USF Rallies Past Men's Basketball, 64-58
Nikolas Skouen had career highs of 19 points and five three-pointers.
Feb. 23, 2013
Nikolas Skouen and 12 points and 13 rebounds from Stacy Davis, but couldn't hold on to a couple of leads and fell at San Francisco, 64-58, on Saturday night in West Coast Conference play.
It was the second meeting in a row that the Dons (13-15, 6-9 WCC) were able to rally past the Waves (12-15, 4-10 WCC). Pepperdine may get a third crack at USF, because if current standings hold they'll square off again in the second round of the upcoming WCC Championships.
The Waves led by 11 in the first half but fell behind 27-25 at halftime. Pepperdine then took a couple of nine-point leads in the second half, but a 21-5 run down the stretch propelled the Dons to the win.
Skouen (Bergen, Norway/Pratt CC), a junior guard, scored 16 of his points in the second half and also connected on a career-high five three-pointers. Davis (Laveen, Ariz./Fairfax HS), a freshman forward, had his fifth double-double of the season (and his second against USF) along with a season-high six assists.
The Waves lost for the first time this season when an opponent shot less than 40%. Before tonight, the Waves were 11-0 in those games, but USF overcame a slow start to outshoot Pepperdine, 39.6% to 36.7%.
"A lot of it comes down to our mental mistakes," Pepperdine Coach Marty Wilson said. "Our margin for error on both ends is minimal. We can't make the same mistakes over and over: offensive rebounds, bad decisions on our passes, bad decisions on our shots. We have to be able to execute on both ends.
"We did some good things, but late in games we have to be able to execute. We've got to do the things we did at the start of the first half and the start of the second half to gain that lead, and then be able to finish it at the end."
A 9-0 run that included five points from freshman guard Atif Russell (Katy, Texas/Seven Lakes HS) and ended with a steal and a basket by Jackson pushed the Waves to a 21-10 lead with six minutes remaining in the first half. But the Dons would then go on a 17-2 run, and went into halftime with a 27-25 lead.
Pepperdine got off to an equally good start after the break, beginning the second half on a 14-4 run to go in front by nine points at 40-31 with more than 14 minutes to play.
The Waves' lead was again nine points at 48-39 with 10 minutes to go after three-pointers by Jackson and Skouen.
But things went awry from there, as Pepperdine made one of 10 shots over the next six-plus minutes. The Dons went on a 16-3 run to make it 55-51 in their favor with four minutes left, and the run extended to 21-5, putting USF ahead 60-53 with 2:50 to go.
Skouen's fifth three-pointer of the game cut the deficit to four at 60-56 on the next possession. The Waves then caught a break when USF was whistled for a technical foul with 1:10 remaining. Skouen sank both free throws, but that would be the last points of the game for the Waves. They had a chance to tie the game after the technical, and were unable to connect on their final four shots of the contest.
The Waves now head into the final week of WCC play. Pepperdine has its home finale on Wednesday (Feb. 27) at 8 p.m. with a game against Saint Mary's that will be televised by ESPNU. Then the Waves are at San Diego next Saturday (March 2) at noon. It will be shown locally on Time Warner Cable SportsNet. For both games, fans can also listen to Al Epstein's broadcast via WaveCasts and join an interactive live game blog/chat at www.pepperdinesports.com.