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NCAA Tournament Teams

1944
The NAIB Tournament (the precursor to the NAIA), which the Waves had taken part in in both 1942 and 1943, was cancelled in 1944 due to World War II. But after an excellent regular season that consisted largely of service and AAU opponents, the West Coast NCAA Committee chose Pepperdine to represent the eighth district at the national tournament. The Waves had played the strongest schedule among the region's teams and were known as the "Giant Killers." At the time, it was just an eight-team event, and so the Waves would travel to Kansas City for the Western Regional with Iowa State, Missouri and Utah. Unfortunately, Pepperdine lost its regional semifinal to Iowa State, 44-39, and also fell in the consolation game to Missouri, 61-46. All-American Nick Buzolich, a 6-foot-7 sophomore center, scored 22 of Pepperdine's 39 points against the Cyclones, then posted half (23) of the Waves' 46 points against Missouri. Buzolich averaged 12.8 points per game. He would end up amassing 1,464 points for his career, a school record that stood for nearly 30 years. It would turn out to be the third of five straight postseason appearances by the Waves, who were coached by Alva "Al" O. Duer. He would later become the executive secretary of the NAIA and a inductee into the Basketball Hall of Fame. Pepperdine finished with a 20-14 record.


Nick Buzolich

1962
Seven years after joining the West Coast Athletic Conference, Pepperdine won its first league title with an 11-1 mark and the ensuing spot in the 25-team NCAA Tournament. The Waves received a first-round bye in the West Regional, held in Provo, Utah, and would end up facing Oregon State in the regional semifinal. The Beavers would eke out a two-point victory, 69-67, despite a game-high 23 points from All-American Bob Warlick. In the consolation game, Pepperdine earned its first NCAA Tournament victory with a four-point win, 75-71, over Utah State. Tim Tift scored 22 points and Lee Tinsley added 19. Robert "Duck" Dowell, the all-time winningest coach in school history, had taken the Waves to three NAIB Tournaments early in his career but this would be his only NCAA Tournament appearance. He was named the conference's coach of the year in 1962. Warlick led the senior-laden team with a 17.3 scoring average. Harry Dinnel was the WCAC's co-Most Valuable Player.


Harry Dinnel

1976
Pepperdine made its first NCAA Tournament appearance under Gary Colson in 1976, and the first since the campus moved from South-Central Los Angeles to Malibu. The Waves went 22-6 overall and won the WCC with a 10-2 mark. In one memorable contest, a record 4,500 fans packed Firestone Fieldhouse to witness Pepperdine upset #3 UNLV, 93-91. In the postseason, Pepperdine was given a first-round rematch against Memphis State in Tucson, Ariz. Although the Tigers had won at home earlier in the season, the Waves prevailed 87-77 behind Marcos Leite's 34 points. That put Pepperdine into a regional semifinal at Pauley Pavilion against UCLA, and the Bruins came away with a 70-61 victory. It was a one-point game midway through the second half and through the Waves stayed close, they were unable to pull ahead. Leite and Dennis Johnson scored 16 points apiece. Leite was both an All-American and the WCC's Player of the Year, and he, Johnson and Ollie Matson made the All-WCC first team. Leite averaged a double-double for the season with 18.7 points and 10.0 rebounds. Johnson, in his only season at Pepperdine before turning pro, averaged 15.7 points.


Dennis Johnson

1979
Gary Colson's final season as head coach at Pepperdine resulted in another NCAA Tournament appearance for the school. Pepperdine went 22-10 and took second place in the WCC with a 10-2 record. Once again, the Waves were sent to Pauley Pavilion for West Regional play. Seeded ninth, the Waves took eighth-seeded Utah to overtime before eventually posting a 92-88 victory. At the end of regulation and trailing by two, Ollie Matson threw a length-of-the-court pass that was caught by Ted Scott, and Scott scored from three feet to send the game into overtime. Ricardo Brown scored 26 points to lead the Waves. Pepperdine ran into top-seeded UCLA in the second round, however, and was edged 76-71. Brown scored 27 points to help keep things close. Brown, who led the team in scoring (19.5) and assists (5.7), made the All-WCC first team, while Matson (15.6 ppg, 8.9 rpg) was on the second team.


