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Men's Hoops Pounds Pacific in Second Meeting


STOCKTON, Calif. – A measure of the improvement that a young Pepperdine men’s basketball team has made in the first month of the season was evident in an 83-65 victory over Pacific on Saturday night at the Alex G. Spanos Center, as the Waves avenged an earlier loss to the Tigers.


In the first meeting on Nov. 12 in Eugene, Ore., the more experienced Tigers (6-3) led wire-to-wire in an 84-76 victory. Tonight, however, the Waves showed how much they had grown in the last month and returned the favor on UOP’s home court.


The Waves (5-6) trailed by two at halftime but blew the game open in the second half, getting to the basket at will for a variety of dunks and lay-ups. Pepperdine outscored Pacific 49-29 in the second half and led by as many as 21 points.


Freshman forward Malcolm Thomas (San Diego, Calif./Crawford HS) and freshman guard Tyrone Shelley (San Diego, Calif./Crawford HS) scored nearly half the Waves’ points (41 of 83). Thomas scored 21 points on 9 of 13 shooting, which included five dunks. Shelley added 20 points on 7 of 9 shooting.


“I’m very, very proud of the players,” Pepperdine Coach Vance Walberg said. “I’m really excited to get a big-time win like this on the road. We executed well on offense and defense. We rebounded well and that was important. We really needed a performance like this.”


The Waves played excellent basketball for the first 16 minutes of the first half, and a 6-0 run punctuated by a dunk by Thomas put Pepperdine ahead 32-21 with 4:10 to play. The Tigers ended the half on a 15-2 run, however, and went into the break with a 36-34 lead.


Thomas and Shelley scored 21 of the Waves’ 34 first-half points and were a combined 7-for-7 from the field.


It’s a shame the game wasn’t on television so that Pepperdine fans could catch one highlight-worthy shot by freshman guard Mychel Thompson (Ladera Ranch, Calif./Stoneridge Prep). With the shot clock running down, Thompson collected an air ball to the left side of the basket. With his back to the basket, he flipped the ball up over his shoulder and banked it in as the buzzer went off, tying the game at 42-42. That play may have ignited the Waves, who never trailed again. It also began a 7-0 run, which gave Pepperdine a 47-42 advantage with 14 ½ minutes to go.


Another 12-1 run helped the Waves to a 12-point lead at 59-47. Shelley finished the spurt with a brilliant spin move in the post, as he got to the basket for a lay-up and made the subsequent free throw with 8:01 to go.


Another 8-0 run, which included another three-point play by Shelley, gave the Waves a 69-50 with 5:38 to play. Pepperdine’s largest lead at any point this season coming into the game was 14 points (at Montana State).


The Waves led by as many as 21 points at 75-54 with 4:15 to play.


Thompson had 11 points and junior guard Rico Tucker (San Diego, Calif./University HS/Minnesota) had 10 points and a career-high seven assists.


Pacific’s Steffan Johnson scored 32 points in the first meeting but was held to 12 tonight.


Pepperdine shot 52.5% overall and Pacific shot 50.0%. The Waves had a 32-23 rebounding edge and a 27-14 edge on points off turnovers.


The Waves continue their 10-game road stretch with a contest at BYU on Saturday (Dec. 15) at 7 p.m. MT (6 p.m. PT). Fans can listen to Al Epstein’s call of the action at




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