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Washington State (2-0) at Pepperdine (0-2)
Friday, November 16, 10 p.m. (et)
The Sports Network
By Scott Haynes, College Basketball Senior Editor
FACTS & STATS: Site: Firestone Fieldhouse (3,104) -- Malibu, California. Television: None. Home Record: WSU 2-0, Pepperdine 0-0. Away Record: WSU 0-0, Pepperdine 0-2. Neutral Record: WSU 0-0, Pepperdine 0-0. Conference Record: WSU 0-0, Pepperdine 0-0. Series Record: Washington State leads, 3-2.
GAME NOTES: The Washington State Cougars take to the road for the first time this season, as they invade Malibu to tangle with the Pepperdine Waves at the Firestone Fieldhouse.
Ken Bone's fourth season in Pullman has gotten off to a fast start, as the Cougars have won a pair of home games, making light work of both Eastern Washington (88-69) and most recently, Utah Valley (72-49).
While Bone has found early-season success, Marty Wilson hasn't in Malibu, as his second season at the helm has begun with back-to-back losses. Pepperdine has opened the season with a pair of road games instate, falling at Cal State Northridge (81-75) in the opener, before a 79-62 setback at California on Tuesday. Pepperdine is 30-9 in home-openers at the Firestone Fieldhouse.
Washington State holds a 3-2 series advantage with Pepperdine. The Cougars earned a 67-56 last year in the Cougar Hardwood Classic in Seattle.
The Cougars absolutely destroyed Utah Valley last time out, led by Brock Motum's 15 points. Mike Ladd added 13 points in support, while Da'Vonte Lacy chipped in with 11 points and six assists. Washington State was able to connect on seven 3-pointers in the first half and took a commanding 45-22 lead into the break, before cruising to victory. Motum is one of the players in the Pac-12 and showed his dominance in the opener, finishing with a double-double with team-highs of 23 points and 10 rebounds. Lacy and Ladd were once again strong complementary players, adding 15 points apiece. Last season, Lacy and Ladd had smaller roles, but it looks they will be solid contributors around Motum in 2012-13.
Over the first two games, Pepperdine's biggest problem has been a lack of defensive tenacity. The Waves have allowed 80.0 ppg, as teams have gotten plenty of free looks from the perimeter (.438 from 3-point range). Although two games isn't a real gauge of how the team will perform, three of Pepperdine's five starters are averaging double figures. Jordan Baker leads the way at 14.0 ppg, but he is also guilty of a team-high 10 turnovers. Baker is the team's top returning scorer, after netting 9.0 ppg a year ago. Lorne Jackson has returned from a redshirt season in 2011-12 to post 13.0 ppg. He was an All-West Coast Conference honorable mention two years ago, averaging 13.2 ppg. Freshman Stacy Davis has made an immediate impact and rounds out the top scoring threats thus far at 11.0 ppg. Davis led the way in defeat against the Golden Bears, finishing with 13 points. Jackson chipped in 10 points, but Cal was able to score 21 second-chance points thanks to 16 offensive boards.
Despite Pepperdine's relative success at home of late, taking on a Pac-12 opponent, even one that isn't among the upper echelon, could prove to be a tough task indeed. Motum is a special player and should put up big numbers, leading the Cougars to their third win in as many games.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Washington State 75, Pepperdine 57
11/16 10:44:42 ET
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