San Jose State (0-4) at Pepperdine (3-0)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Wednesday, November 20, 10 p.m. (et)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Firestone Fieldhouse (3,104) -- Malibu, California. Television: None. Home Record: SJSU 0-0, Pepperdine 1-0. Away Record: SJSU 0-2, Pepperdine 2-0. Neutral Record: SJSU 0-2, Pepperdine 0-0. Conference Record: SJSU 0-0, Pepperdine 0-0. Series Record: San Jose State leads, 24-20.
GAME NOTES: A pair of California-based teams moving in opposite directions get together at Firestone Fieldhouse tonight, as the San Jose State Spartans battle the Pepperdine Waves in non-conference action.
The Spartans have come out of the gate with four straight defeats, the latest setback being a 79-66 loss to James Madison on Sunday as part of the NIU Invitational. Add to that slide the team's awful end to the 2012-13 campaign, and San Jose State has now fallen in 18 consecutive games.
The last win for the Spartans was a 71-64 decision against New Orleans on Jan. 8, 2013.
As for the Waves, they are off to a 3-0 start for the first time since the 1998-99 campaign when they ran out to a 5-0 record. In addition to victories over San Diego Christian (81-68) and UC Riverside (69-66), Pepperdine also took down Central Michigan last Saturday, 88-71, to remain undefeated.
The Spartans lead the all-time series by a 24-20 count, although Pepperdine has won two in a row over SJSU. The latest victory was a 62-60 final in December of 2000.
The Spartans dug themselves a hole in the first half against JMU over the weekend, hitting just seven field goals in the first half of what would become a 13-point loss at the Convocation Center. What's worse is the fact that not a single starter scored in double figures, with backup Rashad Muhammad leading the way with 18 points on a mere 5-of-16 shooting from the floor, including 2- of-10 behind the 3-point line. Dylan Alexander pitched in with 12 points in a reserve role as the team shot just 33.9 percent from the field.
Despite coming off the bench in every game thus far, Muhammad is still the leading scorer overall for the Spartans with his 15.3 ppg, followed by Jaleel Williams with 13.0 ppg. In the case of the former, he is shooting just 36.0 percent from the field and 8-of-30 (.267) beyond the arc, so his points do come at a cost. As a group, the Spartans are hitting only 37.8 percent of their field goal chances.
Pepperdine may have trailed by three at the break against Central Michigan in the latest outing, but the Waves came out of intermission on fire, converting a staggering 72.0 percent from the field, including 7-of-12 behind the 3-point line, in order to run away with the 17-point road win. Stacy Davis led the way in scoring with a game-high 24 points, adding seven rebounds, but it was Brendan Lane who was even more of an enforcer in all facets of the game as he posted 15 points, 10 rebounds, four assists and five blocked shots, not to mention a couple of steals for good measure.
Davis has been unstoppable in the early going for the Waves, generating 23.7 ppg. What stands out even more than his point production is the fact that he is shooting better from the floor (.706) than he is at the free-throw line (.704), which is by no means an easy feat. Lane checks in with a double- double, averaging 12.3 points and 11.0 rebounds per outing, accounting for 4.0 blocks shots per game as well for a group that has eight blocks per contest, compared to under three per game for the competition.
With Davis and Lane ripping it up in the early going for Pepperdine, there's no reason to think the team can't take care of business at home against an inferior opponent.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Pepperdine 81, San Jose State 66
11/20 10:34:14 ET