubles combined this season, second most by any league duo.
FRESHMAN POINT GUARDS -- The Waves have two very impressive freshman point guards this season. Jeremy Major, a member of the WCC All-Freshman team, is averaging 9.1 points overall and ranks fifth in the WCC (leading all conference newcomers) with 4.5 assists per game. Major has set a Pepperdine freshman record with 136 assists (and the most by any Wave since Tezale Archie's 208 in 1999-00). He also set a Pepperdine true freshman record with 12 assists against Green Bay. Major is on the verge of becoming the first Pepperdine freshman to start every game since Levy Middlebrooks in 1984-85 ... Amadi Udenyi, a co-starter with Major, missed 10 non-conference games with a knee injury. He came back at the start of league play without missing a beat, and is averaging 5.5 points and 2.6 assists while playing strong defense.
BROOKS -- After a fairly uneventful non-conference season (7.7 ppg, only scoring once in double-figures), junior guard Malcolm Brooks exploded onto the scene with 20 and 24-point efforts in the first two WCC games against San Diego and BYU. He scored in double-figures 13 times in 17 league games and averaged 12.2 points in WCC play. After making 12 three-pointers in the first 12 games, the JC transfer had a team-best 31 in league contests. Brooks' six three-pointers vs. BYU were the most by a Wave since January 2010. The Waves are 5-1 when he scores at least 15 points.
MORE 2013-14 HONORS -- Stacy Davis was named to the preseason All-WCC first team ... Davis was named WCC Player of the Week on November 18 after averaging 23.5 points in road wins against UC Riverside and Central Michigan (he was the Waves' first WCC POTW since December 2010) ... Brendan Lane made the Great Alaska Shootout all-tournament team after averaging 17.0 points and 8.0 rebounds over three games ... Lane was named to CollegeHoopsDaily.com's list of the league's top five players during the non-conference season (14.9 ppg, 8.6 rpg) ... Malcolm Brooks was named WCC Player of the Week on December 31 after averaging 22.0 points in the league-opening wins against San Diego and BYU ... Brooks and Davis have given the Waves two WCC Players of the Week in one season for the first time since 2009-10 ... It wasn't the official award, but Lane was named College Sports Madness' WCC Player of the Week on January 6 after averaging 19.5 points and 12.0 rebounds in games at Santa Clara and San Francisco ... College Sports Madness named Davis to its All-WCC second team and Lane to its All-WCC third team.
WCC STATS (OVERALL) -- Stacy Davis is fifth in rebounding (7.7), ninth in scoring (15.2) ... Brendan Lane is first in blocked shots (2.4), fifth in field goal percentage (.550), seventh in rebounding (7.4), 17th in scoring (13.2) ... Jeremy Major is fifth in assists (4.5), tied for ninth in steals (1.3) ... Malte Kramer is third in three-point percentage (.446).
WCC STATS (WCC GAMES ONLY) -- Stacy Davis finished second in rebounding (8.2), 11th in scoring (14.6) ... Brendan Lane was first in blocked shots (2.5), 11th in rebounding (6.6), 21st in scoring (12.0) ... Malcolm Brooks was eighth in three-pointers made (1.8), 20th in scoring (12.2) ... Jeremy Major was tied for fourth in steals (1.7), fifth in assists (4.4) ... Malte Kramer was tied for eighth in three-point percentage (.444).
STRONG FINISHES -- Almost all of Pepperdine's wins in league play have required a big finish ... USD at home (75-64): held the Toreros scoreless in the final three-plus minutes and ended the game on a 6-0 run ... BYU at home (80-74): the Cougars closed the gap to three or four points seven times in the final six-plus minutes ... Santa Clara away (70-61): outscored the Broncos 7-0 in the final 2:45 ... San Diego away (69-65): outscored the Toreros 11-2 over the final five minutes ... Portland at home (76-65): the Pilots were within five points with under six minutes to play ... LMU at home (80-69): outscored the Lions 9-0 over the final three minutes ... Pacific at home (80-69): up by four with 5:20 left, the Waves went on an 8-0 run over the next three minutes ... LMU away (72-69): it was almost the Lions that had the big comeback finish, but Brendan Lane blocked Anthony Ireland's potential game-tying three-point attempt out of bounds, with 0.5 seconds left, and a last-second LMU heave was just off the mark.
