Pepperdine outlasts USF, 79-72

Jimmy Miggins scored 14 of his 18 points in the second half as the Waves slowly pulled away from San Francisco to run their winning streak to eleven games and remain a perfect 9-0 in West Coast Conference play.

It looked for all the world like Jimmy Miggins was having an off night, and his frustration was beginning to show. The Waves' leader in scoring and rebounding managed just four points in the first half while his counterpart, USF's Darrell Tucker, dominated first-half play.

But Miggins, the Waves' emotional and statistical leader all year long, found his range in the second half to total 18 points and grab seven rebounds to help the Waves overcome a challenge from the WCC's third-place team.

The Dons led 46-41 early in the second half, but the Waves responded by outscoring them 32-17 to lead by ten at 73-63. Seeming to have the game in hand, however, the Waves were betrayed by one of their team strengths late in the game to keep it close.

The Waves, who have been flirting with a team record for free throw percentage, did themselves no favors in that pursuit Friday night. They shot just 20-33 (61%), and missed six of ten in the final minute to allow the Dons some hope. In fact, USF had clawed within 76-72 when Miggins hit one of two from the line with 17 seconds left. Feeling that they could complete their comeback, the Dons pushed the ball up the floor, but John Cox's ill-advised cross-court pass landed in the hands of Craig Lewis, and the Waves hit their final two free throws to seal the win.

Devin Montgomery added 14 points and four assists. Terrance Johnson and Lewis scored ten points apiece, and Boomer Brazzle registered nine points, five boards as the Waves stayed perfect in 2002.

But it was more than just the "usual suspects" who contributed heavily to this win. On a night when there seemed to be a lid on the basket for some of the Waves' prolific scorers, Will Kimble played one of his best games of his young career, notching eight points and five rebounds. Cedric Suitt had six points, six boards. Notably, the two centers saw action together for the first time all season to counter USF's powerful inside tandem of Tucker and Hondre Brewer.

Tucker led all scorers with 20 points, and tied for high-rebound honors with Brewer's 12. Brewer also notched ten points and four blocks. Shamell Stallworth added 12 points and LyRyan Russell 10 for the upset-minded Dons.

The first half was reminiscent of the Waves' early-season rebounding nightmares, as Tucker and Brewer hammered away at the boards to outrebound Pepperdine by nine at the half. But in a microcosm of the season, the Waves collected themselves and closed the margin to just 45-44 in the rebounding department by the end of the game.

Former Pepperdine assistant Randy Bennett brings his St. Mary's team to Malibu at 5:00 Saturday afternoon for the Homecoming festivities. The Gaels were a surprising 62-44 winner over Loyola Marymount Friday night.