Pepperdine vs. Fresno State Preview


Pepperdine opens their season tonight as they host Fresno State. The Bulldogs are a good team and it’s a tough matchup right out of the gate. We should learn a lot about the potential of the young Waves in this game. If they dominante it’s a great sign, if they struggle against a decent but average team it’s an early concern.

Pepperdine Waves vs. Fresno State Bulldogs

Date: Friday, November 14, 2014

Location: Firestone Fieldhouse, Mailbu, CA

Time: 7 pm Pacific


Live Stats:

Series History: Series is tied 14-14. Fresno State won the last meeting in December 2010.



Lots of people, including us here at West Coast Convo, think the Waves are maybe the most talented young team in the West Coast Conference. They have two of the best underclassmen in the conference in Stacy Davis and Jeremy Major, and that core could carry them a long way. How things fill in around them could be the key t0 the Waves’ success.

Four players carried the team last year and while they get Major and Davis back, the other two are gone. Brendan Lane was the WCC Defensive Player of the Year, and Malcom Brooks was developing into a great young scoring guard. Replacing them at least to the point of having quality players to help Davis and Major will be key. And the good news is that the Waves have plenty of candidates.

Amadi Udenyi was a part-time starter who put up solid numbers and should step into the role vacated by Brooks. Jett Raines was another decent reserve who should get time at forward replacing Lane, but long-term I really like freshman A.J. John. He’s built like a typical forward, and he could be the next great young player on the Waves. Lamond Murray Jr. was another solid reserve last year who should see a lot of time in the rotation.

The key early on will be sorting out the new look of the roster. With 10 of their 12 players getting over 100 minutes last year, Marty Wilson likes to spread the ball around. That will be even more important this year as they sort out who will fill in behind Davis and Major. It’s a big deal with their young talent, because if they do it right they can be a force this year, much sooner than some are anticipating.

Fresno State

Fresno State was a very good mid-tier team last year. They went 21-18 over all including a very respectable 9-9 in a brutal Mountain West Conference. They reached the postseason and made it all the way to the three-game championship series of the CBI Tournament falling in the decisive third game to Siena.

The bad news for the Waves is that they are back with a lot of returning starters. Of their four double digit scorers last year, three of the four are returning including Mountain West Freshman of the Year Paul Watson. All three returning players are primarily guards, bad news for the Waves who are stronger inside with guys like Davis, John, and Raines.



Stacy Davis and to a lesser extent Jeremy Major will carry this team. But without very reliable running mates Brendan Lane and Malcom Brooks, they will have a lot of added pressure on them. Every other guy coming into the rotation needs to step up and try to help Davis and Major so they reach their full potential. That doesn’t mean sit back and let them do everything, it means carry your weight and realize that you need to hit the ground running so everyone can do well.

New rotation players and freshmen will need to hit the court hard and fast for the Waves to get off to a good start against a decent Fresno State team. Needing to figure things out will be key to whether this is a good opening win or a loss they have to chalk up to being early season rust.


Only 2-3 guys are locked in as full-time starters right now. Nobody played much last year beyond the core four to claim they have a lock on a starting job. Between that and good entering freshmen, the Waves need to find their top 5-7 guys pretty quickly. It’s fine to rotate around on the back end, and the Waves did it a lot last year. But finding their core players will be key early on.

You can take a few games to do it, but the faster those guys emerge the better. It makes this a tough game to win because there will be a lot of new faces and new lineups to test out, so they shouldn’t be afraid to experiment and figure that out now. Even if it means taking a loss. Better now than to lose key games later because guys still haven’t figured out their role.


Fresno State is going to rely heavily on their elite guard play, something the Waves will have trouble matching. But Stacy Davis should be the be best big man on the court by far. Most of the Fresno State bigs are inexperienced, and their one senior doesn’t have huge numbers. Davis can have a dominant first game, and he could help cancel out any struggles the Waves might have in the backcourt.

Davis needs to have every opportunity to have a big game, and him having near double-double numbers would go a long way to keeping the Waves in this game.


This is going to be a fun game, two young and talented teams with big potential this season going head-to-head. Unfortunately for the Waves, the Bulldogs come in with a more intact core from last season and some of the best young players in the Mountain West. That is likely going to trump the core of Davis and Major.

Also, the Waves may have some bad stretches as they try to sort out their new lineup. Against a team with a lot of returners and good chemistry right away, that won’t allow the Waves to stay in this one. The Bulldogs pull away in the second half. Fresno State 76, Pepperdine 64.