Waves Look for Second Win in Arizona on Wednesday
Dec. 5, 2011
GAME #8 -- Wednesday (Dec. 7) at the Rolle Activity Center in Flagstaff, Ariz.: Pepperdine (4-3) at Northern Arizona (2-6) at 5:30 p.m. PT/6:30 p.m. MT.
GAME #9 -- Saturday (Dec. 10) at Firestone Fieldhouse: Pepperdine vs. Cal State Northridge (1-6) at 7 p.m.
ON THE WEB -- WaveCasts (Pepperdine's live video broadcasts of all home games and audio broadcasts of all road contests) are free to all users at www.pepperdinesports.com. Veteran play-by-play man Al Epstein, now in his 27th season with the Waves, is behind the microphone. Also on the official website, fans can join an interactive live blog/chat using Cover It Live technology for all road games. Finally, follow the program on Twitter at @PEPPBasketball.
TELEVISION -- The Pepperdine-Northern Arizona game will be shown on Prime Ticket, FOX Sports Arizona and FOX College Sports. NAU radio broadcasters Mitch Strohman and Dave Brown are the announcers on the simulcast.
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). Premium games (LMU, BYU and Gonzaga) have different pricing plans. Tickets can be purchased through the Pepperdine ticket office (866-WAVE-TIX) or via Ticketmaster.
NORTHERN ARIZONA -- Pepperdine leads the all-time series with Northern Arizona, 12-3. The Waves had won four in a row before the Lumberjacks posted an 88-74 victory in Firestone Fieldhouse last season. In the last game in Flagstaff, the Waves earned a 93-87 overtime win in November 2007.
CAL STATE NORTHRIDGE -- Pepperdine leads the all-time series with Cal State Northridge, 8-6. The Matadors have won the last three meetings and five of the last six dating back to the 1996-97 season. The last time the teams met was in December 2008. Pepperdine last won in December 2005 at home and has a 6-2 record in home games against CSUN.
LAST GAME -- Corbin Moore scored a career-high 17 points to lead Pepperdine to a 73-67 home win over Hawai'i on Saturday (Dec. 3). The game was tied 31-31 at halftime but the Waves led throughout the second half and went up by as many as 12 with less than five minutes to go. Despite being outshot and outrebounded, the Waves made up for it with a season-low nine turnovers, a 15-5 edge in points off turnovers and a 27-for-35 showing from the free throw line. Taylor Darby scored a season-high 16 points, while Nikolas Skouen scored 12 and Joshua Lowery added 10.
SCORING -- Two of the top 20 scorers in Pepperdine history are gone (Mychel Thompson was a senior and Keion Bell was suspended and later transferred to Missouri). Another one that's on pace to reach the top 20 (Lorne Jackson) is potentially out for the season with a knee injury. They were the top three scorers on the team last season and each of them averaged double-figures. Without those three, the Waves that are back account for only a little more than a third of last year's scoring. Without Jackson, senior forward Taylor Darby had the highest scoring average last season among available returners at 7.7 points per game.
SCORING PART TWO -- With so many points lost, the big question has been where the points would come from for the Waves. The answer so far: at least a little bit from just about everyone on the court. Six different players have led Pepperdine in scoring, and each had at least a share of the team high in the season's first five games. Only one player is currently averaging in double-figures -- Taylor Darby at 12.0 ppg -- but six other players are averaging between 5.9 and 9.7 points. All 10 players that saw action in the win at Arizona State got on the scoreboard.
PLAYER NOTABLES -- Corbin Moore and Joshua Lowery had never led the team in scoring in a game prior to this season, but each has already done it three times ... Lowery is averaging 4.1 assists, and the last Wave to average more than four a game was Shaun Davis (4.2) in 2003-04 ... Moore is averaging 12.6 points over the last five games ... Moore is 26-for-36 from the free throw line, which already sets personal season bests ... Caleb Willis scored more points after four games (38) then he had in all of 2010-11 (37).
