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College Basketball | SOUTHLAND MEN

Thin Pepperdine Fattens Up by Beating Loyola

February 23, 2003|Rob Fernas;Eric Stephens;Lauren Peterson

Pepperdine made up in quality what it lacked in quantity Saturday night.

With only nine players available because of injuries, the Waves still had more than enough to rout Loyola Marymount, 94-71, and make a significant move in the West Coast Conference in front of 2,326 at Firestone Fieldhouse in Malibu.

Sophomore guard Terrance Johnson scored 23 points and was among five Pepperdine players in double figures as the Waves took over sole possession of fourth place. The top four teams earn first-round byes in the conference tournament March 7-10 at San Diego.

"I think it means a lot," Pepperdine Coach Paul Westphal said. "For a team as thin as we are, to have to win four nights in a row [to win the conference tournament] would be a lot to ask."

With its third victory in four games, the Waves (14-11, 6-6) moved a half-game ahead of St. Mary's (12-12, 5-6), which plays host to Santa Clara today. Pepperdine completes conference play with home games Friday against St. Mary's and Saturday against San Francisco.

The Waves had little trouble dispatching Loyola (10-17, 4-8), using their press to force several turnovers in the opening minutes and take a 14-3 lead.

Forward Jimmy Miggins had 20 points, nine rebounds and four steals, and reserve guard Mike Westphal had 16 points, making four three-point baskets, for the Waves. Forward Sherman Gay led Loyola with 14 points, all in the first half.

It was Pepperdine's 10th consecutive victory over its conference rival, and a much easier task than last month's 70-67 nail-biter at Gersten Pavilion.

"When we played them at our place we handled their full-court pressure really well," Loyola Coach Steve Aggers said. "Tonight we just didn't handle their press, we got behind and we kind of had our heads down a little bit."

Rob Fernas

*

UC Irvine 78, Pacific 73 -- Forward Jordan Harris scored 23 points at the Bren Center as Irvine won in overtime to take over first place in the Big West Conference.

The Anteaters (17-7, 11-4) are half a game ahead of UC Santa Barbara and one game ahead of Utah State. Irvine has three games remaining.

"We're just trying to win games and trying to win out and be the No. 1 seed [for the conference tournament]," said Harris, who felt nauseated during the game.

Irvine overcame a 27-2 run by Pacific in the first half and a three-point shot by Miah Davis at the buzzer that forced overtime.

Defense keyed Irvine in overtime. That Anteaters allowed only two field goals, reserve Aras Baskauskas got a steal and guard Mike Hood forced a traveling call on the Tigers' Myree Bowden.

Matt Okoro, who had 12 points and five offensive rebounds, made two free throws with 29 seconds left for Irvine. Harris and Hood each made two foul shots in the final 10 seconds.

"We never quit on the defensive end even though we missed some shots at times," Irvine Coach Pat Douglass said. "We couldn't have done that a month ago."

-- Eric Stephens

*

Cal State Northridge 77, Long Beach State 71 -- Curtis Slaughter had 20 points and eight assists for Northridge (11-13, 5-9 Big West) at Long Beach.

The Matadors moved 1 1/2 games ahead of the 49ers (5-19, 4-11) for the eighth and final qualifying spot in the conference tournament, which is March 13-15 at the Anaheim Convention Center. Northridge has four games remaining, Long Beach has three.

"Being at the bottom is scary," Slaughter said. "Our season hasn't been good and we want to end it on a good run. We're in a battle. It's going to be either them or us."

Northridge made 27 of 44 shots (61.4%) and had four players score in double figures.

Guard Ian Boylan, who made a three-point shot that broke a 43-43 tie, finished with 19 points for Northridge.

Forward Armand Thomas had 11 points, including five during that stretch, and Chris Davis scored 10 points for the Matadors.

Tony Darden had 21 points for Long Beach.

Lauren Peterson

*

UC Riverside 72, Utah State 65 -- Nate Carter had 25 points at Riverside as the Highlanders (6-14, 5-9 Big West) beat the Aggies (19-7, 10-5) for the first time in six games.

Desmond Penigar led Utah State with 17 points and seven rebounds.

Cal State Fullerton 62, Idaho 59 -- Ralphy Holmes scored 20 points for the Titans in a double-overtime victory at Fullerton.

Anthony Bolton had 16 points and eight assists, Bron Groomes had 13 points and 11 rebounds, and Pape Sow had 10 points and 14 rebounds as the Titans (8-16, 6-8 Big West) earned their fourth overtime victory this season.

Dwayne Williams scored 16 points for the Vandals (11-13, 7-8), who have lost three of their last five games.

Detroit Mercy 75, UC Santa Barbara 59 -- Branduinn Fullove had 15 points for the Gauchos (13-12) in a nonconference loss at Santa Barbara.

Willie Green had 24 points for Detroit (14-11).

*

Associated Press

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