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Men's Hoops Set for Home Opener on Saturday vs. CSU Bakersfield

Mychel Thompson
Mychel Thompson

Nov. 17, 2010

Pepperdine Men's Basketball Notes Get Acrobat Reader

MALIBU, Calif. -- Coming off an exciting one-point win over Nevada for its first win of the season, the Pepperdine men's basketball team plays its home opener this Saturday against CSU Bakersfield. Mychel Thompson is coming off a career-high 34-point performance in the victory and needs just 13 more to become Pepperdine's 36th 1,000-point scorer.

GAME #4 -- Saturday (November 20) at Firestone Fieldhouse: Pepperdine (1-2) vs. CSU Bakersfield (1-1, plays Southern Utah on Wednesday) at 7 p.m.

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 Veteran play-by-play man Al Epstein, now in his 26th season with the Waves, is behind the microphone. Live statistics of home games will also be provided on the website via GameTracker.

TICKETS -- For the majority of home games, men's basketball single-game tickets cost $15 (reserved), $12 (adult general admission) or $5 (child general admission). Two premium contests -- Gonzaga and Loyola Marymount -- have different pricing. Call (866) WAVE-TIX for more information or to purchase tickets.

PROMOTIONS -- American Apparel is providing a free blue or orange shirt or pair of socks to the first 200 Pepperdine students at Saturday's game. The first 300 Pepperdine students to arrive will receive a free chicken sandwich from Chick-fil-A immediately after the game.

CSU BAKERSFIELD -- Pepperdine is 1-2 all-time against CSU Bakersfield. The schools met for three consecutive seasons before taking last year off. The road team has won the previous three encounters, including the Roadrunners' 79-72 overtime victory in Malibu in November 2008, the last meeting between the programs. Keion Bell scored 23 points in that game.

HOME OPENERS -- Pepperdine has a 49-17 record in home openers since the 1944-45 season (as far back as such records are complete).

GAME #2 RECAP -- Take away an eight-minute stretch at the end of the first half and the beginning of the second, and Pepperdine outscored UCLA by 14 points during Monday's Dick's Sporting Goods NIT Season Tip-Off first-round game at Pauley Pavilion. But the Bruins had a 26-2 run during that time period and posted a 79-69 win over the Waves. A strong first half saw Pepperdine go in front 32-26 with 2 1/2 minutes left in the first half, but UCLA's run put the Bruins ahead 52-36 with less than 15 minutes remaining. Keion Bell scored 24 points to lead Pepperdine.

GAME #3 RECAP -- Pepperdine came back nicely to win its first game of the season during Tuesday's NIT consolation game against Nevada, rallying from a 10-point second-half deficit for a 76-75 victory at Pauley Pavilion. Pepperdine was down five with 2 1/2 minutes left, when Mychel Thompson (career-high 34 points) made a three-point play, Jonathan Dupre' scored on a lay-up and Thompson sank the go-ahead basket with one minute left. Nevada hit one free throw to make it a one-point game, and after a Pepperdine turnover, the Wolf Pack's last hurried attempt hit the side of the backboard. The Waves had 17 points off turnovers to the Wolf Pack's five and had the advantage at the free throw line (19-for-27 to 8-for-15).

NIT CONSOLATION -- The Waves will learn on Thursday (Nov. 18) where they are headed for the next consolation round of the Dick's Sporting Goods NIT Season Tip-Off. Pepperdine's two opponents for the games that will be played on November 22 and 23 will also be announced at that time.

RACE TO 1,000 -- One Wave just became the 35th 1,000-point scorer in Pepperdine history and another is about to become the 36th. Keion Bell scored his 1,000th point in the season opener at Portland State and now has 1,049 (32nd on Pepperdine's career list). Mychel Thompson is at 987 points.

THOMPSON WATCH -- 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 ranks sixth on Pepperdine's all-time for three-pointers made with 144 (next is Kingsley Costain with 146). With 115 steals, he is now tied for #10 on Pepperdine's career list with Dexter Howard (next is Dwayne Polee with 123). Thompson has played in 98 games in his career and barring injury he should break Pepperdine's career record (Kelvin Gibbs with 124) by season's end.

2010-11 HONORS -- Keion Bell was named to the preseason All-WCC first team.

ROSTER -- After several seasons with less-than-experienced teams, the 2010-11 roster is finally filled with veterans. Thirteen players are back from last year's team and 14 have previously suited up for the Waves, giving Pepperdine its most returners in school history. Eleven of the 16 players are upperclassmen, with four seniors, seven juniors, three sophomores and two freshmen. Thirteen players are on scholarship and three are walk-ons.

RETURNERS -- Only two players that saw minimal playing time are not back from last season, so the Waves return 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 four local or national television appearances: November 15 at UCLA (8 p.m., ESPNU), 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 -- Tom Asbury believes in preparing his team for league play with a difficult non-conference slate of games. The Waves have a number of daunting road trips, including out-of-state games at Portland State, Utah, Alabama and Miami (Fla.). Pepperdine will play four games in the Dick's Sporting Goods NIT Season Tip-Off, beginning with a game at UCLA. The Waves have seven non-conference home games.

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 prep 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).

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.



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