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New Wave Too Much to Handle for Seattle


MALIBU — For a team that shot only 42.5% last season, little could have been more welcome than watching junior college transfer Marques Johnson sink a succession of long-range shots Tuesday night in Pepperdine's home opener.

The Waves defeated Seattle, 76-62, in a nonconference game before 723 at Firestone Fieldhouse behind Johnson's 24 points. The junior guard had 17 by halftime, making seven of 10 shots in the half and nine of 14 in the game. Johnson made five three-point baskets.

"I felt a lot of confidence in the first half," said Johnson, who transferred from Indian Hills College in Ottumwa, Iowa. "When my shot is there, I'll take it."

Seattle went to a box-and-one defense after halftime to slow Johnson, but after being shut out for the first 10 minutes of the second half he made two key plays.

Pepperdine's nine-point halftime lead had been cut to 51-46 when Johnson made a steal and a layup. With 6 minutes 30 seconds to play he made his last three-pointer to increase the Waves' lead to 59-52.

"[Johnson] is a true two-guard, something we haven't had," said Pepperdine center Gavin Van Der Putten, who had a game-high 11 rebounds.

A new player also was impressive at point guard. Freshman Tezale Archie had nine points and three assists in place of junior Khary Hervey, who missed the game because of a deep thigh bruise.

"We were a little out of sync without Hervey, but Archie did a good job," Pepperdine Coach Tony Fuller said. "When they adjusted to stop Marques it opened up the middle. But we didn't convert like we should have."

Other than Johnson, the Waves shot poorly. Gerald Brown, an All-West Coast Conference guard, made five of 16 shots, forward Bryan Hill made four of 11 and Van Der Putten made one of four.

However, the trio combined to make 18 of 24 free throws, including several down the stretch. Pepperdine made 31 of 42 free throws, including 20 of 27 in the second half.

Seattle (1-6), an NAIA team that lost to Loyola Marymount on Sunday, could not take advantage of Pepperdine's 38.5% shooting. The Chieftains committed 23 turnovers and were outrebounded, 42-33.

Seattle was an NCAA power when Elgin Baylor played for the Chieftains 35 years ago.

Kenny Bush, a senior guard from Rialto Eisenhower High, scored 18 points for Seattle making six of 14 shots. Center Josh McMillion added 12 points for the Chieftains.

The going gets tougher for Pepperdine (1-1), which lost its opener at South Florida.

The Waves, 1-14 away from home last season, must take to the road for 10 of its next 12 games.

"We will find out a lot about our team," Fuller said.

This game was a good steppingstone to the tougher competition that awaits Pepperdine, Van Der Putten said.

"We have to make each game a step up," he said. "We have to keep improving."


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