Ricardo Brown

1982
Jim Harrick took Pepperdine back to the NCAA Tournament in just his third season as head coach. It would be the first of four appearances in the next five years under Harrick. Pepperdine was unbeaten in the WCC at 14-0 and was sent to Pullman, Wash., as the West Region's #7 seed. The Waves shot 60 percent from the field in dispatching #10-seed Pittsburgh in the first round, 99-88. Orlando Phillips scored 27 points and Boot Bond added 24. The Waves' run ended in the second round against Pac-10 champion Oregon State, seeded #2 and ranked #4 in the nation. The Beavers slowed down the tempo and pulled away for a 70-51 win. Phillips scored 16 points and Dane Suttle had 10. Pepperdine finished with a 22-7 overall record. Bond, who averaged a team-high 18.3 ppg and was in double-figures in every game but the finale, earned All-American honors and was one of three on the All-WCC first team along with Phillips (15.7 ppg, 8.7 rpg) and Suttle (16.8 ppg).


Boot Bond

1983
Pepperdine earned back-to-back NCAA Tournament appearances for the first time in school history in 1983. Jim Harrick's Waves won the WCC again with a 10-2 record and went 20-9 overall. Pepperdine was sent to Corvallis, Ore., as the #11 seed in the West, and would face North Carolina State, the #6 seed, in the first round. The game was a classic, as the Wolfpack pulled out a 69-67 double-overtime victory. Pepperdine had its chances to put a stop right at the beginning to one of college basketball's great Cinderella stories, as Jim Valvano's squad would go on to one of the most unlikeliest NCAA title runs ever. Missed free throws cost the Waves, who might have had chances to wrap up the game a couple of times in regulation and overtime. They shot 13-for-28 (.464) from the stripe for the game. Bill Sadler scored 19 points and Dane Suttle had 16. Suttle and Orlando Phillips were the WCC's co-Players of the Year. Suttle averaged 23.4 ppg, the third-best mark in program history. Phillips led the conference in rebounds (9.6) and blocks (1.7).


Dane Suttle

1985
After a one-year absence, Pepperdine was back into the NCAA Tournament thanks to another first-place finish in the WCC. The Waves went 23-9 overall and 11-1 in league play. The reward was the #14 seed in the Midwest Regional and a trip to Houston, Texas, to face third-seeded Duke, and the result was a 75-62 loss. After a rough start that saw the Blue Devils take a 10-2 lead, Pepperdine settled down. The Waves trailed by just two a little more than four minutes into the second half, but Duke pulled away from there. The Waves' Eric White scored a game-high 26 points. Dwayne Polee was the WCC's Player of the Year, and White and Anthony Frederick also made the first team. Levy Middlebrooks was the WCC Freshman of the Year. White (15.9) and Polee (15.7) were two of five players that averaged double-figure scoring for the season, along with Jon Korfas (12.2), Anthony Frederick (11.8) and Middlebrooks (10.3). Jim Harrick was the WCC Coach of the Year.


Dwayne Polee

1986
Jim Harrick's Waves advanced to the NCAA Tournament for the fourth time in five years, the best stretch in program history. The Waves went 25-5, good for a school-record winning percentage of .833, and won the WCC with a 13-1 mark. Pepperdine didn't have to go far for the NCAA Tournament, as the #12-seeded Waves were sent to Long Beach to meet fifth-seeded Maryland. The two schools were tied 31-31 at halftime but the Terrapins eked out a five-point win, 69-64. Eric White and Grant Gondrezick scored 17 points apiece for the Waves. Ill-fated Maryland legend Len Bias, playing in one of his final games, led the Terps with 26 points. Dwayne Polee earned All-American honors for Pepperdine and was the WCC Player of the Year after averaging a team-high 15.7 points. White also made the All-WCC first team after posting 15.3 points per game. Gondrezick was also in double-figures with 13.3 points a game. Harrick was named the WCC's co-Coach of the Year.


Eric White

1991
Tom Asbury returned the Waves to the NCAA Tournament in his third season as head coach. His squad went 22-9 overall, won the WCC regular-season title with a 13-1 record and captured the program's first WCC Tournament championship. The top-seeded Waves knocked off Portland and San Francisco before edging Saint Mary's, 71-68 in overtime, in the final. Geoff Lear was the Tournament MVP, which included a 32-point, 14-rebound performance against the Gaels. The Waves were only awarded the #14 seed in the West Region, and had to take on third-seeded Seton Hall in Salt Lake City. The Pirates rolled to a 71-51 win behind future NBA standout Terry Dehere's 26 points, while Lear scored 14. The Waves were without All-American Doug Christie, who missed much of the postseason with a knee injury. Christie averaged 19.1 points, 5.2 rebounds and 4.8 assists and was the WCC Player of the Year. Lear also made the All-WCC first team after averaging 18.5 points and 9.8 rebounds. Jones was the WCC's Freshman of the Year after averaging 10.0 points and 8.2 rebounds. Asbury won his first WCC Coach of the Year award.


