If Pepperdine hadn't shut down hot-shooting Gabriel Parizzia of Nevada Reno in the second half, the Waves probably wouldn't have been in the ball game Thursday night.
But after the 6-foot 7-inch junior from Argentina scored 22 first-half points, he was held to one three-point basket in the second half.
Although Tom Lewis scored a career-high 34 points and guarded Parizzia in the second half, Pepperdine (3-0) still struggled to a 97-91 win over the Wolf Pack (1-1) before 2,153 fans at Firestone Fieldhouse in Malibu.
Parizzia, who played with the Argentinian junior national team, should be nicknamed the Pampas Pistol if he already isn't. The transfer from Northern Idaho College made 8 of 13 shots in the first half, including 3 of 4 from three-point range.
The Waves still led at halftime, 41-37, but chiefly because they made 13 of 17 foul shots to 4 of 8 for the Wolf Pack. Lewis also scored 4 points in the first half after two technical fouls were called on the Nevada Reno bench.
Pepperdine Coach Jim Harrick said that "we extended on" Parizzia in the second half "because we knew he couldn't drive to the basket." He also had Lewis guard Parizzia, who fouled out late in the game, in the second half.
If Parizzia looked good shooting in the second half, Lewis looked anything but. The transfer from USC made many of his points by bulldozing his way to the basket. Often he failed to get a shot off, but was fouled. He was 11 of 18 from the field and 12 of 16 from the foul line.
Pepperdine's Levy Middlebrooks scored 26 points and grabbed a game-high 10 rebounds.
Parizzia fouled out with 4:41 remaining and the Waves ahead, 81-73. But the Wolf Pack wasn't out of it yet.
With 1:28 remaining, Boris King made two half-court steals and drove for two dunks to cut Pepperdine's lead to 92-87.
But Lewis and Donnie Moore each made two free throws down the stretch for the game's final margin.
Harrick said he thought his team was "very tired. Boy, I was worried about our ball-handling, foul shooting (34 of 43) and defense.
"And we didn't shoot or rebound well."