Pepperdine made long work of the University of San Francisco Friday night, probably longer than it should have taken to put away a school returning to basketball after a three-year layoff.
It took a 13-2 second-half spurt by the Waves to knock the Dons out of the game, and Pepperdine went on to a 78-66 West Coast Athletic Conference win before 2,941 fans at Firestone Fieldhouse in Malibu.
Eric White scored a game-high 22 points, Dwayne Polee added 19 and Grant Gondrezick had 14 as Pepperdine raised its record to 3-0 in the WCAC and 15-3 overall. USF dropped to 1-2 and 6-11.
The Waves, who led at halftime, 34-29, and were behind only twice--each time by one point in the early going--never seemed in any trouble, even when the Dons cut the lead to 34-31 on a Ken Ramirez jumper to start the second half.
The trouble was that Pepperdine shot poorly in the first half, hitting just 13 of 30 shots while the Dons were making 13 of 22. That was against the four freshmen that USF Coach Jim Brovelli kept in his lineup for most of the night.
But Pepperdine, leading, 38-33, then went on its 13-2 run, which included a three-point play and two foul shots by Polee, and one of four dunks in the game by Anthony Frederick. That gave the Waves a 51-35 advantage with 14 minutes left.
Even though USF never threatened after that, Pepperdine Coach Jim Harrick didn't take out Polee, probably his best defensive player, until 6:23 remained.
"I thought we played awfully well in the second half," Harrick said.
Polee scored 11 of his 19 points in the second half, and Gondrezick, who made just one of four shots in the first half, got 10 of his 14 points after intermission.
For the game, Pepperdine shot 49%; USF cooled off and finished with 47%. The Waves also outrebounded the Dons, 42-29.
"But I'll tell you something," Harrick added. "We played awfully well in the second half, except we didn't shoot well.
"They played a pretty good first half. But if we had shot the ball well in the first half, it would have been a different story."
Brovelli said: "We're a young team, and we were making young mistakes."
USF freshman guard Mike D'Aloisio hit 4 of 4 shots from the outside in the first half, but he was 0 for 3 in the second. Junior forward Ramirez and freshman forward Mark McCathrion each scored 13 points to lead the Dons.
Brovelli said he went with the four freshmen most of the game because they had been playing well recently and he has few players with Division I experience.
He said he thought his youngsters did well but added: "Pepperdine is a very good team. They have a lot of depth--and they are so well-balanced."