Men's Hoops Opens WCC Play at Home on Thursday vs. #10 Gonzaga

Marty Wilson

Jan. 1, 2013

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MALIBU, Calif. -- The Pepperdine men's basketball team has won its West Coast Conference opener in each of the last four seasons, but that streak will be put to the test on Thursday when the Waves open up league play at home against #10 Gonzaga. This is the sixth straight year that Pepperdine has opened up the WCC season in Firestone Fieldhouse. The Waves will play four of their first five conference games at home this season (they also host Portland on Saturday). Pepperdine goes into WCC play with its best non-conference record since 2004-05.

GAME #14 -- Thursday (Jan. 3) at Firestone Fieldhouse in Malibu, Calif.: Pepperdine (8-5, 0-0) vs. #10 Gonzaga (13-1, 0-0) at 6 p.m.

GAME #15 -- Saturday (Jan. 5) at Firestone Fieldhouse in Malibu, Calif.: Pepperdine vs. Portland (7-8, 0-0, plays at San Diego on Thursday) at 7 p.m.

WAVECASTS -- Live video broadcasts of home games and audio broadcasts of all road contests are free to all users at Veteran play-by-play man Al Epstein is behind the microphone (now in his 28th season, he heads into the upcoming game with a streak of 829 consecutive broadcasts). Also on the official website, fans can join an interactive live blog/chat using Cover It Live technology during most Pepperdine games.

TELEVISION -- The Gonzaga game will be produced by ROOT Sports Northwest, but shown locally on Time Warner Cable SportsNet. Greg Heister, Richard Fox and Dan Dickau are the announcers.

SOCIAL MEDIA -- On Twitter, get the latest news on the men's basketball program at @PeppBasketball and follow our coaches and staff at @MartyWilson4, @CoachMarkAmaral, @Coach_BMoore and @jimpelman. You can also like the Pepperdine Men's Basketball and/or Pepperdine Athletics pages on Facebook.

TICKETS -- For the majority of home games, men's basketball single-game tickets cost $15 (reserved), $12 (adult general admission) or $5 (child general admission). Premium games (LMU, BYU and Gonzaga) have different pricing plans. Gonzaga game tickets are $25 for reserved or $20 for general admission. Tickets can be purchased through the Pepperdine ticket office (866-WAVE-TIX) or via Ticketmaster.

GONZAGA -- Pepperdine is 31-42 all-time against Gonzaga. The Waves won 26 of the first 31 meetings, but the Bulldogs have won 37 of the last 42, including 22 consecutive. Pepperdine's last win over Gonzaga was in 2002 at home. The Bulldogs are ranked #10 by both the Associated Press and the USA Today coaches' poll. The schools have one opponent in common (both beat Washington State).

PORTLAND -- Pepperdine is 54-32 all-time against Portland. The Waves have won each of the last two years at home and are 26-12 against the Pilots in Firestone Fieldhouse. The schools have two common opponents (the Waves beat both Montana State and Washington State, the Pilots lost to both).

LAST GAME -- Lorne Jackson made two clutch plays in the final 20 seconds, including the game-winning lay-up with 3.5 seconds left, to give Pepperdine a 60-59 home win over Division II Fresno Pacific last Friday (Dec. 28). Jackson nailed a three-pointer from the right baseline with 17.3 seconds left to put the Waves ahead by one, but Fresno Pacific took the lead back with eight seconds remaining. Jackson drove the length of the court for a lay-up for the 18th lead change of the game, and FPU missed a three-pointer at the buzzer. Jackson scored 16 points on 7-for-11 shooting, while Stacy Davis had team highs of 18 points and nine rebounds.

JACKSON -- Senior guard Lorne Jackson is back at full strength for his fifth and final season. He redshirted last year following ACL surgery, the second one that he's had to undergo during his time at Pepperdine. "LoJack" was named All-WCC honorable mention in 2010-11 after averaging 13.2 points per game (16.6 ppg in conference games, third-best in the league). On Dec. 1 at Utah Valley this season, he became the 37th player in Pepperdine history to reach the 1,000-point milestone. Now with 1,082 points, he ranks 33rd, and he's on a pace that would put him among the top 20 scorers in school history. Jackson also ranks #6 at Pepperdine in career free throw percentage (.786), tied for #9 in three-pointers (125) and #10 in steals (125). Jackson, who is averaging a team-best 14.8 points, is the only Wave to score in double-figures all 13 games this season. The last Wave to start a season with a longer streak scoring in double-figures was Glen McGowan (the first 20 games of 2004-05). Jackson scored a career-high 28 points in a win against UC Irvine this season.

BAKER -- With Jackson's absence last season, sophomore guard Jordan Baker is the team's top returning scorer, and he's increased his average to 9.8 points this season. The website College Sports Madness named Baker its WCC Player of the Week after he averaged 14.0 points in wins over UC Riverside and Hawai'i. Baker almost recorded the second triple-double in Pepperdine history (Doug Christie has the only one) with 12 points, 10 rebounds and nine assists vs. Central Michigan.

