It was a dream season for Pepperdine up until last week, and now their breakout season is in jeopardy after back-to-back losses to San Francisco and Santa Clara. They will try to get back on track when they visit the Pacific Tigers on Thursday. The Tigers have been showing improvement but are also coming off two straight losses including a blowout loss at Gonzaga in their last game.
Fortunately for the Waves, this matchup looks very positive for them. Pepperdine is a lockdown team defensively and has strong inside play from stars like Stacy Davis and Jett Raines. Those are in stark contrast to the poor shooting and lackluster interior offense of the Tigers. It might not be a blowout, but there’s no reason why the Waves shouldn’t be able to bear down and get a bounce-back win to return to form.
Pepperdine Waves (12-8, 5-4)
at Pacific Tigers (10-11, 2-7)
When: Thursday, January 28th at 7:00pm Pacific
Where: Alex G. Spanos Center, Pacific campus (Stockton, Calif.)
Stats: Stat Broadcast
Audio: Power Talk 1280 Stockton
Stacy Davis had a scored his 1,000th career point and had a game-high 21 points to lead four Waves in double figures as Pepperdine held onto a halftime lead for a 71-61 win over the Tigers in Malibu on January 3rd. After building a double-digit lead in the first half, the Waves and Tigers played to a close second half as Pacific couldn’t catch back up despite a pretty evenly balanced stat sheet.
Meet the Teams
The Waves are still a strong team despite their recent struggles. They have had good success thanks to the balanced team effort that has been evident on both sides of the court. They are an excellent perimeter defensive team, which forces teams to try and play inside with their strong frontcourt led by Stacy Davis.
Davis is backed up by Jett Raines, and breakout forward who was been key to the strong inside presence. They have been joined by the fast developing Lamond Murray Jr. and A.J. John. On the outside, Jeremy Major runs the offense and gets good support from Amadi Udenyi, Atif Russell, and Shawn Olden.
While their long range shooting isn’t elite, this is a very complete team that does a great job of forcing opponents to play into their type of game. It’s why they have been able to hang with every opponent. But as we saw last week, if you can shoot well and at least hold your own inside, the Waves still very beatable.
The Tigers continue to improve as they find more support around star T.J. Wallace. Dulani Robinson has developed into a legitimate second option, and they are finding a better inside presence with the improved play of guys like Sami Eleraky, Gabriel Aguirre, and Eric Thompson. They actually have a number of quality big men, even if none are consistently elite.
With the depth inside, the Tigers actually do a good job of holding their own in the paint. It was evident in their blowout loss to Gonzaga where they nearly matched the Bulldogs in rebounds. The issue is the offense. The Tigers have poor shooting, and their bigs are not very effective outside of rebounding.
They might be able to hang inside with the Waves, and the poor shooting of Pepperdine might keep it close, but the Tigers just don’t have enough offense most nights unless their opponent is really struggling. The Waves won’t play poorly enough for the Tigers to do much more than stay close for a while.
The Waves will deal with some issues with the Pacific big men. Davis may get off to another slow start, especially if he comes off the bench, and the Tigers could have this very close at halftime. But as both teams continue to miss shots in the second half, the interior offense of the Waves will allow the to slowly pull away. The Waves open up a slim halftime lead and win once again by double digits for the season sweep of the Tigers.
Pepperdine – 71
Pacific – 59