Men's Hoops Holds Off UC Riverside for Win
Pepperdine's final home game of December is Saturday vs. Long Beach State
MALIBU, California – Seventeen points from Nolan Taylor and 16 from Colbey Ross, plus a strong defensive showing, helped a short-handed Pepperdine men’s basketball team hold off UC Riverside, 70-59, on Tuesday night in Firestone Fieldhouse.
The Waves improved to 3-6 after allowing a season-low 59 points. The Waves also committed a season-low five turnovers. The Highlanders, who never led, fell to 2-6.
- Sophomore forward Nolan Taylor (Keller, Texas/Keller HS) led all scorers with a season-high 17 points, 12 of which came in the first half.
- Freshman guard Colbey Ross (Aurora, Colo./Eaglecrest HS) scored 10 of his 16 points in the second half, including six straight points during an important second-half stretch. He also had a game-high seven assists.
- Sophomore guard Knox Hellums (Tomball, Texas/Concordia Lutheran HS) sank three three-pointers for nine points.
- Senior guard Amadi Udenyi (Oakland, Calif./De La Salle HS) helped fill his stat line with five points, five assists and four rebounds.
- The Waves were outshot 37.5% to 40.4%. But, Pepperdine went 21-for-25 from the free throw line, compared to UCR’s 8-for-12, and the Waves made seven three-pointers to the Highlanders’ seven.
- After struggling with turnovers in previous losses, not only did the Waves take care of the ball, they also forced 11 turnovers for a season-best turnover margin of +6, and had an 18-8 edge in points off turnovers.
- Pepperdine had 18 assists, matching a season high.
- UC Riverside had four players score in double-figures, led by Chance Murray’s 15.
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The first half was all Pepperdine. The Waves jumped out to a 7-0 lead and forced an early Highlander timeout. The first double-digit lead came at 19-8 with 11:42 left after a Taylor basket. The biggest lead of the half was 18 points at 39-21 after two Kameron Edwards free throws with 1:50 left, and the Waves eventually went into the break at 39-24.
Edwards didn’t play in the second half (putting the Waves down three potential starters), and UCR came back to life. The Highlanders scored the first nine points of the second half, and they got it down to a two-point deficit at 44-42 with 11 minutes to play.
At 48-44, Ross made three big plays in a row. He made a basket, then got a defensive rebound and a fast-break lay-up, and then made a steal with another lay-up. His six consecutive points got the Waves’ back to double-digits at 54-44 with under eight minutes to play.
UC Riverside got no closer than nine points the rest of the way.
- Matthew Atewe (back) missed his second straight game. Expected starter Eric Cooper Jr. (shoulder) has yet to play this season, as has Kaijae Yee-Stephens (knee). The Waves’ total number of player-games missed due to injury is up to 22 this season.
- Pepperdine improved to 6-1 all-time against UC Riverside, including 3-0 in games in Firestone Fieldhouse.
Pepperdine Coach Marty Wilson said: “Something that we talk about a lot is getting off to a good start. We had a 7-0 run to start the game, and it forced a timeout. After that, we defended better. And they’re big, so we had our challenges there. I think getting our guys comfortable was a big key for us, as it helps us get open shots.”
The Waves have their only remaining December home game on Saturday (Dec. 9) against Long Beach State at 7 p.m. The game will be shown on WaveCasts on TheW.tv with Al Epstein on the call.