Blair, Jason Keep, and Nick Lewis, the Toreros' trio of talented big men, combined for 50 points and 20 rebounds as San Diego continually pounded the ball into the low post.
But the trouble for the Waves was not only in containing the Toreros inside. In order to counteract their size disadvantage, they packed in a zone defense and double-teamed inside. But the Torero perimeter players responded with lights-out shooting throughout the night, shooting 59% for the game, 57% from beyond the arc.
Down by double figures early, Pepperdine (10-7, 2-2 West Coast Conference) mounted several rallies, bringing the crowd to its feet with pressure defense and a flurry of transition dunks. But the Toreros (8-8, 2-1) were simply shooting the ball too well for the Waves to contain them long enough to complete a comeback.
The Waves were led by a quartet of players with 12 points apiece. Robert Turner, Boomer Brazzle, Alex Acker, and Terrance Johnson had the honors. Acker contributed eleven rebounds and did his best to keep the Waves close at the free throw line.
To their credit, the Waves held their own on the boards, as rebounds were even at 34.
But the only statistic of consequence was outside shooting. While USD made 13 of their 23 three-point attempts, while the Waves managed just five of 24 (21%). Much of the differential can be attributed to the Toreros' luxury of size, forcing the Waves to leave shooters open. In contrast, as Pepperdine's offense revolves around its perimeter shooters, San Diego was able to challenge most shots.
The loss continued Pepperdine's season-long struggles with opposing big men. Their four home losses are to UC Irvine, Oregon, Utah, and San Diego, all of whom boast strong inside games and a considerable size advantage over the Waves. Gonzaga perfected the strategy in last Sunday's 20-point win in Spokane.
Pepperdine will get a rare week-long break as they prepare for a showdown with archrival Loyola Marymount next Saturday night in Westchester.