EA Sports - It's in the (very long) game

Pepperdine has been boasting of its intention to establish an impenetrable home-court advantage at Firestone Fieldhouse this season.<p><p> A loss in Thursday's exhibition would not have ruined those plans officially, but would have weighed heavily on players' minds. Thanks to a few miracles and the highest-scoring game at the Fieldhouse since Bo Kimble and Hank Gathers visited, the Waves were able to keep their perfect home record intact.<p><p> Barely.

Jimmy Miggins and Devin Montgomery have been quoted as promising the Waves will win establish an impenetrable home court advantage this season. Judging by this exhibition, they intend to fight for that goal, but they will be in for quite a challenge.

Terrance Johnson's 36 points led a remarkable offensive explosion by both teams as the Waves scratched and clawed their way to an improbable 133-126 double-overtime win.

A dazzling shooting display by EA Sports, led by former Cal standout Ryan Forehan-Kelly, kept them close and forced a 105-105 tie after 40 minutes.

The All-Stars looked like they had the game won at the end of the first OT after two free throws by Zack Fray gave them a 116-113 lead with 5.5 seconds to play. But Miggins raced downcourt, stumbled near the three point line, and shovelled the ball to Johnson for a desperation 22-footer that rattled home as time expired.

The Waves opened the second overtime with six straight points and never looked back.

Joining Johnson in double figures were five other Waves: Boomer Brazzle with 24, Miggins with 20, Will Kimble with 15, Robert Turner with 14, and Alex Acker with 12.

Devin Montgomery fouled out in 28 minutes, logging four points and nine assists.

It might be easy to look at the All-Stars' shooting performance and say the Waves didn't play any defense. EA shot 59% for the game, including 53% from beyond the arc. They had wide-open looks at the basket from all over the court.

However, this is a product of the Waves' defensive philosophy. They forced 28 turnovers on 10 steals, leading to over 40 points. The Waves choose to overplay passing lanes and trap ballhandlers in corners with double- and triple-teams. This does mean open looks at the basket, but it seems the Waves are willing to take their chances. Give the All-Stars credit for being red-hot and never cooling off.

Alex Acker played the majority of his 26 minutes at point guard. With Dani Hazut sitting out several games on NCAA rules, Acker is the Waves' top option to back up Montgomery. While Acker did occasionally make errors one expects of someone playing his first game, he performed well with 12 poins, five rebounds, and four assists. He consistenly pushed the tempo and kept the defense off-balance with dribble penetrations.

The most positive aspect of the game was the Waves' refusal to lose. Miggins was visibly angered by the prospects on an exhibition loss, and rallied the troops several times. The Waves showed a lot of pride in their homecourt and simply fought hard enough to get out of there with a win.

Next up is Team Ezybonds from Australia, on Nov. 14 at 7:00 pm at Firestone Fieldhouse. If the first exhibition game is any indication, bring snacks and rest up.