Last Saturday's 72-70 loss to Santa Clara does not mean the end of Pepperdine's basketball season, despite disciplinary problems with Tom Lewis and the temporary benching of Doug Christie, Craig Davis and Geoff Lear.
Ron Reis, the Broncos' 7-foot, 1-inch, 285-pound sophomore center, scored eight points inside before a makeshift Pepperdine lineup could get organized, and Santa Clara seized a 14-0 lead. The Waves made a strong charge in the second half and even went ahead by a basket late in the game.
Coach Tom Asbury said that he doubted that "one loss (at Santa Clara) will affect the final league standings, but you never know. We just had a bad night up there.
"There are a lot of ebbs and flows during the course of a season. Santa Clara played well--and not just against us (this season)."
Pepperdine will continue its conference schedule this weekend, playing host to Portland (4-11, 1-1) at 7:30 p.m. Friday and to Gonzaga (6-9, 1-1) at 7:30 p.m. Saturday at Firestone Fieldhouse.
After last week's conference opener, an 88-78 victory over San Diego, Asbury was quoted as saying, "That's the thing. You can have a slow beginning, and there's always conference play. After that, there's the conference tournament. There's always plenty of time to redeem yourself."
He said this week that he is optimistic about his team and that the loss to Santa Clara "is over and done with, and we have to go on from here.
"We can't feel sorry for ourselves; we've got to continue on and get better. We still control our destiny in this conference."
That may be true, but the most that the Waves can expect from destiny may be just a second-place finish behind nationally ranked Loyola Marymount, both in the WCC race as well as in the conference tournament.
The Lions (11-3, 2-0), are threatening to make a runaway of the conference race. Loyola is the only team that does not have at least one conference loss and the only WCC team with an overall record above .500.
Asbury was asked if he thinks that any WCC team can stop the Lions, and he answered:
"Probably not. Loyola is playing very well."
But he is more concerned with his own team. The Waves have problems, he said. "We are turning the ball over a little bit too much and not rebounding enough, but these things can be solved."
Pepperdine is averaging about 20.5 turnovers a game, and opponents are out-rebounding the Waves by an average of two a game.
Mark Georgeson, the 6-foot, 10-inch sophomore transfer from Arizona, has had surgery three times in the last couple of years for stress fractures in the big toe of his right foot, and he does not seem to have recovered completely. Georgeson has played only about 18 minutes a game in 11 appearances since he became eligible on Dec. 16. He is averaging just four points and 2.5 rebounds.
Georgeson appeared briefly in three games for Arizona and hasn't played much at all since he graduated from Marina School in Huntington Beach. Asbury said that the sophomore center has been "inactive for over 2 1/2 years. . . . He is talented, but he is going to be up and down. He has to be patient with himself and we with him, but he is going to be a fine player."
Asbury said that senior Shann Ferch is still adjusting to the switch from off-guard to point guard but that he "played very, very well at the University of San Diego. You don't become a point guard overnight." He said that sophomore Rick Welch, the back-up point guard, has also played well.
Portland lost to the University of San Francisco, 77-75, in its conference opener but bounced back to defeat St. Mary's, 58-46. Portland Coach Larry Steele missed the St. Mary's game.