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Pepperdine Slows Down Tempo and Still Loses, 76-74

February 26, 1988|CHRIS ELLO

SAN DIEGO — The Pepperdine basketball team, having seen its share of the run-and-shoot offense and been left gasping for air in a pair of losses to Loyola Marymount last week, decided to ease its foot off the gas pedal Thursday night against the University of San Diego.

A good idea, maybe, but one that still didn't work out. Pepperdine, which allowed 142 points in a loss to Loyola Saturday night, gave up nearly half that Thursday night but still lost to USD, 76-74, in front of 1,833 fans in the USD Sports Center.

Now, its one thing to be out-run by the nation's highest-scoring team, Loyola, but to be out-gunned by a USD team that scored more points in the first half, 42, than it had in two other entire games this season, is a different matter.

Pepperdine (16-10, 8-5) has lost three straight and must win at St. Mary's Saturday night to finish second in the West Coast Athletic Conference. Another loss could drop the Waves to fourth.

"We came off just an unbelievable week of games here (in Los Angeles) last week, and I don't want to say we were flat, but we weren't real sharp," Pepperdine Coach Jim Harrick said.

USD (11-15, 3-10) had something to do with that not playing anything like a seventh-place team that has struggled all year while trying to incorporate as many as six freshmen into its playing rotation.

The Toreros shot 56% from the field and failed to wilt in the closing moments when Pepperdine came from as many as seven points down and made a last run, pulling within 73-72 on a free throw by Levy Middlebrooks with 1:33 remaining.

Marty Munn, who led USD with 21 points, hit a three-point shot at the 1:04 mark to put USD ahead 76-72 and, after Mike Cumberland scored to make it 76-74, Pepperdine couldn't tie in the final seconds.

USD's Randy Thompson intercepted a desperation length-of-the-court in-bounds pass with four seconds left to wrap it up.

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