Bronco Stampede Stops Just Short

Sunday in Spokane, the Waves found themselves down by 20 points midway through the first half and were never able to recover. <p> Friday in Malibu, the Waves found themselves UP by 20 points midway through the first half, and they seemed to think they would be able to cruise to victory just as Gonzaga had. <p> The result of that momentary complacency was nearly disastrous.

The Waves opened the game hitting 15 of their first 22 shots (68%) and building a 36-12 lead. With a few minutes left in the half, Santa Clara still seemed out of reach at 43-23, but they ended the half by scoring the final nine points to get within eleven, and the game seemed to have a very different feeling.

The rally continued in the second half, as the Broncos fought their way to within two points at 62-60. Boomer Brazzle countered with a three-pointer to extend the lead to five, but the Broncos scored again. The score went to 68-64 and stayed there for what seemed like an eternity.

Bakari Altheimer made an improbable fall-away jumper to cut the lead to two. After three Waves free throws, Altheimer struck again, making a virtually impossible bank-shot three from the deep corner to get within 71-69 with 5.5 seconds to play.

But Mike Westphal calmly sank two free throws with three seconds left to ice the game. Altheimer's half-court shot fell short at the buzzer.

Jimmy Miggins had nine points, nine rebounds, and four assists in the first half as the Waves were cruising. But he did not score again, and finished with 12 rebounds and five assists.

Brazzle emerged from a prolonged shooting slump to git 8 of 15 shots and lead the Waves with 19 points. Alex Acker and Westphal each added 14 points for Pepperdine, which improved to 10-6, 2-1 in the West Coast Conference.

It was truly a tale of two halves. After their blistering 15-22 start, the Waves made only 10 of 39 shots (26%) the rest of the way.

The biggest difference might have been at the three-point line, where the Waves made 40% of their attempts, and the Broncos made just six of 23 (26%).

Altheimer paced the Broncos (10-5, 1-1 WCC) with 18 points, and Jordan Legge chipped in 13 points and eight rebounds.