ASSISTS -- Ball movement and unselfish play are key aspects to Pepperdine's offense. One of Marty Wilson's favorite statistics is how many baskets came via an assist. So far, 67.4% of Pepperdine's field goals have had an assist attached to them, which would be a school record. Only four previous teams have reached at least 60 percent, with a best of 61.8% in 1982-83.
WCC STATS -- Individually in the conference, Taylor Darby is #14 (tied) in scoring (12.0), #10 in rebounding (6.6) and #1 in offensive rebounds (3.3). Corbin Moore is #4 in rebounding (8.4). Joshua Lowery is #4 in assists (4.1) and #4 in assist/turnover ratio (2.1). Caleb Willis is #2 in assist/turnover ratio (2.6), #3 in three-point percentage (.526) and #10 in assists (3.3). Nikolas Skouen is #4 in three-pointers made (2.3).
SEASON NOTABLES -- Pepperdine won its first two games of the season for the first time since 1999-2000 (the Waves made the NCAA Tournament that year) ... Only four head coaches have begun their full-time careers with 2-0 starts at Pepperdine: Wade Ruby (the program's first season in 1938-39), Robert Dowell (1948-49), Jan van Breda Kolff (1999-00) and now Marty Wilson ... The last time Pepperdine recorded two true road wins among the season's first five games was 2002-03 ... Pepperdine has equalled its most true road wins in a season (two) since 2007-08 ... At 4-3, Pepperdine is above .500 in December for the first time since 2004-05.
INJURIES -- The Waves aren't at full strength at the start of the season. Senior guard Lorne Jackson may redshirt the season after having surgery this past summer to repair a torn ACL. An All-WCC honorable mention selection last season, Jackson would have been the team's top returning scorer at 13.2 ppg. Moriba De Freitas has barely practiced at all due to a knee issue. Dane Suttle Jr. has been in and out of the gym with a chronic ankle injury and hasn't played since the Arizona State game on Nov. 15. Jan Maehlen fractured his right hand on Oct. 29 and missed a month of play before returning to action on Nov. 28 at UCLA.
PAC-10/12 -- Pepperdine's win at Arizona State was its first against one of the old Pac-10 teams since the Waves beat both UCLA and USC in the 2001-02 season. Pepperdine had lost 11 straight games against former Pac-10 teams. In recent years the Waves had beaten the two newest members of the Pac-12, Colorado (in 2003-04 and 2006-07) and Utah (in 2009-10). Though Pepperdine hasn't played Arizona State often, it was the Waves' first win over the Sun Devils since December 1957, ending a five-game losing streak. Though the Waves lost at UCLA, they'll have another chance against a Pac-12 school against Washington State later this season.
ROSTER -- Four starters and 10 letterwinners are back from last season, and they're joined by six newcomers (three freshmen, two transfers and a walk-on). It's the third straight year that Pepperdine has had returners numbering in double-digits. The breakdown is six seniors, three juniors, four sophomores and three freshmen.
RETURNERS -- With Lorne Jackson's numbers included, Pepperdine's returning players account for 53.4% of last year's scoring (1,222/2,289), 55.9% of the rebounding (583/1,043), 66.2% of the assists (270/408), 43.3% of the blocked shots (42/97), 62.7% of the steals (121/193) and 59.8% of the minutes played (3,977/6,650). Without Jackson, those figures drop to 34.4% of the scoring (787/2,289), 46.7% of the rebounding (487/1,043), 42.6% of the assists (174/408), 38.1% of the blocked shots (37/97), 35.8% of the steals (69/193) and 46.2% of the minutes played (3,075/6,650).
WILSON -- After 21 seasons as an assistant coach, including nine at Pepperdine, Marty Wilson was elevated to the position of head coach of the Waves following the 2010-11 season. He has compiled an impressive record in Malibu as a student-athlete (1985-89), an assistant coach (1991-96, which included a brief stint as the interim head coach) and as the associate head coach the past three seasons (2009-11). He was also an assistant at San Diego, UC Santa Barbara and Utah inbetween stints at Pepperdine. Wilson ended his playing career #5 all-time in assists at Pepperdine with 342. The team went to the NCAA Tournament twice and the NIT twice in his four seasons on the court. As a Pepperdine assistant, the team went to the NCAA Tournament three times and the NIT once. Follow Coach Wilson on Twitter at @MartyWilson4.
