In order for a team to regroup, it first has to have played as a group. Pepperdine's basketball team, except for its first two games (wins over Oklahoma State and McNeese State) and for much of the time against DePaul, hasn't been at all cohesive.
Coach Jim Harrick's Waves, 4-10 overall and 0-2 in the West Coast Athletic Conference, will need to find some stickum this week if they hope to get into the conference race.
Pepperdine plays host to WCAC opponents Gonzaga (10-4, 2-0) at 7:30 p.m. Friday ; Portland (8-6, 1-1) at 7:30 p.m. Saturday , and Chicago State (7-5 as the week began) in a non-conference game at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday at Firestone Fieldhouse in Malibu.
Last week, the Waves opened up WCAC competition by losing road games to the University of San Francisco, 61-54, and to Santa Clara, 76-50. Pepperdine shot a dismal 33.3% in both games and was held to 21 first-half points against USF and to 18 first-period points against Santa Clara.
The 50 points against the Broncos was the lowest total the Waves have scored since they lost to Fresno State, 63-46, in the 1981-82 season.
"Needless to say, it was a very disappointing weekend," Harrick said. "I was very encouraged with the team after we played 32 solid minutes against DePaul (a 92-75 loss Dec. 30), but we were bothered by the same problems again this past weekend."
One of the biggest problems of late has been poor shooting. After last week's two losses, Pepperdine's shooting percentage dropped from 50.3% to 47.9%.
Redshirt freshman Dexter Howard, a forward who scored a career-high 24 points against DePaul, was 0 for 10 from the field in the USF and Santa Clara games, while redshirt freshman guard Craig Davis was 1 for 14. Davis is shooting just 40.7% from the floor, and the other top guards, juniors Ed Allen and Jim Harrick, are shooting 43.9% and 21.1%.
One bright spot in last weekend's debacle was reserve sophomore center Casey Crawford, who grabbed 20 rebounds and scored 17 points in the two games.
Harrick hopes that "playing at home can give us a boost." But the boost this weekend will have to come against strong defensive teams.