The Badgers lost control of the ball nine times in the first nine minutes of the second half and hit just 2 of 13 shots as Pepperdine went on a 25-4 run to blow the game wide open. At halftime the game had been tied, 34-34. With 11:06 left to play the Waves held a commanding 59-38 advantage.
McGowan, a senior forward, hit 12 of 21 shots, including 4 of 8 three-pointers, to pace all scorers. Junior guard Alex Acker contributed 17 points, seven assists and nine rebounds for the Waves' cause.
Wisconsin was led by sophomore forward Alando Tucker, who scored a team-high 18 points on 9 of 11 shooting, and grabbed seven rebounds. Sophomore guard Kammron Taylor hit just 3 of 11 shots from the field, but made 9 of 12 free throws for 15 points.
Badger senior forward Mike Wilkinson was not himself Saturday, turning the ball over seven times and tallying just six points.
Wisconsin held a 22-19 first half lead before the Waves made a move and tied the contest going into halftime.
The second half, though, was all Pepperdine. The Badgers sank 13 of 26 shots in the first half but just 8 of 25 in the second. Wisconsin was a feeble 3 of 17 from beyond the arc, with only guard Clayton Hanson (2 of 3) and forward Zack Morley (1 of 2) connecting.
The Badgers went on a 10-0 and took their first lead at 18-17 with 7:54 left in the first half. They extended the lead to 22-19 before Pepperdine stormed back and tied the game by the break.
The win was the fourth consecutive for Pepperdine, which improves to 4-1. Wisconsin falls to 2-1 and will next face Maryland at 8:30 p.m. Central, Tuesday at the Kohl Center.