Waves' Thin Lineup Takes Jenny Craig, 98-93

Using a lineup of seven players - one of whom played just five minutes - Pepperdine visited San Diego looking to avenge an earlier home loss to the Toreros, and draw their conference record back to an even 5-5. Unlike the earlier meeting between the teams, the Waves got hot early and stayed that way, and they escaped with a win that puts their season back on track.

The game was close throughout. Though the Waves had a six-point lead with two minutes to play, USD's Matt Delzell drained consecutive three-pointers to draw even at 93.

Jimmy Miggins hit a three-pointer to give the Waves a 96-93 lead with 22 seconds to play. Delzell had a chance to continue his heroics, but he missed a three that would have tied the game, and Mike Westphal grabbed the rebound. Boomer Brazzle nailed both free throws late to seal the win.

Westphal scored a team-high 21 points on 7-12 shooting to lead Pepperdine to another big road win. Terrance Johnson scored 20 and three Waves - Miggins, Alex Acker, and Robert Turner - added 16. Brazzle's nine rounded out the scoring for the Waves (13-10 overall, 5-5 WCC). Aside from these six, only Dustin Johnson even shed his warmups.

Pepperdine shot a blistering 59% from the field, including 16-28 on threes, one short of the school record of 17 three-point baskets. San Diego nearly kept pace, shooting 55% from the field.

The Toreros (12-10, 6-3) again dominated inside. Jason Keep and Jason Blair combined for 40 points and 17 rebounds. San Diego won the overall rebounding war, 33-24. The starting backcourt of Roy Morris and Delzell each chipped in 16 points, taking advantage of the big men drawing defensive attention.

The Waves continued their curious trend of playing better on the road. They improve to 9-5 overall on the road, though they are only 4-5 in the "friendly confines."

The win may be the biggest of the season for Pepperdine. At 5-5 in the conference and a favorable schedule the rest of the way, they are in the driver's seat for at a top-four seed, and have an outside shot at a #2 seed. Finishing in the top four earns a first-round bye in the new WCC tournament format; the top two teams get to rest until the semifinals. Finishing second also means avoiding Gonzaga until the Finals.

Teams finishing in the lower half of the bracket need four wins in four days to take the tourney title, a daunting task for a Pepperdine team that essentially has shortened its rotation to six.


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