Saint Mary's-CA (17-7) at Pepperdine (14-10)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Saturday, February 8, 4 p.m. (ET)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Firestone Fieldhouse (3,104) -- Malibu, California. Television: ROOT-NW, RM, CSN-CA, TWC. Home Record: SMC 13-1, Pepperdine 8-3. Away Record: SMC 4-4, Pepperdine 5-5. Neutral Record: SMC 0-2, Pepperdine 1-2. Conference Record: SMC 7-4, Pepperdine 7-5. Series Record: Pepperdine leads, 68-61.
GAME NOTES: Two teams in the upper half of the West Coast Conference standings get together this afternoon at Firestone Fieldhouse, as the Pepperdine Waves host the Gaels of Saint Mary's.
The Gaels were in action two nights ago at Loyola Marymount and managed to capture a resounding 77-58 victory in order to snap a two-game slide. A perennial contender for the postseason coming out of the WCC, SMC is now 7-4 in league play and that has the program settled in at the fourth spot in the standings.
Just a step behind the Gaels is Pepperdine with a mark of 7-5, thanks in part to an 80-69 triumph over Pacific two nights ago. That was the exact same score that the Waves defeated Loyola by five days earlier at home, where the squad is now 8-3 on the season.
The Gaels won the first meeting of the season last month at home by a score of 80-74, as Brad Waldow led four starters in double figures with 21 points, adding a game-high 13 rebounds as well for the hosts. SMC survived despite shooting only 7-of-24 from the floor in the second half and 6-of-20 beyond the arc overall.
With the victory, the Gaels continued to close the gap in the all-time series to 68-61 in favor of the Waves.
Beau Levesque registered a double-double for the Gaels on Thursday night, posting 17 points and a game-high 14 rebounds, not to mention coming up with a team-best five assists as well in the victory against LMU at Gersten Pavilion. Stephen Holt matched Levesque in the scoring column, but it was Kerry Carter who ended up taking the scoring lead on both sides with 20 points on 4-of-7 shooting behind the 3-point line. Waldow accounted for 12 points in 35 minutes of action.
Putting up 16.9 ppg and pulling down 7.5 rpg, Waldow leads the Gaels in both of those categories heading into the weekend. The team leader in blocked shots (40) as well, Waldow is shooting an impressive 58.6 percent from the floor, but a not-so-encouraging 61.3 percent at the free-throw line. Holt (13.7 ppg) is not just the second-best scoring option for the Gaels on the season, he is also first in the passing department with 111 assists in 23 appearances.
Pacific scored the first points of the game against the Waves two nights ago, but it wasn't long before the hosts caught up and moved out to a 17-6 advantage, en route to the double-digit win in Malibu. Pepperdine, which led by as many as 18 points in the first half, leaned on reserve Stacy Davis who tallied 24 points and eight rebounds, followed by Brendan Lane with 18 points, eight boards and five blocked shots, while Malcolm Brooks tallied 11 points and Jeremy Major eight assists.
The two most dominant offensive players for the Waves these days are Davis and Lane with 15.0 and 13.9 ppg, respectively, having combined to take close to 500 of the program's 1,308 field goal chances through 24 outings. In addition to letting fly with a good chunk of the squad's shots, Davis and Lane are also the top rebounders for the group with 7.7 and 7.6 rpg, respectively, with only one other player coming up with more than three rebounds per game right now.
The Gaels have had some unexpected bumps in the road this season, but as long as the team is getting on the right track now, heading into the most important portion of the campaign, all should be well for SMC.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Saint Mary's-CA 79, Pepperdine 70
02/08 10:20:03 ET