Spokane, WA (Sports Network) - Sporting their highest ranking since December
of 2008, the sixth-ranked Gonzaga Bulldogs continue their run through the rest
of the West Coast Conference as they entertain the Pepperdine Waves at the
McCarthy Athletic Center on Thursday night.
Pepperdine comes in two games under .500 overall (10-12) and five games below
that mark in conference play (2-7). The Waves have lost three straight and six
of their last seven games, the most recent of which being an 86-78 home
verdict versus San Francisco last Saturday. Pepperdine is a very young team,
as eight of the 11 players expected to dress for this game are either freshmen
or sophomores. Beginning with this contest, the Waves will play five of their
final seven regular-season games on the road where they are 4-6 this season.
Gonzaga is riding a four-game win streak entering this fray, the latest of
which being a nail-biter as it survived a conference clash at San Diego, 65-63
last weekend. The Bulldogs are now 21-2 on the year, and a perfect 7-0 in WCC
play. The win was GU's ninth straight against the Toreros and its 31st in the
last 33 meetings between the two teams. The Zags are 10-1 at home this season.
Gonzaga owns a 43-31 lead in the all-time series with Pepperdine, and the
Bulldogs have won the last 23 meetings, including a 78-62 road victory in the
WCC opener for both teams this year. Elias Harris and Kelly Olynyk scored 18
and 16 points, respectively to lead the Bulldogs in that clash, while the
Waves were paced by Lorne Jackson and Jordan Baker who combined for 31 points.
The last victory for the Waves in the series was back in 2002 in Malibu.
Despite decent shooting percentages (.451 overall, .367 from 3-point range),
Pepperdine averages a lackluster 64 ppg. Defensively, the team allows 66.5 ppg
behind typical shooting efforts of .414 overall and .353 from beyond the arc.
The Waves, who own a +2.0 rebounding margin but are -3.1 in turnover
differential, have three double-digit scorers in the form of Jackson (14.3
ppg, 3.4 rpg, 2.8 apg), Baker (11.7 ppg, 4.5 rpg, 3.2 apg) and Stacy Davis
(10.7 ppg, 7.4 rpg), and it was Jackson who paced the club in the recent loss
to San Francisco, tallying 20 points and seven rebounds. Davis put forth a
monster effort off the bench, logging a double-double consisting of 18 points
and 15 boards, the Waves claiming a 35-27 rebounding advantage and a 16-10
edge in points from the foul line. Both teams shot at least 50 percent from
the field, but the Dons were an am incredible 14-of-24 on their 3-point
Gonzaga comes in with averages of 79.3 ppg for and 61.7 ppg against, giving it
the fifth-best scoring margin in the country (+16.9). The team boasts three
double-digit scorers, with Olynyk (18.0 ppg, 6.9 rpg), Harris (15.0 ppg, 7.1
rpg) and Kevin Pangos (11.6 ppg, 3.5 apg) all excelling in helping the
Bulldogs reach the lofty heights they have this season. Gonzaga is shooting
51.3 percent from the floor, which includes a 38 percent showing from beyond
the arc, while its foes check in at 39.8 percent overall and 33.3 percent from
downtown. The Zags also own positive margins in both rebounding (+7.5) and
turnovers (+2.7). Harris was high man for Gonzaga in the narrow win at San
Diego last weekend, as he hit 6-of-12 shots from the floor and 5-of-6 at the
charity stripe to reach 18 points. He pulled down eight rebounds as well,
joining Olynyk for the team-lead in that department. Olynyk tallied 15 points,
and Gary Bell, Jr. chipped in 13 for the Bulldogs, who shot 43.9 percent from
the field while utilizing an 11-5 edge in points from the foul line along with
taking full advantage of 15 Torero turnovers.
The Sports Network