ASSISTANTS -- Marty Wilson's staff includes one holdover and two new assistants. Damin Lopez, a former Pepperdine standout who still ranks among the school's top three-point shooters ever, is in his fourth season as an assistant coach. New associate head coach Mark Amaral and Wilson were fellow assistants at UC Santa Barbara. Amaral was most recently the associate head coach at Cal Poly for two seasons. New assistant coach Bryant Moore worked with the Cleveland Cavaliers for five seasons in a variety of roles, including player development coordinator. Last year, he was a basketball operations assistant at Sacramento State.
2011-12 SCHEDULE -- Five schools that reached the 2011 postseason and three Pac-12 Conference foes highlight Pepperdine's non-conference schedule. Among the new-look Pac-12 opponents, Pepperdine plays at Arizona State (Nov. 15), against UCLA at the Sports Arena (Nov. 28) and vs. Washington State at KeyArena in Seattle in the Cougar Hardwood Classic (Dec. 22). The Bruins made the third round of the NCAA Tournament last season while the Cougars advanced to the semifinals of the NIT. A key home game takes place on Saturday, Dec. 3, when the Waves host Hawaii. The Rainbow Warriors made it to the second round of the CollegeInsider.com Tournament last season. The Waves play a return game on the road against 2011 NCAA Tournament team Texas-San Antonio on Nov. 26, and also visit Northern Arizona, which played in the CollegeInsider.com Tournament, on Dec. 7.
WCC -- The West Coast Conference got bigger and better when it added perennial NCAA Tournament participant Brigham Young to its roster of schools prior to 2011-12. A writer from CBS Sports named the WCC as the seventh-best basketball league in the nation during the preseason. The coaches' preseason poll went in the following order: Gonzaga, Saint Mary's, BYU, San Francisco, Santa Clara, Loyola Marymount, Portland, Pepperdine and San Diego.
RECRUITS -- Pepperdine landed two promising high school seniors during the early signing period. The Waves signed a player from Arizona for the fourth straight season in 6-foot-6 forward Stacy Davis of Laveen Betty Fairfax High. Davis averaged 22.9 points and 9.7 rebounds last season at Tolleson High and is a two-time Arizona Republic all-state 5A honorable mention selection. Pepperdine went to Texas to sign 6-foot-5 shooting guard Atif Russell of Katy Seven Lakes High. He made the All-District 19-5A first team as a junior and averaged 15.1 points.
LAST SEASON -- After three years of helping to rebuild the foundation of Pepperdine basketball, head coach Tom Asbury retired following the 2010-11 season. Although the Waves went 12-21 overall and placed sixth in the WCC with a record of 5-9, Pepperdine won its most games since 2005 and equaled its best conference win-loss mark in the last five seasons. Lorne Jackson and Mychel Thompson both earned All-WCC honorable mention honors.
PEPPERDINE BASKETBALL -- This is the 74th season of Pepperdine men's basketball, and the Waves began the campaign with an all-time record of 1,130-955 (.542). 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 33-season period from the 1978-79 season through the 2010-11 campaign, of the 32 schools that currently play Division I basketball in California, Oregon or Washington, the Waves began the 2011-12 season sixth overall in postseason appearances (16), seventh in winning percentage (.545) and eighth in wins (544) over the past 33 years.
WAVES IN THE PROS -- Sadly, a streak of 34 consecutive seasons with at least one Pepperdine alum on an NBA roster ended in 2010-11. The most recent NBAers, Yakhouba Diawara and Alex Acker, went back to 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). The Waves had two of last year's players taken in November's NBA D-League Draft (Mychel Thompson, 3rd round to Erie and Jonathan Dupré, 8th round to Maine).
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 enrollment and is the only school not associated with a BCS conference. 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 #55 overall on U.S. News and World Report's list of America's best colleges. The 2011-12 school year marks Pepperdine's 75th anniversary.