Waves' Second-Half Surge Beats CSUB

BAKERSFIELD, Calif. – A big second-half performance, which began on defense but continued on the offensive end, lifted the Pepperdine men’s basketball team to a 90-80 victory over Cal State Bakersfield at the Rabobank Arena on Sunday afternoon.


The Waves (2-4) trailed 39-36 at halftime, but scored a season-high 54 second-half points to earn their first road win of the season. The Roadrunners dropped to 1-5.


Five Pepperdine players scored in double-figures, led by 16 points apiece by freshman forward Malcolm Thomas (San Diego, Calif./Crawford HS) and junior guard Rico Tucker (San Diego, Calif./University HS/Minnesota). Senior guard Jason Walberg (Fresno, Calif./Clovis West HS/Saint Mary’s) had 14 points, freshman forward Daniel Johnson (Perth, Australia) had 12 points and freshman guard Mychel Thompson (Ladera Ranch, Calif./Stoneridge Prep) added 10 points. Freshman guard Tyrone Shelley (San Diego, Calif./Crawford HS) pulled down 14 rebounds to go with eight points.


“We’re so young and sometimes we do some goofy things,” said Pepperdine Coach Vance Walberg, who played two seasons at Cal State Bakersfield in the 1970s. “But today our pressure defense was a little better than it has been. We got a couple of five-second calls and made them work hard. We went down by seven in the second half and then scored a couple of baskets off our defense and that was a turning point. It was fun to be back here, especially when you win.”


The game went back and forth throughout the first half. The Waves scored the first seven points of the game, but the Roadrunners came back with the next eight. Pepperdine responded with a 13-4 run to go up 20-12, then CSUB went on a 15-6 spurt to grab a 27-26 advantage. Pepperdine last led at 34-33 in the first half after a three-pointer by Thompson with 2:54 left, but the Roadrunners scored six of the final eight points in the half to go into the break with a 39-36 lead. There were a total of seven lead changes and four ties in the first half.


The Roadrunners pushed their lead to seven points at 47-40 with 17:45 left in the game. Pepperdine, however, went on a 10-0 run to erase the deficit and take a 50-47 lead with 15 minutes to go. Junior guard Mike Hornbuckle (Westlake Village, Calif./Oaks Christian HS/Azusa Pacific) gave the Waves the lead with his drive and short jumper in the key (the Waves never trailed again), and Thompson finished the run with a tip-in.


The Waves took their first double-digit lead at 72-62 with less than nine minutes to go thanks to an 8-0 run. Junior guard Ryan Holmes (Phoenix, Ariz./Millennium HS/Phoenix CC) made a layup, was fouled and hit the free throw, and then Walberg sank a three-pointer and Thomas scored on a tip-in.


The Waves still had a 10-point lead at 81-71 with 3:22 left as Thomas scored after grabbing an offensive rebound, and the Roadrunners got no closer than five points the rest of the way.


Pepperdine had a +10 rebounding edge (44 to 34), its best performance this season by far, and also shot a season-best 47.1 percent from the field.


Freshmen scored 48 of the 90 points, the sixth straight time that the Waves’ first-year players have scored at least half the team’s points.


The Waves continue their 10-game road swing (the longest such stretch in school history) at Northern Arizona on Wednesday (Nov. 28) at 6:35 p.m. MT/5:35 p.m. PT. Fans can listen to Al Epstein’s call of the action at www.pepperdinesports.com. The game will also be shown on tape delay on FSN Prime Ticket at 11 p.m.




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