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WCC Men's Basketball Recaps

Feb. 24, 2008

Pepperdine - 72
Loyola Marymount - 63

LOS ANGELES - Freshman guard Tyrone Shelley was back in fine form and recorded his fourth double-double of the season to lead the Pepperdine men's basketball team to a 72-63 win at Loyola Marymount in West Coast Conference action at Gersten Pavilion on Saturday afternoon.

The Waves (10-18, 4-8 WCC) defeated the Lions (5-23, 2-10) for the 20th time in the last 22 meetings, and reached double-figures in the win column for the first time since 2004-05.

It was an interesting week for the Waves, as it was announced on Wednesday that their head coach next season will be the returning Tom Asbury. But Pepperdine put aside any distractions to earn its third victory in the last four games.

Shelley (San Diego, Calif./Crawford HS), Pepperdine's leading scorer for the season, had a total of just 12 points the past three games while battling the flu and minor injuries. He led all players with 17 points and 12 rebounds while also making three steals in 32 minutes of work.

Junior guards Rico Tucker (San Diego, Calif./University HS/Minnesota) and Ryan Holmes (Phoenix, Ariz./Millennium HS/Phoenix CC) each scored 15 points for the Waves. Freshman forward Malcolm Thomas (San Diego, Calif./Crawford HS) had seven points and 11 rebounds, his 11th time this season reaching double-digit boards.

"To have the new coach announced this week, and for all the adversity this team has faced, to go and win on the road like this is quite a tribute to its focus and its internal leadership, namely Mike Hornbuckle and Rico Tucker," said interim coach Eric Bridgeland, who won for the fourth time since taking over on Jan. 18. "Having a plus-11 difference on turnovers was the big difference in the game."

The Waves came out extremely strong, taking a 9-1 lead and not allowing LMU's first field goal until nearly 4 ½ minutes into the contest. Freshman guard Mychel Thompson (Ladera Ranch, Calif./Stoneridge Prep) hit two three-pointers in a quick 8-0 run, making it 20-5 with 13 ½ minutes left.

Shelley dunked off a teammate's miss, and Tucker found Thomas with a no-look pass for a dunk, giving the Waves a 32-15 lead with 5:53 to play.

The Waves took their biggest lead of the first half when Tucker broke through the lane on a fast break, laid it in and was fouled. He made the ensuing free throw to put the Waves up by 18 points at 39-21 with 1:56 before the break.

Pepperdine went into halftime with a 39-25 lead, only the sixth time this season the Waves have led at halftime (but the second time against LMU). The Waves forced 16 turnovers and had a 14-3 edge on points off turnovers.

The start of the second half was not so kind to the Waves, as they missed their first seven shots, didn't score until the 15-minute mark and saw their lead cut to 39-34.

LMU got the deficit down to two points at 43-41 and 46-44, but the Waves hit a couple of big shots each time and held onto the lead. Pepperdine got the lead back to double-digits after Shelley's offensive rebound, putback and free throw made it 63-53 with 4:23 to play.

After starting the game 5-for-15 from the free throw line, the Waves hit 13 straight in the final seven minutes to ice the victory.

Pepperdine ending up forcing 26 turnovers while committing just 15. The Waves won despite being outshot (37.9% to 33.8%) and outrebounded (50-42) but had advantages on total field goals made, three-pointers made and free throws made.

The Waves finish the regular season with games next week at San Diego (Saturday, March 1) and San Francisco (Monday, March 3) Fans can listen to Al Epstein's call of the action at www.pepperdinesports.com.

San Diego - 66
Santa Clara - 62

SANTA CLARA, Calif. (AP) - Rob Jones scored a game-high 24 points to lead San Diego to a 66-62 win over Santa Clara on Saturday night.

Brandon Johnson added 14 points and seven assists for San Diego (14-12, 9-2 West Coast), which is currently in third place in the conference having won seven of its last eight games.

Santa Clara center John Bryant scored 18 points and Mitch Heinke had 16 points and nine rebounds for the Broncos (13-13, 5-6), who have lost three of their last four games.

Santa Clara briefly took the lead on a 3-pointer by Mitch Henke with 6:44 to play. But the Broncos were held scoreless for over three minutes as the Toreros would take a five point lead with 3:32 remaining.

Bryant finally scored for the Broncos with 3:27 to go on a hook jumper, trimming the lead to 55-52. Bryant added a layup with 35.6 seconds remaining to give him 1,000 points for his career.

But Jones made two free throws to make it a six point San Diego lead with 34 seconds remaining.

After a Henke 3-pointer, the Toreros tried to waste time off the clock before Johnson was fouled and made two more from the line with 10.6 seconds left. Santa Clara ran a fast-break and Henke scored a layup with 3.3 left, down by three points.

Gyno Pomare was fouled on the inbounds pass, but made one free throw to seal the victory.

Kent State - 65
Saint Mary's - 57

MORAGA, Calif. (AP) -- Al Fisher scored 28 points and Kent State held No. 23 Saint Mary's without a basket for more than 6 minutes down the stretch to bolster its credentials for a possible at-large bid to the NCAA tournament with a 65-57 victory over the Gaels on Saturday night.

The Golden Flashes (23-5) have won six straight and are in first place in their division in the Mid-American Conference. But because the MAC hasn't received an at-large bid since 1999, Kent State needs to do everything it can before the conference tournament to create a safety net.

Beating a ranked team in the regular season for the first time in school history will surely help. Especially on the road in an ESPN BracketBuster game.

Fisher's clutch play down the stretch overshadowed a dominant performance by Diamon Simpson, who had 24 points and 15 rebounds for the Gaels (23-4). Saint Mary's had won six straight and was 14-0 at home this season.

Haminn Quaintance scored down low to give Kent State the lead for good at 56-55 with 3:29 to go. Fisher added a hanging drive and then scored on an acrobatic reverse to make it 60-55 with 51.4 seconds remaining. Mike Scott added a pair of free throws before Lucas Walker's layup with 26.8 seconds left cut the lead to 62-57.

That was Saint Mary's first basket since Tron Smith scored with 6:59 to go to make it 53-47. Simpson and Patty Mills both missed front ends of one-and-ones during the drought for the Gaels.

Quaintance added 11 points and Scott had 10 for Kent State.

Mills, the Gaels' leading scorer, was held to five points on 2-for-11 shooting as Saint Mary's struggled to find offense form anyone other than Simpson. Center Omar Samhan left the game with what appeared to be a right shoulder injury with 6:16 remaining in the first half and did not return.

Kent State got off to a fast shooting start, making 10 of its first 17 shots to open up a 22-15 lead. But the Golden Flashes then went more than 7 minutes without scoring, missing all seven shots, including a missed dunk attempt by Scott.

Simpson took over for Saint Mary's, scoring 10 straight points during the drought. Simpson's basket early in the second half capped the run and made it 34-26, but Kent State rallied.