Pepperdine (9-18) at Santa Clara (8-19)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Thursday, February 23rd, 10:00 p.m. (et).
FACTS & STATS: Site: Leavey Center (4,700) -- Santa Clara, California. Television: CSN-CA. Home Record: Pepperdine 6-7, SCU 6-8. Away Record: Pepperdine 3-10, SCU 0-10. Neutral Record: Pepperdine 0-1, SCU 2-1. Conference Record: Pepperdine 3-12, SCU 0-14. Series Record: Santa Clara leads, 68-55.
GAME NOTES: With only two games remaining in the regular season, the Santa Clara Broncos again shoot for their first West Coast Conference win of the campaign as they host the Pepperdine Waves at the Leavey Center tonight.
Needless to say, at 0-14 the Broncos are all alone in last place in the WCC standings as they play their final home game of the season. Last Saturday, the team was thumped by BYU in an 82-67 final, which means SCU has now fallen in 15 straight games overall.
As for the Waves, they too have struggled in conference play so far this season, but not quite as much as SCU. Pepperdine, which closes out the regular season with tonight's matchup, managed to snap a five-game slide last Saturday with a 70-65 triumph over the University of Portland at home. With the victory the team moved to 3-12 in league play, which leaves the Waves eighth in the standings.
With respect to the all-time series between these two schools on the hardwood, the Broncos own a 68-55 edge, but it was the Waves who registered a 74-62 win in the first meeting of the season at home last month.
Trailing by a point at the break against Portland, the Waves responded by hitting on 14-of-17 at the free-throw line in the second half in order to claim the five-point home win last Saturday. Four starters scored in double figures for the hosts, led by Taylor Darby and JOrdan Baker with 17 points apiece, followed by Joshua Lowery and Corbin Moore with 14 and 10 points, respectively. Caleb Willis filled out his stat line with six points, nine boards and six assists. Points have been hard to come by for the Waves this season, the team scoring just 57.6 ppg against the rest of the league as they shoot just 40.0 percent from the floor and an awful 26.3 percent behind the three-point line. Baker and Darby are the two double-digit scorers in league play with 11.6 and 11.5 ppg, respectively, but because both players are shooting under 66.0 percent at the free-throw line it is east to see why the team overall is converting just 64.0 percent at the stripe.
In front of another sell-out crowd and on national television, Niyi Harrison and Brandon Clark both tallied 19 points for the Broncos last weekend at the Leavey Center, but the results were all too familiar as the squad suffered the 15-point loss to BYU. Raymond Cowels accounted for another 14 points, although his 1-of-4 effort behind the three-point line led the team to just 5-of-17 shooting on the perimeter. Evan Roquemore leads the active players in scoring with his 13.7 ppg and Harrison checks in with another 10.6 ppg, but clearly this group has struggled without Kevin Foster (17.8 ppg) who, even in limited time before being suspended, was the most productive three-point shooter for the program with 64 triples. Cowels (9.4 ppg) has tried to fill the void left by Foster by converting 41.5 percent of his three-point tries, but clearly this is not the same team.
Santa Clara was supposed to be so much better than this, but no one can fault the Broncos for hitting the skids after losing one key player to injury and another to his own bad behavior. But surely SCU can put together one last gasp for the hometown folks and perhaps finally get into the win column against a WCC foe.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Santa Clara 66, Pepperdine 62
02/23 10:35:20 ET
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