Familiar Faces Spark Waves Victory

After struggling through minor injuries and illnesses in recent weeks, Waves leading scorers Terrance Johnson and Jimmy Miggins re-discovered their offensive dominance against San Diego Friday night as the Waves held off the pesky Toreros, 90-79.

Johnson, who suffered from the flu in the Waves' loss last week in Spokane and managed just five points, exploded for 23 against the Toreros on a dizzying array of alleyoop dunks and long-range bombs that re-established his status as one of the great all-around talents in the conference.

Miggins, the Waves' scoring leader all year who had been bothered for much of the conference season by a sore back, showed no symptoms as he backed down smaller Torero defenders and spun around bigger ones for a career high total of 22 points, also nabbing seven rebounds while playing all 40 minutes. Miggins has scored 59 points in his last three games as he has returned to health.

The double-digit margin may be a bit misleading as the Toreros were never out of contention on this night. Although the Waves led by as many as 19, they allowed San Diego to narrow the margin to five at 68-63 with 12 minutes left.

But they would get no closer as Miggins, Johnson, and Devin Montgomery willed the Waves to victory.

Not all Waves have recovered from injury. Sophomore forward Glen McGowan, easily the Waves' best player in their loss to Gonzaga last weekend, bruised his right knee late in that game and did not play against USD. He is listed as day-to-day and may rest as a precaution until the West Coast Conference tournament opens next Saturday.

Interestingly, the rebouding woes that plagued the Waves during McGowan's absence early in the season returned as the Toreros won the battle of the boards, 46-36. Though all the Waves have stepped up their efforts in that category, it does seem that the presence of the physical power forward is the key to the team's rebounding performance.

Fortunately, this game was not won on the boards, but by the Waves' shooting prowess. Pepperdine shot 54% from the floor, led by a sizzling combined 19-32 performance from Miggins and Johnson. San Diego managed just 39% overall shooting as the jump-shooting Toreros were unable to utilize that strength, hitting just five of 20 three-point attempts.

Cedric Suitt, who tied a conference record with ten blocks in the Waves' double-overtime victory four weeks ago against the Toreros, followed up with five more rejections to accompany his six points and four rebounds.

Boomer Brazzle tied for team-high honors with seven rebounds of his own, to go with ten points. Montgomery had 13 points and four assists.

Jason Blair ripped the nets for 26 points to pace USD, and Andre Laws added 17.

With the win, Pepperdine (19-7, 12-1 WCC) got back in the win column quickly after their first setback of 2002. Gonzaga (25-3, 12-1) kept pace with a 70-54 over the Dons in San Francisco. The Waves face Santa Clara Saturday night, while the Bulldogs travel to Moraga to take on St. Mary's in each team's regular season finale. If they remain tied, a coin flip will determine the top seed in next weekend's WCC tournament in San Diego.