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Another Bad Stretch of Road for Pepperdine

Men's basketball: Waves play New Mexico at The Pit on Tuesday night in the second round of NIT.

March 16, 2001|STEVE HENSON | TIMES STAFF WRITER

The National Invitation Tournament is becoming a series of reconnaissance missions for Pepperdine, which must visit a hostile arena again in the second round.

The Waves defeated Wyoming, 72-69, at Laramie, Wyo., on Wednesday night behind 29 points by Brandon Armstrong.

Now they must travel to Albuquerque to play New Mexico on Tuesday night at The Pit, where the Lobos beat Baylor in the first round in front of 11,451.

"I can't remember when there has been that much excitement here," said Fran Fraschilla, New Mexico's second-year coach. "I know that's the way it used to be, but that is the best crowd we've had since I've been here."

New Mexico (20-12) is led by Ruben Douglas, from Bell-Jeff High, who scored 27 points against Baylor.

Pepperdine's victory over Wyoming was significant because the Waves lost most road games against quality opponents this season, including Indiana, Georgia, Nevada Las Vegas, USC and Gonzaga.

Brigham Young defeated New Mexico for the Mountain West Conference championship. Pepperdine and New Mexico have several common opponents, including Utah, which defeated Pepperdine at home and defeated the Lobos in two of three conference games.

New Mexico's most impressive nonconference victory came at Gonzaga, 81-80. The Lobos beat UNLV twice but lost twice to Wyoming.

Douglas, a sophomore transfer from Arizona, leads the Lobos with a 15.9 scoring average and 54 three-pointers in 26 games since becoming eligible Dec. 16. The 6-foot-4 shooting guard likely will be matched against Armstrong.

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