WCC Game 3: @ Pepperdine

Tip-off: Thursday, 7pm @ Firestone Fieldhouse
TV: WCCNetwork
Line: Torvik- even; ESPN- 50% win probability, no line yet

Pepperdine:
The Waves enter the game 7-8 on the season, 0-1 in the WCC, coming off a blowout loss to GU.
IMO, Pepperdine has as much talent on their roster as anyone in the league besides GU. Their challenges are:

  1. Lorenzo Romar is their coach…good recruiter, nice guy, well liked and respected by his players but never been known to get the most of the talent on his roster.
  2. They are extremely young. Their recent starting lineups have consisted of 4 true sophomores and a freshman; plus two more freshman in their regular playing rotation. Only one upper classman, Jan Zidek in their rotation.

The Waves play uptempo (ranked 16th in adjusted tempo on Torvik) and shoot the 3 reasonably well at 38%. Their rebounding is subpar (200’s +) at both ends of the floor.
Sophomore wing, Maxwell Lewis was a 4star recruit and is considered by many to have NBA potential. Sophomore guard, Houston Mallete was preseason All-WCC. Freshman forward, Jevon Porter, was a 3star recruit and is the younger brother of NBA lottery pick, and Denver Nugget, Michael Porter, Jr. Top players:

  • 6-7 wing Maxwell Lewis (19pts, 6rebs, 3assists, 1.1 blocks, 44% from 3, 54% shooting overall)
  • 6-5 guard Houston Mallette (13pts, 3assists, 38% from 3)
  • 6-2 Mike Mitchell, Jr. (11pts, 4rebs, 5assists, 1.3 steals, 47% from 3)
  • 6-10 forward Jevon Porter (11pts, 7.5rebs)
  • 6-10 center Carson Basham (7pts, 4rebs, 1.4 blocks, 64% FG)
    And they have a decent bench: veteran and former starter, Jan Zidek provides frontcourt scoring, freshman Malik Moore is their only bench guard who gets much PT, plays about 20mins a game but isn’t much of a scorer and 6-8 freshman forward Jan Pitre has seen his PT increase of late and had back to back 11pt, 6reb games vs. Iona and George Wash in their final non-con games.

For the Broncos, they have to find a defensive answer for athletic and long Maxwell Lewis who can score from anywhere; Justice will likely get the assignment and will have his hands full. Kosy Akametu would match up better athletically with Lewis, could see more of him in this game.
The Waves uptempo play suits the Broncos just fine but we have to shoot it well to keep pace with the Waves offensive firepower and must defend well beyond the 3pt line. The Broncos also need to capitalize on what should be a rebounding advantage.

Prediction: Broncos prevail in a shootout, 84-81.

2 Likes

We’ve got the brother of a Denver Nuggets lottery pick too!

Go Broncos. We have laid many an egg in the confines of Firestone Fieldhouse. It can be somewhat sleepy there.

1 Like

This will be a real test of the Broncos’ defense. I don’t know that Santa Clara can match shot for shot. But they should be able to use muscle inside, pull down offensive boards, and put up some second chance points. And playing tight defense against Lewis and Mallette will be key. Pepperdine could hit 12 three-pointers if the Broncos don’t close out at the perimeter or get lackadaisical moving through screens.

I think the team is mad after SMC and continues to play tough. Rebounding (even though SCU actually out-rebounded SMC) must have been a point of focus. Give me 86-73 Santa Clara. Bediako gets a double-double with 14 and 10.

1 Like

I think you’re right PMac. The Broncos have played pretty well these last 4-5 games and will be tough for the Waves to beat.

I hope you are right on your predictions. My mantra has been we need to beat the P schools in league. Beating Portland, Pacific and Pepperdine is always a must. We still cant take anything for granted and seem to always lose at least one or two league games we shouldn’t. Don’t want to look past Pepperdine with Gonzaga coming up Saturday. .

4 Likes

Current line on ESPN: Broncos -1.5
O/U: 151.5…seems low.

To me this is the biggest test of the year so far.

This is a game that Santa Clara teams have lost in the last 10 years with the exception of last year. You win this game and get through the first two weeks of WCC play at 2-2, that’s real progress building off of last season.

3 Likes

Firestone has been an Achilles’ Heel for us for decades. Would be nice to crush the Waves in their (Field)house.

1 Like

Fun fact: I was in attendance at the Broncos’ win at Firestone back in 2013 before the long losing streak. We brought a small rooting section down for that one.

Pepperdine has a real claim for prettiest campus in the US and would also be pretty low on my list of D1 basketball arenas.

2 Likes

Any chance that Carlos Marshall plays tonight? We sure could use him.

2 Likes

The setting and scenery are awesome (especially right now as the storm has pushed through and nothing but clear sky and sun against the ocean).
Firestone is like a mediocre high school gym… same atmosphere too.

1 Like

I recall a vague comment from Passarelli, I think during the Boise St. game that Marshall may return sometime in January.

While I would love to have Marshall for tonight’s game, he hasn’t played in over 7 weeks, so he’s bound to be rusty for his first few games after returning so not sure how much he’d help tonight.

I think we’ve also heard that Ensminger is close to returning; probably can’t count on a true frosh much given limited practice and no game experience but we’ll see. If I was him, I’d consider redshirting and not waste a year of eligibility playing limited minutes for less than half a season.

2 Likes

100% THIS. Don’t waste a year of eligibility to play half a year as an off-the-bench guy. Bulk up, study, practice hard, and come in next year as a seasoned “freshman”.

Starting with a Braun dunk ain’t bad. I forgot that the Pepperdine call guy has an old timey 1950’s radio effect.

Is Holt getting paid by the dribble tonight?

Pepperdine playing better defense than usual. Which is still pretty awful. Santa Clara should be up by 15 or more but for a number of mistakes in shot selection, missed layups, etc.

If Santa Clara keeps getting offensive boards, they’ll be fine. But they had a big advantage against a cold Pepperdine in the first 10 min that they didn’t take enough advantage of.

3 Likes

Tongue and Podz playing the best so far. Stewart going back and forth between great plays and frustrating mistakes. Pepperdine is a team that you bully, not a team that you try to out-athlete.

I’d like to see Justice play a little tougher. He’s stronger than any of the quick, stringy Pepperdine guards or SFs. This is a game where he should be backing those guys down and drawing fouls or kicking out.

2 Likes

I had mentioned a January 12th return for Marshall - folks may have missed that. Ensminger is going to redshirt. Yes, Cam hustling well and being aggressive on the boards. My son is gonna KILL me with his FT’s!!! Frustrated with the bogus foul call. That was jump ball. It’s just that Cam does not fall so easily. Kozy is coming up very short on his shot and is not making smart selection - needs to work on that. We should be blowing them out and have missed too many opportunities. Hoping for a better second half.

5 Likes

Have to admit he’s doing the little things on defense and making the extra pass tonight though.

3 Likes

Our 10 Off Rebs in the 1st half were critical compared to Pepp’s 4, plus one less TO. Net +7 possessions for the Broncos otherwise we may be down.

Can’t count on 10 off rebs in the 2nd half…need to defend the 3 better and make our FT’s, one missed front end of 1and1 so effectively 5/9…need to be better than that.

1 Like