Davis Slays Goliath

The record will show that the Pepperdine Waves defeated the Colorado Buffaloes, 94-77, on Monday night. But to those in attendance, it will be remembered as a titanic battle of wills between tiny Shaun Davis and Colorado giant David Harrison. <p><p> The Waves' slingshot found its mark, as Davis managed to dominate the tempo on both ends of the floor and lead his team to its first victory of the season.

Davis scored 20 points, dished six assists, took five steals, and shot a perfect 6-6 from the floor as he imposed his will on the game throughout the evening.

Harrison's individual stats were just as impressive, logging 30 points on 13-16 shooting, eight rebounds, and six blocks before fouling out in the final minutes.

A sluggish start to Friday's season opener against Dayton doomed the Waves to a deficit they could never overcome, so they came out determined and strong-willed at the outset of this game. Though the Buffaloes extended the lead to eight, 39-31, with three minutes to play in the first half, Davis sparked a rally that closed to within one point by halftime, 42-41.

In the second half, the Waves came out gunning and simply wore out the Big 12 power. Using an eight-man rotation but substituting liberally, Pepperdine managed to keep fresh legs on the court and maintained its defensive pressure, forcing 22 Buffalo turnovers and slowly pulling away.

Pepperdine utilized a high-post offensive set throughout most of the second half. Davis used screens from Glen McGowan, Jesse Pinegar, or Derrick Grubb to penetrate into the lane, and when the Buffalo defense collapsed, Davis whipped passes back out to those big men for open shots or an extra pass to the wings. The Buffaloes were never able to properly defend the play, mostly due to Davis' extraordinary quickness.

Harrison did his part on both ends of the floor. Glen McGowan, who had scored 26 in the Dayton loss, was visibly frustrated with his inability to go around, over, or through Harrison. McGowan did finish with 11 points and four rebounds, but had to work extremely hard for anything against the 7'0, 270-lb center. Harrison also recorded some spectacular blocks on driving layup attempts by Terrance Johnson and Jesse Pinegar. McGowan got some measure of revenge "posterizing" Harrison with a second-half two-handed dunk.

Harrison got help from Michel Morandais an Blair Wilson, who scored 15 apiece. Rebounding expert Lamar Harris did his job with a game-high ten boards. The Buffaloes won the rebounding battle 45-37 thanks to the thunder-and-lightning combination of Harris and Harrison.

But as good as Harrison was, it was Davis who won the battle of wills to control the tempo. The 5'10 freshman point guard, playing just his second career game, adds a dimension of speed and quickness the Waves have not seen in years. The student section, accustomed to chanting "Ter-rance John-son!" after highlight-reel dunks, changed its tune to "Shau-aun Dav-is!" in a fitting tribute to his dominance.

Johnson finished with 16 points and a team-high eight rebounds off the bench. Head coach Paul Westphal's strategy of starting Robert Turner in the first half and Johnson in the second seems to be working very well.

Jesse Pinegar got all 14 of his points in the second half, nearly all of them three-pointers on the high-post screen play off a kickout pass from Davis. Alex Acker followed a subpar Dayton game with a solid 12 points, four rebounds, and four assists. Redshirt freshman Cody Horning, a Colorado native who did not play against Dayton, was outstanding in his Pepperdine debut, logging eleven points and five rebounds in 22 very important minutes against his home State team.

The squad will enjoy some good cooking over a quick Thanksgiving break, but hopes to continue its success against Big 12 competition with a date at Oklahoma State Saturday night.