Geoff Lear

1992
The Waves went unbeaten in the WCC for only the second time in school history at 14-0 and won their second straight WCC Tournament title to advance again to the NCAA Tournament. Pepperdine, which posted a 24-7 overall record, whipped Portland in the first round but had close calls against San Francisco (67-65) and Gonzaga (73-70). A healthy Doug Christie was named Tournament MVP, which included 26 points in the final against the Bulldogs. The Waves were sent to Milwaukee, Wis., and the Midwest Regional. As the #11 seed, they faced sixth-seeded Memphis and were beaten 80-70. Christie ended his fabulous career with a game-high 23 points, and Dana Jones added 13. Memphis and future NBA star Anfernee "Penny" Hardaway scored 21 points to lead the Tigers. Christie, who repeated as an All-American and the WCC Player of the Year, averaged 19.5 points, 5.9 rebounds and 4.8 assists. Jones (11.4 ppg) and Geoff Lear (16.7 ppg) also made the All-WCC first team. Tom Asbury was the WCC Coach of the Year again.


Doug Christie

1994
After tying for second place during the WCC's regular season, the Waves needed to win the WCC Tournament and did just that, taking home the title for the third time under Tom Asbury. Pepperdine went 19-11 overall and 8-6 in the WCC. The Waves walloped Saint Mary's before posting three-point wins over San Francisco (82-79) and San Diego (56-53). Dana Jones was awarded Tournament MVP after averaging 22 points at the event. That set up one of the most memorable tournament games in program history, as Pepperdine was sent to Wichita, Kan., and the Midwest Regional as the #14 seed to meet third-seeded Michigan. Four of the Wolverine's "Fab Five" were still around as juniors and the Waves gave them all they could handle before falling 78-74 in overtime. Pepperdine trailed by 11 in the second half before roaring back and grabbing a two-point lead in the final minute. The Waves had the final shot of regulation but couldn't convert. The Wolverines, led by Juwan Howard's 28 points, scored all 10 of their points in overtime on free throws. Damin Lopez scored 21 points to lead Pepperdine. Jones (18.4 ppg, 9.7 rpg) and Lopez (14.7 ppg, 3.8 apg) were All-WCC first teamers.


Dana Jones

2000
After a five-year absence from the tournament, Jan van Breda Kolff took the Waves to the next level in his first season as head coach. Building on a turnaround started by Lorenzo Romar, the Waves went 25-9 overall and won the WCC's regular season with a 12-2 record. It was good enough to claim an at-large bid when Pepperdine lost in the WCC Tournament final to Gonzaga, 69-65 in overtime. The Waves were put in the East Regional for the first time in program history and had to travel cross-country to Buffalo, N.Y, as the #11 seed. The first-round matchup was extremely memorable, as the Waves pounded sixth-seeded Indiana, 77-57. It would turn out to be Bobby Knight's last game coaching the Hoosiers. It was also Pepperdine's first NCAA Tournament victory since 1982. Brandon Armstrong scored 22 points to lead Pepperdine and Nick Sheppard added 17. In the second round, Pepperdine lost to third-seeded Oklahoma State, 75-67. Armstrong had 19 points and Tezale Archie dished out 14 assists. All five starters earned All-WCC honors, including Archie (9.6 ppg, 6.1 apg), Armstrong (14.4 ppg) and Kelvin Gibbs (9.0 ppg, 7.0 rpg) on the first team.


Brandon Armstrong

2002
After Jan van Breda Kolff's brief stay, Paul Westphal inherited a very strong Waves team that went to the NCAA Tournament in his first season. Pepperdine posted a 22-9 record, shared the WCC regular-season title with Gonzaga and lost to the Bulldogs in the WCC final. Thanks to a strong non-conference schedule that included wins over UCLA and USC, that was enough to get Pepperdine into the tournament as the #10 seed in the Midwest Region. The Waves went north to Sacramento, Calif., to face seventh-seeded Wake Forest in the first round, and the Demon Deacons pulled away for an 83-74 win. Four Waves scored in double-figures: Devin Montgomery with 18, Boomer Brazzle with 15, Glen McGowan with 12 and Jimmy Miggins with 11. Brazzle (11.2 ppg) and Miggins (14.9 ppg) were All-WCC first team performers. Terrance Johnson (12.8 ppg) was the WCC Freshman of the Year and All-WCC honorable mention. McGowan (9.8 ppg) and Montgomery (11.7 ppg) were also named honorable mention. Cedric Suitt (3.2 ppg, 5.0 rpg, 3.1 bpg) was the WCC Defensive Player of the Year.


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