SCORING UP -- As is the case for much of the NCAA, Pepperdine's scoring (71.2 points per game) has increased this season. Last year, the Waves averaged 62.8 points overall. The last time the Waves averaged 70+ points for a season was 2007-08.
HOME AND ROAD -- Pepperdine finished with an 8-6 record at home, giving the Waves their first winning record in Firestone Fieldhouse since 2004-05. Pepperdine also had its best record on the road in years. Six road victories overall were the most since 2002-03 (also six), and three in WCC games were the most since 2003-04 (four). One odd stat is that the Waves' three-point shooting has been much better away from home this season. In Malibu, Pepperdine's three-point percentage was 32.1%, while in road/neutral-site games, it's 38.0%.
DEBUTS -- Eight of the 14 Waves that have gotten into a game are in their debut season with Pepperdine. That includes the majority of the starters in 28 of 30 contests. The new guys (which includes Brendan Lane, a redshirt) have scored 56.9% of the Waves' points this season.
TEAM WCC NOTES -- Pepperdine had its first top-half finish in the WCC standings since 2004, and the Waves' eight WCC wins were also the most since 2004 (nine). While the league schedule has grown from 14 to 18 games since then, the Waves did have seven conference victories after 12 games (which would have also been the most since 2004) ... The Waves won their WCC opener for the fifth time in the last six years ... The Waves swept the season series from San Diego for the first time since 2011 and beat the Toreros in the Jenny Craig Pavilion for just the second time in the last 11 visits ... Pepperdine beat BYU for the first time since the Cougars joined the WCC (0-4 previously) and ended a seven-game losing streak in the overall series ... Pepperdine beat Portland in Firestone Fieldhouse for the fourth straight year ... The Waves beat LMU at home for the 15th time in 16 years, and swept the regular-season series for the second straight year.
TEAM NON-CONFERENCE NOTES -- Pepperdine reached the 10-win mark the quickest since 2004-05 (also in 15 games) ... The Waves finished non-conference play with a winning record (7-5) for the third straight season ... Pepperdine was 4-1 after five games for the first time since 2004-05 ... The Waves began the season 3-0 for the first time since 1998-99 ... Pepperdine's 88 points at Central Michigan were the most scored by the Waves since January 2011 ... The 17-point win at Central Michigan was the largest in a road game for the Waves since December 2007 ... The Waves had two consecutive road wins for the first time since November 2007, and three straight for the first time since February 2004 ... Pepperdine started with a 3-0 road record for the first time since 1988-89 ... Pepperdine's 71.4% shooting percentage against Denver set a Great Alaska Shootout record and was the second-best mark in program history. It was also the first time the Waves surpassed 60% in almost a decade (February 2004) ... The Waves also set a Great Alaska Shootout record with a combined 60.0% mark over three games ... The Waves have had two three-game winning streaks in one season for the first time since 2004-05.
ROSTER NUMBERS -- At the start of the season, fans might have recognized half of the Waves' team, but the other half was brand new. Pepperdine returned eight players (seven letterwinners plus redshirt Brendan Lane) while bringing in eight newcomers (one JC transfer and seven freshmen). The returners accounted for 49% of last season's points and rebounds. Nikolas Skouen is the only player that entered 2013-14 having already competed in multiple seasons at Pepperdine. The roster breakdown is three seniors, two juniors, four sophomores and seven freshmen. All 13 scholarships are being utilized and there are three walk-ons.
WILSON -- This is Marty Wilson's third year as head coach at Pepperdine and his 17th season in Malibu. He has compiled an impressive record here beginning as a student-athlete (1985-89), continuing as an assistant coach (1991-96, which included a brief stint as the interim head coach) and then returning as the associate head coach for three seasons (2009-11) under Tom Asbury. He was then elevated to the position of head coach following Asbury's retirement after the 2010-11 season. Wilson was also an assistant at San Diego, UC Santa Barbara and Utah inbetween stints at Pepperdine and has been a Division I coach for 23 seasons. He ended his playing career #5 all-time in assists at Pepperdine with 342 (he's still #9). The team went to the NCAA Tournament twice and the NIT twice in Wilson's four seasons on the court. As a Pepperdine assistant, the team took part in the NCAA Tournament three times and the NIT once.