FRESHMAN FRONTCOURT -- Stacy Davis leads all WCC freshmen in both scoring (11.3, tied for 19th overall) and rebounding (6.9, seventh overall). He's the only freshman ranked in the top 25 in scoring and is the only one in the top 15 in rebounding. Jett Raines is also among the league's most productive freshmen, averaging 7.3 points and 4.3 rebounds. Raines, who was named to the Tulane Classic all-tournament team, is the only Wave to start all 13 games.

MORE PLAYER NOTES -- Caleb Willis has had at least four assists in 12 of 13 games ... Nikolas Skouen has hit multiple three-pointers in each of the last six games (15 total).

RANDOM STATS -- Pepperdine has had a better field goal percentage than the opponent in 12 of 13 games, including 11 straight ... Pepperdine is unbeaten (8-0) when allowing 66 points or less, but winless (0-5) when allowing 67 points or more ... Pepperdine is 8-1 when keeping the opponent below 43% shooting (the best an opponent has shot in a Waves win was 40.4% by Washington State) ... Turnovers have been an issue for the Waves, but they're 3-0 when committing fewer turnovers than the opponent, 5-1 when the turnover margin is -3 or better, and 8-2 when it's -5 or better.

WCC STATS -- (Through 12/31) The Waves are #1 in field goal percentage defense (.394) and #2 in scoring defense (63.5) ... Lorne Jackson is 12th in scoring (14.8) and fifth in free throw percentage (.859) ... Stacy Davis is tied for 19th in scoring (11.3) and seventh in rebounding (6.9) ... Caleb Willis is third in assist/turnover ratio (2.8), fifth in assists (4.8) and 10th in minutes (31.8) ... Moriba De Freitas is eighth in blocked shots (0.9) and 18th in rebounding (4.6) ... Jordan Baker is 26th in scoring (9.8), 16th in rebounding (4.8) and ninth in three-point field goal percentage (.420) ... Nikolas Skouen is third in three-point percentage (.444) and seventh in three-pointers made (1.8) ... Jett Raines is ninth in field goal percentage (.513).

SEASON NOTABLES -- Pepperdine won three straight games for the first time since January 2010, and four in a row for the first time since November 2007 ... The Waves have now beaten a Pac-12 team two consecutive seasons (at Arizona State last year, vs. Washington State this year) ... It hasn't happened often, but WSU was the first one of the old Pac-10 teams to visit Firestone Fieldhouse since December 2002 (Oregon) and the first that the Waves had beaten at home since November 1985 (WSU) ... In Firestone Fieldhouse, Pepperdine is now 3-3 all-time against the old Pac-10 schools, and 6-5 against the current list of Pac-12 schools ... Pepperdine has won road games in Texas two straight years (UTSA last season, Houston Baptist this season) ... According to Pepperdine's records, the Waves won for the first time ever against Hawai'i in Honolulu in their fifth try ... Pepperdine posted a 3-1 record against Big West Conference teams ... The Waves' eight non-conference wins heading into start of WCC play are the most since 2004-05.

OVERTIME -- Pepperdine is 2-1 in overtime contests this season. The last time the Waves played three OT games was 2007-08, and the last time they played four was 1981-82. Pepperdine won back-to-back games in overtime against Washington State and Houston Baptist, which is one of only three known times that the Waves have played consecutive overtime games. Pepperdine has won both contests each time, though it hadn't happened since December 1977, and the first time was in February-March 1976. This is the first time that records show three overtime games among the first seven contests of the season.

INJURIES -- The Waves have been at full strength since early December. Malte Kramer (knee) missed the first eight games but made his debut at Hawai'i. Jan Maehlen (hand) and Austin Mills (hand) each missed the first two games of the season. With Brendan Lane redshirting, the Waves had only nine players available for the first two games of the season (both losses).

ROSTER -- The Waves look much different this year. Only four letterwinners are back from last season, plus three redshirts. They're joined by seven newcomers to bring the roster total to 14. The class breakdown is three seniors, three juniors, four sophomores and four freshmen. Twelve players are on scholarship and two are walk-ons.

RETURNERS -- Lorne Jackson's previous numbers aren't included, but returning players account for 36% of last year's points (621/1,719), 28% of the rebounds (267/943), 55% of the assists (197/358), 21% of the blocked shots (18/85), 55% of the steals (74/135) and 40% of the minutes played (2,320/5,825).

WILSON -- This is head coach Marty Wilson's second year as head coach at Pepperdine and his 16th season in Malibu. He has compiled an impressive record here as a student-athlete (1985-89), an assistant coach (1991-96, which included a brief stint as the interim head coach) and as the associate head coach for three seasons (2009-11) under Tom Asbury. He was then elevated to the position of head coach following Asbury's retirement after the 2010-11 season. Wilson was also an assistant at San Diego, UC Santa Barbara and Utah inbetween stints at Pepperdine and has been a Division I coach for 22 seasons. He ended his playing career #5 all-time in assists at Pepperdine with 342 (he's still #9). The team went to the NCAA Tournament twice and the NIT twice in Wilson's four seasons on the court. As a Pepperdine assistant, the team went to the NCAA Tournament three times and the NIT once.

