Blue & Orange Madness Fills Firestone Fieldhouse Again

Julie Rousseau and Marty Wilson

Oct. 15, 2011

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MALIBU, Calif. -- Students, fans, family, friends and a few famous alums packed Firestone Fieldhouse on Friday night to witness the start of another season of college basketball as Pepperdine hosted its annual Blue & Orange Madness.

Here's a summary of the night's events:

Master of ceremonies Sam Lagana welcomed everyone, and the show began with the presentation of the U.S. flag and the national anthem sung by the Pepperdine choir. The Pepperdine dance team then performed.

A video then went up on the big screens, showing the men's and women's teams working out and lifting weights in preparation for the new season. The video was punctuated by former NBA star and Malibu resident Reggie Miller shouting "Roll Waves!"

The fans got their first look at the teams as they ran in -- alternating men and women and with a video of each player appearing on the screens -- from the rear exit through a blue and orange balloon entryway filled with fog.

The Waves' head coaches, Julie Rousseau and Marty Wilson took the microphone for part comedy act, part talk about their programs. Rousseau asked Wilson, in his first year in charge, if he's scared. Wilson couldn't believe the question, saying he's not scared because of his staff and the support of his alums, many of whom were in attendance.

Rousseau responded that none of them had any eligibility left, so Wilson went on to hype his seniors, juniors, sophomores and freshmen. Rousseau did the same for her squad, saying she's got the greatest senior class of all time, and that they're ready to compete against the world.

Wilson went on to say that they were planning on playing "fast, up tempo, tough, physical, bump-and-grind, and knock people down" and that if VCU did it, and Butler did it, why can't Pepperdine do it?

The Pepperdine cheerleaders danced while the Pepp Band played the fight song, then did another routine. Both a parent and a student were called at random to take a half-court shot for free tuition for a year, though both missed. The Pepperdine step team then performed.

Next, a game of HotShot was played by three three-player teams that consisted of players from both the men's and women's teams and a student from the audience. Each member of the team had to make a shot, beginning with a three-pointer, then a free throw and finally a lay-up. The first team to go dominated the competition by finishing in 19 seconds without a miss. Hector Harold banked in a three, Robie Mayberry sank a jumper and student Andrew Clark finished it with a lay-up. Clark won an all-session pass to the 2012 West Coast Conference Tournament in Las Vegas.

After the Pepperdine dance team came out for a second time, the annual three-point shootout was held. Richard Branning defended his crown, winning the title for the second straight year. The women won two of the three first-round matchups, but in the final, which featured the highest-scoring men's and women's players, Branning posted a 9-7 victory over Grace Leah Baughn.

The cheerleaders, dance team and step team combined for a quick performance, then turned the court over to the season six winner of MTV's America Best Dance Crew, I aM mE.

Since being named head coach earlier this spring, Wilson has been big on reaching out to his fellow basketball alums, and that was evident tonight. Eight of Pepperdine's all-time greats were in attendance to judge the slam-dunk contest. Each was given a special introduction, with video highlights from their Pepperdine careers playing in the background. The eight were Doug Christie, Dana Jones, Geoff Lear, Levy Middlebrooks, Dwayne Polee, Orlando Phillips, Dane Suttle and Carmel Stevens.

Three newcomers - Nikolas Skouen, Ramon Eaton and Jordan Baker - and one veteran, Taylor Darby, made up the four-person field. Eaton defeated Darby in the final after a variety of dunks where he threw the ball high in the air, caught it on the bounce and dunked it via windmill or one-handed.

Both teams have a single home exhibition in the coming weeks, as the Pepperdine women face Westmont on Tuesday, Oct. 25, while the men meet Occidental on Saturday, Nov. 5.



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