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TOURNAMENT

Waves Ready to Join Other Dance

NIT: Knocked out in WCC semifinals, Pepperdine settles for NIT game at Wyoming.

March 14, 2001|STEVE HENSON | TIMES STAFF WRITER

Turns out David Lalazarian's Pepperdine career didn't end in a bloody heap after all.

At least not on the floor of Jenny Craig Pavilion in San Diego. A crowd of 7,000 in Laramie, Wyo., might exact its own pound of flesh from the Waves.

The Waves (21-8) visit Wyoming (20-9) in a first-round National Invitation Tournament game tonight with a chance to redeem themselves after falling in the semifinals of the West Coast Conference tournament March 4 at San Diego.

Pepperdine led by 19 points but the lead evaporated in the second half after Lalazarian was pulled to the floor by a high-spirited Bronco and sent to the locker room for stitches.

"All we wanted was another chance to play," Lalazarian said. "The NIT isn't the NCAA, but we have a chance to go out and win something."

Lalazarian, a forward who averages 10.1 points, is one of three Wave seniors. Forward Kelvin Gibbs, who averages 14.9 points and 8.0 rebounds, and point guard Derrick Anderson, who averages 6.9 points and 3.7 rebounds, had similar sentiments.

"The way the conference tournament ended was no fun," Anderson said. "We get another chance to put on our uniforms."

Wyoming, which lost to Brigham Young in the final of the Mountain West Conference tournament, recorded its first 20-victory season since 1990-91 under first-year Coach Steve McClain.

Uche Nsonwu-Amadi, a 6-foot-10, 260-pound center from Nigeria, averages 11.7 points and 8.0 rebounds for the Cowboys. Guard Marcus Bailey averages 17.6 points.

Pepperdine will make its sixth NIT appearance. The most recent was 1999 and the last time the Waves won a game was 1993 against UC Santa Barbara.

Coach Jan van Breda Kolff went to the NIT three times while coach at Vanderbilt, advancing to the final in 1994 before losing to Villanova.

(BEGIN TEXT OF INFOBOX / INFOGRAPHIC)

NIT Schedule

The Southland men's and women's team playing in the National Invitation Tournament. All times PST:

MEN

* UC IRVINE: Tonight, 5 at Tulsa.

* PEPPERDINE: Tonight, 6 at

Wyoming.

*

WOMEN

* PEPPERDINE: Thursday, at Arizona (McKale Center in Tucson), 6 p.m.

* LOYOLA MARYMOUNT: Thursday, vs. Nevada Las Vegas, 7 p.m., Gersten Pavilion.

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