Pepperdine Shocks Saint Mary’s


It what might be the defining moment of their season, the Pepperdine Waves rose to the occasion going on the road and upsetting the Saint Mary’s Gaels 67-62 on Saturday. Trailing for much of the game, the Waves were able to avoid allowing the Gaels to pull away and eventually battled their way in front and held on for the victory.

After cruising through most of a breakout season, the Waves came into this game struggling as they tried to save their season from falling apart. After playing Gonzaga tight in a close loss in Spokane, the Waves had dropped two of their last four games and had played poor poorly even in the two wins. With their recent struggles, they desperately needed a win to keep pace with the Gaels who entered the game with their only WCC loss coming to Gonzaga.

Nov 19, 2014; San Jose, CA, USA; Pepperdine Waves forward Jett Raines (45) goes up for a layup against the San Jose State Spartans during the first half at San Jose State Event Center. Mandatory Credit: Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports

The Gaels came out strong taking advantage of a slow start by Stacy Davis and the Waves. Brad Waldow was dominant inside as the lead stretched to as much as 11 points. But thanks to some strong play inside by Lamond Murray Jr. and Jett Raines, the Waves rallied scoring the final 6 points of the first half cutting the SMC lead to 33-28 at halftime.

The Waves picked up right where they left off in the second half as they scored the first 5 points to tie the game. From there, the teams traded leads throughout the half as the lead never got larger than a couple baskets. The Waves pulled ahead for good on a David layup with 2:58 left. The Gaels went just 1-4 in the final minutes as the Waves held off all comeback attempts securing the 67-62 win.

Davis continues to be effective with second half surges as he finished with 10 points and 10 rebounds for a double-double. Jett Raines, Murray Jr., and Amadi Udenyi were the other three Waves in double figures. All three had 11 points. Udenyi appears to be healthy after missing a few games recently, and his presence has been key to the recent turnaround.

The Waves won the rebounding battle 31-27, no small feat against Waldow and the big frontcourt of the Waves. Waldow was his usual dominant self with a game-high 25 points and 6 rebounds. But he lacked his usual support from the rest of the talented roster. Emmett Naar was the only other player in double figures, and Waldow got little support inside. Both Garrett Jackson and Desmond Simmons had limited production. Jackson fouled out just before the final stretch, and the Gaels missed his presence inside as they tried to battle back.

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Also notable was the ability of the Waves to bear down on the perimeter. After allowing the Gaels to shoot 48.1% from field goal range and go 6-9 on their three pointers in the first half, the Waves were much improved with their perimeter defense in the second half. Aaron Bright went down with an injury late in the first half and was out the rest of the game, and it was clear that affected the backcourt play of the Gaels. They shot just 37.5% in the second half and 2-8 from three. Naar did an excellent job with his increased minuted replacing Bright, but Kerry Carter was really hurt by the adjustments and finished with just 2 points going 1-7 from field goal range and 0-4 from three.

With the win, the Waves improve to 14-8 overall and 7-4 in WCC play. They are tied with BYU for third place in the standings, but they currently possess a head-to-head tiebreaker thanks to their win in Provo. That will change this week one way or the other as the Waves host the Cougars on Thursday followed by another home game against the red hot San Diego Toreros on Saturday.

The Gaels fall to 17-5 overall and 9-2 in WCC play. Despite the loss, the Gaels are still in 2nd place in the standings and hold a 2 game lead over BYU and Pepperdine. They split their series with the Waves, and they currently have a win over BYU with a second game coming in Provo later this month. This week, the Gaels have just one game at home against Pacific.