Portland (7-9) at Pepperdine (8-6)|
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Saturday, January 5, 10 p.m. (et)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Firestone Fieldhouse (8,000) -- Malibu, California.
Television: None. Home Record: Portland 6-2, Pepperdine 4-2. Away Record:
Portland 0-6, Pepperdine 3-4. Neutral Record: Portland 1-1, Pepperdine 1-0.
Conference Record: Portland 0-1, Pepperdine 0-1. Series Record: Pepperdine
GAMES NOTES: With each team unable to secure a victory in their conference
opener the Portland Pilots and Pepperdine Waves will look to bounce back when
they face off in West Coast Conference play at Firestone Fieldhouse Saturday
The Pilots may have lost more than the league opener in the past week after a
61-50 defeat to San Diego. Starting guard Kevin Bailey suffered a broken nose
and has missed the last two games. He is listed as questionable for this
matchup. That's bad new for Portland which is winless in six road contests
this season and just 7-9 overall after losing for the third time in the last
four games. Portland will finish off its current three-game road trip next
Saturday against Loyola Marymount.
Pepperdine didn't lose a player but still lost the game when it hosted No. 10
Gonzaga on Thursday and wound up on the losing end of a 78-62 decision. The
loss dropped the Waves to 8-6 overall, including a 4-2 mark in games at
Firestone Fieldhouse. The loss was the third in five games for Pepperdine
which will take a step out to face BYU in its next time out.
The Waves have largely had the upper hand in this matchup with a 54-32 record
all-time against Portland. Last season the two teams split the season series,
although Portland has won seven of the last nine meetings.
Poor shooting from just about everywhere on the floor doomed Portland against
San Diego. The Pilots hit just 35.3 percent of their shots, including a paltry
2-of-15 effort from beyond the arc. Without Bailey the team managed just six
assists and turned the ball over 14 times.
Losing Bailey (11.9 ppg) who is the second leading scorer on the roster and
one of just two players scoring more than seven points per game is obviously
bad news for the Pilots. That is especially true considering how much they
have struggled to score, ranking ninth in the conference in both points per
game (62.3) and field goal percentage (.416). Portland has managed to keep
teams within striking distance by limiting opponents to 65.7 points per game
on 41.2 percent shooting. If Bailey continues to sit, the pressure to carry
the offense falls on the shoulders of forward Ryan Nicholas (13.5 ppg, 9.6
rpg) and center Thomas van der Mars (6.8 ppg). Nicholas has already exhibited
an ability to score well and van der Mars scored in double figures for the
first time in five games against San Diego.
Pepperdine couldn't use the excuse of a key missing piece against Gonzaga as
the Waves were just thoroughly outplayed by the nationally ranked Bulldogs.
Points from the free throw line were a major storyline as the Bulldogs
outscored the Waves 25-12 in the contest, while also besting them from beyond
the arc (21-6).
A trio of players are scoring in double figures for Pepperdine. The leader
among them is Lorne Jackson (14.9 ppg). The 6-foot-2 guard has scored in
double figures in every game this season but has not been as effective as he
might like from beyond the arc where he shoots just 31.3 percent. Stacy Davis
(11.1 ppg, 7.0 rpg) mans the interior and provides a consistent frontcourt
option, while Jordan Baker (10.1 ppg, 4.6 rpg, 3.4 apg) has struggled with his
shot, but contributes across the board. As a team the Waves are scoring just
64.8 points per game despite clocking in with the third best field goal
percentage (.456) in the WCC. On the defensive end the Waves are letting up
only 64.6 points per game, while stifling teams to just 39.6 percent shooting.
Without Bailey the Pilots' backcourt and overall offensive production is
severely limited. Pepperdine should be able to use that to its advantage at
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Pepperdine 70, Portland 62
01/05 10:31:30 ET