ASSISTANTS -- Associate head coach Mark Amaral, assistant coach Bryant Moore and director of operations John Impelman all have returned this season. Amaral and Marty Wilson were assistants together at UC Santa Barbara for four seasons. Moore worked with the Cleveland Cavaliers for five seasons in a variety of roles, including player development coordinator, during the LeBron James era. Impelman, who filled in as an assistant coach for a period of time last season, is the great-grandson of UCLA coaching legend John Wooden. New to the staff is assistant coach Jason Hart, one of the all-time best players at Syracuse and a nine-year NBA veteran, who coached Taft High School to a Los Angeles City Section Division I title last year.

WCC -- This is the second of two years that the West Coast Conference will have nine teams. Brigham Young joined prior to 2011-12, and the roster will grow to 10 in 2013-14 when Pacific rejoins the conference. The coaches' preseason poll went in the following order: Gonzaga, BYU, Saint Mary's, Loyola Marymount, San Diego, Santa Clara, San Francisco, Portland and Pepperdine. Keep in mind, however, that the Waves have finished better than predicted in each of the previous four seasons (since Marty Wilson came back to the program).

RECRUITS -- The Waves inked three Southern California high school standouts to be their backcourt of the future during the November signing period. Jeremy Major (Pasadena, Calif./Maranatha HS), a 5-foot-10 point guard, averaged 25.8 points per game last season. Lamond Murray Jr. (Redondo Beach, Calif./Bishop Montgomery HS), a 6-foot-5 wing, averaged 20.2 points as a prep junior. Jeff Van Dyke (Carlsbad, Calif./La Costa Canyon HS), a 6-foot-3 shooting guard, made 92 three-pointers last season and helped La Costa Canyon to the state championship game. Major and Murray are teammates on the Double Pump 2013 Elite AAU squad, while Van Dyke plays for Gamepoint.

PEPPERDINE BASKETBALL -- This is the 75th season of Pepperdine men's basketball, and the 40th that the Waves have called Firestone Fieldhouse home. The Waves began the campaign with an all-time record of 1,140-974 (.539). Pepperdine has been to the NCAA Tournament 13 times (last in 2002) and has won 12 West Coast Conference regular-season titles (last in 2002) and three WCC Tournament crowns (last in 1994). Did you know that William "Bird" Averitt led the nation in scoring in 1972-73 with 33.9 points per game?

CAMPUS LIFE PROJECT -- In May 2011, Pepperdine launched The Campaign for Pepperdine, the largest fundraising campaign in the University's history. The goal is to raise $450 million to support the Campus Life Project, which will benefit the entire campus. The key piece for Athletics is a new, state-of-the-art, 5,000-seat University Events Center, which will replace Firestone Fieldhouse as the Waves' home. The project has been approved by the County of Los Angeles and the California Coastal Commission, so the biggest step remaining before the arena can be built is fundraising.

2013/2015 NCAA WEST REGIONALS -- Pepperdine University is the host institution for both the 2013 and 2015 West Regionals of the NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament. The Waves partnered with AEG/Staples Center and the LA Sports & Entertainment Commission to bring NCAA postseason basketball to Los Angeles for the first time since 1994.

WAVES IN THE PROS -- Yakhouba Diawara, a former NBA veteran who now plays in Italy, competed in the 2012 Olympics for France. Mychel Thompson is the most recent Wave in the NBA, appearing in five games for the Cleveland Cavaliers in 2011-12 after making the squad as an undrafted free agent. He was in the New York Knicks' preseason camp this year but after being waived he's returned to the Erie BayHawks of the NBA D-League. Pepperdine had a streak of 34 consecutive seasons with at least one Pepperdine alum on an NBA roster, which began in 1976-77 after the ABA/NBA merger and ended in 2010-11. Seventeen former Pepperdine players have seen action in the NBA, a list that includes notables such as Dennis Johnson (a 2010 Naismith Hall of Fame inductee, the 1979 NBA Finals MVP and a three-time NBA champion) and Doug Christie (a 15-year NBA veteran who was a mainstay on the All-Defensive Team).

ABOUT PEPPERDINE UNIVERSITY -- Pepperdine boasts a one-of-a-kind athletic department with unprecedented success for a school of its size. The Waves have won NCAA Division I championships in five different men's sports -- one of just 16 schools to have accomplished this feat -- and nine overall. Of this elite group, Pepperdine has the smallest enrollment and is the only school not associated with a BCS conference. The Waves earned the Division I-AAA All-Sports Trophy, an award based on postseason success that's given to the top non-football D-I school, for the third time in 2011-12. Located in scenic Malibu, Calif., the university overlooks the Pacific Ocean and its campus and athletic facilities are regularly voted among the nation's most beautiful. Pepperdine, which is affiliated with the Church of Christ, ranks #54 overall on U.S. News and World Report's list of America's best colleges.



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