Waves Take Tournament Title

In an unusually strong field a Holiday tournament, four teams coming off 2002 postseason berths squared off in the Stanford Invitational on Monday and Tuesday nights. Host Stanford was joined by Pepperdine, an at-large NCAA team last season; Montana, the defending Big Sky Champions; and Richmond, which appeared in the postseason NIT. <p><p> Two outstanding efforts by the Waves -- and one shocking upset -- gave the Waves the one thing they needed most in a season of adversity: a championship.

The Waves played inspired ball in the opening round and disposed of Richmond, 83-77.

A 16-0 run midway through the first half gave the Waves control of the game. While the Spiders would stay within striking distance and finally rallied to tie the game at 70, Pepperdine responded with poise and determination, holding off a tough challenge.

Jimmy Miggins continued to develop into the team's sorely needed emotional leader. He recorded 20 points and 10 rebounds, while also taking on ballhandling responsibilities in the absence of a true point guard.

Terrance Johnson led all scorers with 23 points. Alex Acker added 16, and Mike Westphal contributed 11 points, four assists, and four steals in a career-high 33 minutes.

But while the Waves did their part to set up a second showdown with a ranked Pac-10 team in just four days, Montana had other ideas.

David Bell's three-pointer with two seconds remaining completed a stunning comeback victory for the Grizzlies, sending the Stanford fans home knowing that their Cardinal would fail to win its own tournament for just the second time in the tournament's history.

So the Waves and Grizzlies met in a most unexpected championship game.

Unlike the first round, Pepperdine came out hot early, racing to a 9-2 lead. Montana came back to tie the game at 24 midway through the half, but the Waves answered with a 29-14 run to end the period and took a 53-38 lead to the locker room.

The second half featured more of the same, as Pepperdine never allowed the Grizzlies to get within single digits, finishing off an impressive 86-69 win to become only the second team other than Stanford ever to win the event.

The story for Pepperdine was David Patten, playing in only his fourth career game. Slated to redshirt this season before being forced into duty in the absence of Will Kimble and Glen McGowan, Patten had been playing solid, if unspectacular, ball thus far. But against Montana, the 6'8 forward scored 14 of his 19 points in the first half, and collected seven rebounds, all career highs.

Miggins registered 17 points, five rebounds, and six assists. Boomer Brazzle added 12 points and 14 rebounds, and Johnson and Westphal chipped in 11 points apiece.

Bell scored 21 points to lead the Grizzlies (4-7).

Following Saturday's loss to Oregon, the Waves (5-3) found out they would be spnding yet another long stretch of games without star forward McGowan, diagnosed with a blood clot in his shoulder. Already without starters Kimble and Devin Montgomery, and coming off a 15-point loss to the #5-ranked Ducks, the Waves might have had reason to show up in Palo Alto flat and struggling.

Instead, they came out and proved that they are still a force to be reckoned with on the West Coast.

Notes:

Richmond (4-3) upset Stanford (5-3), 83-69, to take third place in the tournament ... It's been a miserable week for the Cardinal. Stanford found out before their game that projected starting point guard Chris Hernandez broke his foot in the Montana game and will miss the rest of the season. He only played in two games this season, having sat out the first four games recovering from a break in the same foot ... Pepperdine, struggling on the boards all season in the absence of McGowan and Kimble, won the battle of the boards in both games by an average of 5.5 per game. ... After starting the season 0-2, the Waves have won five of six, the only loss coming to #5 Oregon.