In a game of race-horse basketball Wednesday night, Pepperdine stayed with Loyola Marymount for most of the course but faded in the stretch.
The Lions dashed to a 107-95 victory before 3,318 fans at Firestone Fieldhouse in Malibu.
Loyola (21-3 overall and 11-0 in the West Coast Athletic Conference) gained its 18th straight victory and clinched at least a tie for first place in the conference. Pepperdine dropped to 16-8 and 8-3.
It was a game of halves, and only Loyola's Bo Kimble and Hank Gathers seemed to be able to put two good halves together.
Kimble scored a game-high 32 points, including four three-point shots, and he had 18 in the second half when the Lions broke away from the Waves. Gathers had 20, including 12 in the first half.
Pepperdine's Craig Davis scored 13 in the first half, but picked up his fourth foul and missed a good part of the second half, finishing with 17 points.
Wave forward Levy Middlebrooks scored 18 of his 24 points in the first half, and teammate Tom Lewis scored 23 of his 25 in the second half.
Loyola led at halftime, 53-52, and there were eight lead changes and four ties in the first 20 minutes. The biggest lead that either team could manage was seven points, when Pepperdine had a 37-30 advantage with 6:07 left in the half.
Both teams did a lot of running in the first half, but neither did much scoring in the first 13 minutes or so. Pepperdine led, 31-30, at the 6:55 mark.
Then Davis hit two straight three-point shots within seconds, and both teams were off to the races.
Donny Moore started the second half and gave the Waves a 54-53 lead. Then the lead changed hands several times until there was 12:12 left in the game, and the Lions were leading, 71-68.
Then the Lions forced a number of Pepperdine turnovers and outscored the Waves, 12-4, to take an 83-72 lead at the 7:27 mark.
Loyola Coach Paul Westhead said his team was able to turn things around in the second half with its fast break and defensive pressure.
"This was an endurance contest," Westhead said. "We know when we're breaking down defensively, the other team is really breaking down because that is the style of play we've been playing all year."
Pepperdine Coach Jim Harrick said he thought the game's pace was "very entertaining, but we'd like to execute the offense better than we did."
"I didn't see fatigue. Levy (Middlebrooks) hasn't gotten tired since he got here."
But Harrick added that his team "missed shots we should've made and missed rebounds we should have had. . . . They just did everything they've been doing to other teams."
A basket by Moore cut the margin to 83-79, but Pepperdine was never able to get closer.
Lion point guard Corey Gaines, playing with an injured ankle, hit a three-pointer to give his team a 94-85 advantage, and that seemed to finish off the Waves. Gaines finished with 17 points, 11 in the second half, and handed out 11 assists. Moore had 13 assists but only 8 points for Pepperdine.