ASSISTANTS -- Almost all of Pepperdine's staff is back, but some are in different roles. Associate head coach Mark Amaral and assistant coach Bryant Moore are both in their third seasons. Amaral and Marty Wilson were assistants together at UC Santa Barbara for four seasons. Moore worked with the Cleveland Cavaliers for five seasons in a variety of roles, including player development coordinator, during the LeBron James era. John Impelman, who was the director of operations the past two seasons, has been promoted to assistant coach. Impelman is the great-grandson of UCLA coaching legend John Wooden. Jon Pastorek, last year's graduate manager, is now the director of operations.
WCC POLL -- For the sixth straight year, Pepperdine finished better than predicted in the coaches' preseason poll (which coincides with when Marty Wilson came back to the program). The poll went in the following order: Gonzaga, BYU, Saint Mary's, San Francisco, San Diego, Loyola Marymount, Pacific, Santa Clara, Portland and Pepperdine.
RECRUITS -- Last year's recruiting class saw Pepperdine stock up on guards and wings. The Waves then went big in their latest group to sign national letters-of-intent. In the November early signing period, they landed 6-foot-10 center Nate Gehring (Waukee, Iowa/Waukee HS), 6-foot-8 forward A.J. John (Santa Rosa, Calif./Maria Carrillo HS) and 6-foot-10 center Ryan Keenan (Woodbury, Minn./East Ridge HS), all of whom will enter Pepperdine in fall 2014.
PEPPERDINE BASKETBALL -- This is the 76th season of Pepperdine men's basketball, and the 41st season that the Waves have called Firestone Fieldhouse home. The Waves began the campaign with an all-time record of 1,152-992 (.537). 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?
WAVES IN THE PROS -- Yakhouba Diawara, a former NBA veteran who now plays in Italy, competed in the 2012 Olympics for France. Mychel Thompson is the most recent Wave in the NBA, appearing in five games for the Cleveland Cavaliers in 2011-12 after making the squad as an undrafted free agent. He is currently in the NBA's D-League with Santa Cruz. Pepperdine had a streak of 34 consecutive seasons with at least one Pepperdine alum on an NBA roster, which began in 1976-77 after the ABA/NBA merger and ended in 2010-11. Seventeen former Pepperdine players have seen action in the NBA, a list that includes notables such as 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).
CAMPUS LIFE PROJECT -- In May 2011, Pepperdine launched The Campaign for Pepperdine, the largest fundraising campaign in the University's history. The goal is to raise $450 million to support the Campus Life Project, which will benefit the entire campus. The key piece for Athletics is a new, state-of-the-art, 5,000-seat University Events Center, which will replace Firestone Fieldhouse as the Waves' home. The project has been approved by the County of Los Angeles and the California Coastal Commission, so the biggest step remaining before the arena can be built is fundraising.
2013/2015 NCAA WEST REGIONALS -- Pepperdine University was the host institution for the 2013 West Regional of the NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament and will do so again in 2015. The Waves partnered with AEG/Staples Center and the LA Sports & Entertainment Commission to bring NCAA postseason basketball to Los Angeles for the first time since 1994.
ABOUT PEPPERDINE UNIVERSITY -- Pepperdine boasts a one-of-a-kind athletic department with unprecedented success for a school of its size. The Waves have won NCAA Division I championships in five different men's sports - one of just 16 schools to have accomplished this feat - and nine overall. Of this elite group, Pepperdine has the smallest undergraduate enrollment and is the only school not affiliated with a BCS-level conference. The Waves have earned the Division I-AAA All-Sports Trophy, an award based on postseason success that's given to the top non-football school, three times (most recently in 2011-12). Located in scenic Malibu, Calif., the university overlooks the Pacific Ocean and its campus and athletic facilities are regularly voted among the nation's most beautiful. Pepperdine, which is affiliated with the Church of Christ, ranks #57 overall on U.S. News and World Report's list of America's best colleges.