Saint Mary’s Looks To Jump On Struggling Pepperdine


The Pepperdine Waves are having a breakout season, and they were doing a good job of keeping pace with BYU and Saint Mary’s to try and finish near the top of the standings. But they have struggled recently, and they are falling back to the pack quickly. They could really use a statement win on Saturday against Saint Mary’s to get back on track.

Unfortunately, the Gaels are one of the hottest teams in the WCC this year. At 9-1 in conference play, their only loss has come to #3 Gonzaga. And since that loss, they have bounced back by cruising to two wins. The Waves meanwhile lost two in a row before beating Pacific on Thursday. And it wasn’t a pretty win as the weaker Tigers forced the Waves into an ugly that was nearly a devastating upset loss.

The Gaels will be going for a season sweep of Pepperdine, and with a win the Gaels would likely not be worried about the Waves catching them. In their previous matchup on New Year’s Day, the Gaels built a double-digit halftime lead and then cruised through the second half. The Waves outscored the Gaels in the second period, but only by two points as the Gaels halftime lead held strong.

Five Gaels scored in double figures in that win, and they went 9-17 from three point range. But those numbers could be very different this time around. Since that early game in the conference play schedule, the Waves have become one of the best perimeter defenses in the nation. You cannot expect the same shooting numbers from the Gaels this time, so expect the matchups inside to decide this game.

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Brad Waldow versus Stacy Davis will be the one to watch as two of the best bigs in the WCC will go head-to-head. In the previous matchup, Waldow had a good night with 15 points and 8 rebounds, while Davis struggled putting up 10 points but just 2 rebounds. The Waves were dominated on the glass 32-19 in that loss, and those kind of numbers inside will lead to another loss for sure  if that happens again this time around.

Unfortunately for the Waves, the Gaels are playing really well right now especially inside. Waldow is putting up WCC Player of the Year quality numbers, and guys like Garrett Jackson have looked very good in support of him. The Waves have extended their depth inside with guys like A.J. Johns and Lamond Murray Jr. having emerged in support of Davis and Jett Raines, but it may not be enough.

Our prediction is that this game should go like many ones the Gaels have won recently. Should be a close game through halftime with Davis staying fairly quiet while Waldow dominates inside. While Davis will get hot in the second half, the Gaels will slowly pull away as the Waves are unable to catch up.

Saint Mary’s – 73

Pepperdine – 62