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Waves Alone at the Top After 80-61 Win

February 22, 1986|RAY RIPTON | Times Staff Writer

A rock slide that blocked Pacific Coast Highway in Malibu Friday night delayed the start of Pepperdine's basketball game with Portland.

The Pilots, who set out from their Marina del Rey hotel at about 5 p.m., didn't arrive at Firestone Fieldhouse till 7:40. The game began at 8:12, which was 42 minutes late.

But Portland, though tardy, gave ground grudgingly, holding Pepperdine to 13-for-30 shooting in the first half before the Waves broke loose for an 80-61 win before 1,722 fans.

Eric White and Dwayne Polee each scored 18 points to lead Pepperdine, which took over sole possession of first place in the West Coast Athletic Conference owing to Loyola's loss to Gonzaga. Grant Gondrezick added 15 points for the Waves, 11 in the second half.

The Waves improved to 9-1 in the WCAC and 21-4 overall as they extended their home-court winning streak to 26 games. Portland dropped to 3-7 and 12-12.

In a first half that saw seven ties, Portland, ranked 14th in the nation with a defense that has been limiting opponents to 60.1 points a game, was stubborn about surrendering baskets. But after the seventh time the score was tied, at 22, Pepperdine, spurred by three close-in baskets and six rebounds by seldom-used center Mike Mounts, went on a 16-6 spurt and led at halftime, 38-28.

The Waves never trailed after that.

Pepperdine Coach Jim Harrick said that Mounts, who entered the game when regular center Levy Middlebrooks got in foul trouble, "gave us a big lift in the first half. He was the key to getting us over the hump.

Harrick said he also used Mounts more than he usually does because the substitute center plays well in a man-to-man situation.

The Waves improved on offense in the second half, hitting 19-of-26 shots (73%). They finished with 57% shooting (32 for 56).

Pepperdine also won the rebounding battle. Anthony Frederick grabbed a game-high eight for the Waves, and Mounts finished with 7 rebounds.

Portland shot 46.3% (25 for 54) from the field and was 11 for 13 from the foul line.

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