The Pepperdine men's basketball team will be aiming for the top seed, and thus weaker opponents, in the West Coast Athletic Conference tournament when it closes out the regular season Friday night at the University of San Francisco and Saturday night at Santa Clara.
Last week the Waves, 18-9 overall and 10-2 in the conference, remained tied with St. Mary's (22-3, 10-2) for first place in the conference by defeating Gonzaga, 69-66, and Portland, 86-68.
Craig Davis scored 17 points and had three 3-point baskets against Gonzaga and had four 3-pointers and 19 points against Portland. In their last home game, Pepperdine seniors Casey Crawford and Marty Wilson did well against Portland; Crawford had a game-high 15 rebounds and 9 points, and Wilson had a game-high 9 assists and 4 points.
The Waves could finish from first to third place, depending on its games with USF (14-11, 6-6) and Santa Clara (17-8, 6-6) and on how St. Mary's and third-place Loyola Marymount (16-9, 9-3) do this weekend. The Gaels are at sixth-place Gonzaga on Friday night and at seventh-place Portland on Saturday night. The Lions will play Friday at Santa Clara and Saturday at USF.
If Pepperdine wins twice this weekend and St. Mary's loses one game, the Waves would win the championship and the tournament's top seed.
If Pepperdine and St. Mary's finish in a first-place tie, the Gaels would earn the top seed because they defeated Loyola twice, while the Waves split with the Lions.
If Pepperdine and Loyola tie for second, the Waves would be seeded second because they split with St. Mary's and the Lions lost to the Gaels twice.
If Pepperdine loses twice this weekend and Loyola wins two, the Waves would be seeded third.
In earlier games at home, the Waves defeated USF, 71-53, and Santa Clara, 72-63.
Pepperdine Coach Tom Asbury said that both USF and Santa Clara "have played inconsistently during conference action, but both teams have recorded some impressive wins during the season. Hopefully, we can catch them on a down night."
The Santa Monica College men's basketball team, which completed the regular season with a 30-3 overall record, best in school history, is ranked first in the state and is the top seed in the Southern California playoffs, which begin this week.
Coach John McMullen's Corsairs have a bye in the first round and will play host to the winner of Saturday's first-round game between No. 16 Orange Coast (20-11) and No. 17 Los Angeles Harbor (15-13) at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday at Corsair Gymnasium.
If SMC advances to the third round, the Corsairs would play host for the Southern California final at 7:30 p.m. either March 3 or March 4. The top four teams from the south and the north will advance to the state championships March 9-11 at Santa Clara.
Last Saturday the Corsairs extended their school-record winning streak to 18 with a 93-71 victory over Bakersfield. The win gave SMC a 15-0 record in the Western State Conference and its second straight WSC championship. It was also the first time that the Corsairs had gone undefeated in conference play.
The Corsairs have five players who have averaged double figures in scoring, led by Von Shuler at 16.6. The others are Keith Amerson at 13.8, Kemo Patrick at 12.5, Troy Batiste at 11.3 and DeShawn Pullard at 10.4. Reserve Mark Day has averaged 9.7 points and 5.4 rebounds. Amerson and Patrick have averaged 7.2 rebounds to lead the team.
McMullen said that all the teams in the Corsairs' regional bracket are strong, adding:
"I'm just glad we'll be playing at home. We'll take a deep breath, take some time off and get ready for some good practice time during the week off."
The UCLA women's basketball team, 10-12 overall and 6-6 in the Pacific 10 Conference, will play host to Washington State (12-11, 5-8) at 5:15 this evening and to Washington (17-9, 10-3) at 7 p.m. Friday at Pauley Pavilion.
At Friday's game, Girl Scouts wearing their uniforms will be admitted free, and UCLA players will sign autographs afterward.
Last week the Bruins lost to Arizona State, 86-73, but snapped a five-game losing streak with a 75-64 win over Arizona. Rachelle Roulier had a team-high 16 points against the Sun Devils, and Sandra Van Embricqs led the Bruins against Arizona with 21 points and 9 rebounds.
The Pepperdine women's basketball team, 9-17 overall and 4-8 in the West Coast Athletic Conference, will end its season by playing host to the University of San Francisco (6-18, 2-9) at 7:30 p.m. Friday and to Santa Clara (7-18, 3-8) at 7:30 p.m. Saturday at Firestone Fieldhouse.
Last week the Waves split road games, losing to Gonzaga, 59-48, but defeating Portland, 57-50.
At Saturday's game, the No. 44 jersey of former All-American forward Maureen Formico will be retired. Formico, who played from 1982 through 1986, holds school records for career scoring with 2,190 points and single-season scoring with 713.