Pepperdine Looks to Stay Hot vs. San Diego


Fresh off one of the biggest WCC upsets of the year, the Pepperdine Waves looks to keep up the momentum as they visit the San Diego Toreros on Saturday. Both teams are coming off a win, but both are trending in very different directions after they were picked as some of the top teams for a potential breakout season.

Playing in one of the toughest road venues in the WCC and the nation, the Waves got a signature win on Thursday shocking the BYU Cougars 67-61 in Provo. The normally high-powered offense of the Cougars was held in check, and the Waves got a huge win that instantly makes them a favorite to be this year’s breakout team.

Dec 13, 2014; Tempe, AZ, USA; Pepperdine Waves forward Stacy Davis (5) drives to the basket against the Arizona State Sun Devils during the second half at Wells-Fargo Arena. Sun Devils defeated the Waves 81-74 Mandatory Credit: Allan Henry-USA TODAY Sports

Stacy Davis continues to be one of the best forwards in the conference, and he was the best frontcourt player on the court in the win over the Cougars. He is backed up by the consistently strong efforts of Jett Raines and Jeremy Major. And lately the Waves have been very potent thanks to ample support from Amadi Udenyi, Shawn Olden, and Atif Russell. The Waves are an extremely talented and complete team, and it was on full display in their last win.

The Toreros have not had the same success early on, but they are still in the hunt and coming off a win over Loyola Marymount. Johnny Dee continues to be their anchor and recently became the school’s all-time leading scorer. Chris Anderson backs him up with decent scoring ability as well as by being one of the best assists men in the conference. Thomas Jacobs and the defensive-minded Jito Kok anchor the frontcourt.

Unfortunately for San Diego, they have serious depth issues that have not been a problem for the Waves. Behind their core players, the Toreros get very little support. This is especially an issue on nights where their stars struggle, and this does happen quite often that key players can disappear in some games. This is combined with their issues in the post where both Jacobs, Kok, and fellow big man Brandon Perry often struggle against bigger and more physical competition.

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The Toreros can win the battle of the backcourt with Dee and Anderson outplaying Major and his cohorts, but the frontcourt advantage should go to the Waves. Davis and Raines should be dominant, and the Waves should win most of the major stat categories in the paint including rebounds. If the Waves come out with hot shooting like they did against the Cougars, the Toreros have no chance. But even if it stays close, the Waves proved on Thursday they can grind out a win.

San Diego has the potential to hang with the Waves who still have a long way to go to prove they can run with the contenders consistently, but a motivated Pepperdine that plays up to their potential should roll to their third straight win as long as everything goes right. They won’t want a letdown coming off such a huge win that propelled them into the title race.