Gonzaga Bulldogs (14-3, 4-1) at Pepperdine Waves (11-7, 4-2)
Date: Thursday, January 16th, 2014
Location: Firestone Fieldhouse, Malibu, Calif.
Time: 7:00 p.m. PST
TV: TWC Sports Net, Root Sports NW, KHQ (Spokane)
Last Season: Gonzaga won both matchups
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Gonzaga will be looking to rebound after a disappointing loss to Portland last Thursday. However, that task is easier said than done.
Pepperdine comes into Thursday’s game against GU with a 4-2 conference record, the schools best record facing the Bulldogs since the 2009-2010 season (The Waves were 3-0). Based on this alone, this matchup will be quite the clash, not to mention all of the talent and coaching that also goes into it.
Keys for the Game
Malcolm Brooks: Sharpshooter: Fans and followers of the Gonzaga men’s basketball team knows its infamous Achilles heel. That is perimeter defense.
For example, Wichita State shot 50.0 percent in an upset victory against the Bulldogs. Heck, Portland shot 57.1 percent from downtown against the Zags.
It is vital that Pepperdine ignites its 3-point shooting. Thankfully for the Waves, Malcolm Brooks is just the guy to do that.
Brooks is shooting 60.9 percent from 3 and 63.4 percent from the field. His true shooting percentage is .808. Long story short, Brooks is a phenomenal shooter and is crucial for the Waves success.
The Smash Bros.: Coleman and Nunez: Gonzaga head coach Mark Few has himself a pair of high risk high reward subs at his disposal this season. For every mistake that Gerard Coleman and Angel Nunez make, they do something equally as dynamic.
We have seen flashes of Few subbing these two players in at the same time, and it looked to give Gonzaga great energy. There is going to be a point in the game where the Bulldogs need a spark from their bench, and Nunez and Coleman are just the guys to do that.
On top of that, Coleman played with great hustle in the second half of the game, which certainly impressed Few, and Nunez had a few highlight reel type of plays. This will certainly stand well for the two players, who are lobbying for more playing time.
Matchup of the Game
Big Burly Karnowski versus the Quicker Lane
This is an in-game matchup that is poised to be one of the best of the conference season.
In one corner, there is Przemek Karnowski, who is big and knows how to use his size. He has a decent amount of post moves and is coming along as a shot blocker and defender.
In the other corner is the skinner, more built Brendan Lane, who uses a plethora of finesse moves down on the low block and is an established shot blocker.
Karnowski has approximately 60 pounds and 4 inches on Lane, but the Polish big man has had trouble with smaller, but quicker post players in the past. That is exactly what Lane is.
Lane will need to hold his ground and not let Karnowski impose his will in the post in order to exponentially help out his squad.
In the past 10 years, the Bulldogs are 12-4 coming off a conference loss. Gonzaga, who is angry coming off their loss to Portland, will be too much for Pepperdine when it is all said and done. However, do not be surprised if this game goes to the final buzzer. Gonzaga 85, Pepperdine 79.