Pepperdine (9-5) at Santa Clara (8-7)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Thursday, January 2, 10 p.m. (ET)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Leavey Center (5,000) -- Santa Clara, California. Television: None. Home Record: Pepperdine 5-2, Santa Clara 5-2. Away Record: Pepperdine 3-1, Santa Clara 2-4. Neutral Record: Pepperdine 1-2, Santa Clara 1-1. Conference Record: Pepperdine 2-0, Santa Clara 1-1. Series Record: Santa Clara leads, 70-56.
GAME NOTES: The Pepperdine Waves venture to the Leavey Center on Thursday night, as they hope to stay perfect in West Coast Conference action with a bout against the Santa Clara Broncos.
The Waves finished a three-game homestand on Monday with an 80-74 victory over BYU. The win was the third straight and fourth in the last five games for Pepperdine, which is 9-5 overall and off to a 2-0 start in league play. This contest starts a four-game road swing for the Waves. They will play at San Francisco next.
A 76-68 win over Portland on Monday gave Santa Clara its first win in league action. The Broncos lost to No. 24 Gonzaga in their first try just two days earlier. Santa Clara is 8-7 overall, with five wins in seven chances at home. Next up for Santa Clara is a home date with Loyola Marymount.
Last season, Santa Clara swept a pair of games from Pepperdine, returning the favor after the Waves won both tilts during the 2011-12 campaign. The Broncos lead the all-time series by a count of 70-56.
Malcolm Brooks tallied a career-high 24 points, and Stacy Davis posted 12 points, 14 rebounds and four blocks to push Pepperdine past BYU. The Waves' effort from beyond the arc was the key to the victory as they outscored the Cougars, 39-3 from distance.
Even though they shot well from beyond the arc, the Waves were not as efficient as they usually are from the floor overall. They hit 44.8 percent from the field, down from their season average (.486), which ranks third in the WCC and is among the top-40 in the country. Davis (15.6 ppg, 7.7 rpg) and Brendan Lane (14.9 ppg, 7.9 rpg) patrol the interior for the Waves, and they clean the glass as well as they score the ball. Jeremy Major (11.6 ppg, 4.4 apg) is an efficient scorer and willing passer. Brooks (9.7 ppg) has been heating up of late with a combined 44 points in the last two games. He has also scored in double figures in three of the last five, after failing to do so in the first nine.
The Broncos got some stellar play from the backcourt in their win over Portland. Evan Roquemore, Jared Brownridge and Brandon Clark each scored 20 points and combined for 13 assists. The trio of guards also accounted for 11 of the team's 12 3-pointers.
Kerry Keating has been able to lean on his three starting guards much of this season, as Clark (16.5 ppg, 3.7 apg), Brownridge (14.9 ppg) and Roquemore are all averaging double digits. Jerry Brown (8.5 ppg, 6.5 rpg) is the Broncos' best option in the frontcourt, and the only other player on the roster netting more than five ppg. Having such a limited number of scoring threats has kept Santa Clara to a modest 72.9 ppg. The Broncos are also ranked last in the WCC in field goal percentage (.436). They are also a team that struggles mightily on the boards, ranking at the bottom of the WCC in rebounding (33.6 pg).
This matchup presents a major challenge for Santa Clara, which doesn't have the strength up front to contend with Davis and Lane. Expect Pepperdine to ride that advantage to another victory.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Pepperdine 74, Santa Clara 71
01/02 10:34:58 ET