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The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Friday, November 29, 6 p.m. (ET)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Sullivan Arena (8,700) -- Anchorage, Alaska. Television: None. Home Record: Pepperdine 2-1, Denver 0-1. Away Record: Pepperdine 2-0, Denver 0-1. Neutral Record: Pepperdine 0-1, Denver 0-1. Conference Record: Pepperdine 0-0, Denver 0-0. Series Record: First-ever meeting.
GAME NOTES: The Great Alaska Shootout continues on Friday afternoon, as the Pepperdine Waves and the Denver Pioneers clash in the consolation round.
The other consolation-round matchup is between the hosts Alaska Anchorage and Indiana State. The winners will play in Saturday's fifth-place game, while the losers square off in the seventh-place bout.
Pepperdine's season was going very well prior to its trip north for this event, as it claimed four of its first five matchups. The Waves' hot streak came to an end in the opening round, however, as they dropped a shootout with Green Bay, 97-89.
Denver, on the other hand, hasn't had much to enjoy on the young season. The Pioneers have played just three games through the campaign's first three weeks, all losses, including a 68-60 setback against Harvard in Thursday's opening round.
This tilt marks the first-ever meeting on the hardwood between the Waves and the Pioneers.
Despite holding a lead early in the second half of its opening-round contest, Pepperdine lost control after Green Bay ripped off a 16-2 run. It was a strong field goal shooting performance, as it made greater than 55 percent of its attempts from the floor, but it was dominated in the turnover battle (20-4) and was outscored at the foul line (25-4). Brendan Lane was brilliant despite the setback, as he logged 26 points, 13 rebounds and three blocks all while shooting 12-of-14 from the field. Jeremy Major also had a double-double with 19 points and 12 assists, while Malte Kramer (12 points) and David Jesperson (eight points, 12 rebounds) were solid as well.
Scoring points hasn't been a problem for the Waves this season, as they shoot a lofty 49.8 percent from the field for 77.0 points per game, 4.0 points more than they allow. They also have a strong rebounding margin (+5.8), but their turnover problem (-5.2) keeps their opposition alive in every contest. Stacy Davis (17.5 ppg, 6.8 rpg) and Lane (16.2 ppg, 10.8 rpg) are both off to hot starts at greater than 55 percent field goal shooting each. Major (10.3 ppg) has handed out a team-high 35 assists.
Despite losing by just eight points, Denver was never really in its opening round matchup with Harvard, as it held only one lead early in the first half. It shot a modest 42.6 percent from the floor, but just 4-of-18 from beyond the arc. It was also dominated on the glass, 38-23. Brett Olson was one of the few bright spits with 16 points and four assists, while Jalen Love added 12 points.
Unlike Pepperdine, the Pioneers have been ice-cold from the field in the early going this season, as they shoot less than 40 percent for just 55.7 points per game, and with their negative scoring margin (-14.7) has also come red numbers in rebounding (-13.0) and turnovers (-4.3). Chris Udofia has overcome the struggles of most of his teammates by shooting 64.7 percent from the field for 11.3 points per game while also adding 4.7 rebounds, 3.0 assists and 4.3 bpg to a well-rounded effort. Cam Griffin (10.3 ppg) and Olson (9.3 ppg, 3.7 apg) have also been effective.
Denver, coming off a 22-win campaign in 2012-13, has been a big disappointment so far, and while better days are likely ahead for the Pioneers, they cannot be trusted for the time being, especially against a hot-shooting Pepperdine club.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Pepperdine 78, Denver 74
11/29 10:50:30 ET
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