WCC Tournament Quarterfinals Recap: Pepperdine Survives San Diego


The Pepperdine Waves had to come into their quarterfinal game of the WCC Tournament against the San Diego Toreros with some concerns. The Toreros were red hot and had handed the Waves their largest margin of defeat in their last meeting in Malibu. And for the first half of the game in Las Vegas, it was going exactly like the last one. Stacy Davis was getting little support, the Toreros we playing team ball, and the Waves were trailing in a low-scoring battle of stout defenses.

March 7, 2015; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Pepperdine Waves guard Shawn Olden (21) shoots the basketball against the San Diego Toreros during the first half in the quarterfinals of the West Coast Conference tournament at Orleans Arena. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

But faced with the idea of their once-promising season taking another blow, the Waves rallied in the second half and came out on the right side of a close finish for a 50-47 victory on Saturday. Freshman Shawn Olden put the Waves ahead for good with a three pointer with 3:08 left as they held off multiple comeback attempts by the Toreros. Johnny Dee and Vasa Pusica missed back-to-back point blank attempts in the final seconds, and Olden polished it off with a pair of free throws with 2.1 seconds left before a Dee half-court heave to tie the game fell short.

The Toreros led 24-18 at halftime as the Waves struggled being too reliant on Davis. He had 12 first half points while the rest of the team combined for just 6 points. San Diego meanwhile was getting a balanced effort with Dee leading the way but getting good support from Duda Sanadze and Pusica. Brandon Perry and Jito Kok were also doing an excellent job of slowing things down inside for the Waves as Jett Raines and company were doing little to help Davis.

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That all changed in the second half when the Waves came alive. Davis still led the way and finished as the only Pepperdine player in double figures, but the rest of the team contributed more consistently led by Jeremy Major and Olden. The duo each finished with only 7 points, but they were at key moments. The Waves used a 9-0 run to pull ahead for the first time in the game, and the teams stayed within one score of each other until Olden sealed things in the final minutes.

The Waves advance to the semifinals on Monday where they will face #2 BYU. The Cougars defeated the Santa Clara Broncos in the quarterfinals on Saturday. San Diego meanwhile will head home and await their postseason fate. They have a similar record as the one that got them a berth in the CIT Tournament last year, and they may accept any bid they get in order to give stars Dee and Anderson one more shot at glory before their storied careers end.