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Pepperdine Hits Rock Bottom

College basketball: San Francisco wins rematch, 63-51. Waves will occupy last place alone for first time since 1977-78.


MALIBU — This time, San Francisco didn't need a miracle comeback.

The Dons left Pepperdine's basketball team broken-hearted in San Francisco last month by rallying from a 20-point second-half deficit, but beating the Waves in Friday night's rematch wasn't nearly as difficult.

An aggressive defense and a big second half were all San Francisco needed to cruise to a 63-51 West Coast Conference victory before 2,375 at Firestone Fieldhouse.

It was the fewest points Pepperdine has scored in a game this season, eclipsing the previous low recorded in its 56-54 loss at San Francisco on Jan. 13. The Waves (9-16, 2-11 in the WCC) shot a season-low 36.8% (21 of 57) in extending their losing streak to seven games.

All that remains for Pepperdine is its homecoming game at 5 tonight against San Diego and the knowledge it will draw the conference champion, either Gonzaga or Santa Clara, in the first round of the WCC tournament March 2 at Santa Clara. This is the first time since the 1977-78 season that the Waves will finish alone in last place.

"It all comes down to the conference tournament," Pepperdine interim Coach Marty Wilson said. "There could be some upsets. Teams sometimes get tight and nervous. We have nothing to be nervous about. We just need to come out and play strong."

Pepperdine will need a far better effort than it gave Friday to post any tournament upsets. The Waves missed all 10 of their three-point shot attempts, breaking a streak of 139 games in which they had made a three-point basket. In their last three games, they have made only three of 30 three-point tries.

San Francisco (15-10, 8-5) outscored the Waves, 36-23, in the second half after trailing by one at halftime. Guard Gerald Walker's three-point play gave the Dons the lead for good, 37-34, with 15 minutes 9 seconds left, and started an 11-4 run.

"We came out in the second half and gave a very spirited effort," said San Francisco Coach Phil Mathews, whose team moved into sole possession of third place. "We played great defense throughout the whole game."

When he took the court Friday, Mathews was given a standing ovation by a large contingent of fans from San Francisco and Ventura College, where he coached the previous 10 seasons.

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