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WEST COAST CONFERENCE MEN'S TOURNAMENT

Pepperdine Surges Late to Beat Loyola

March 07, 2004|Rob Fernas | Times Staff Writer

SANTA CLARA, Calif. — A rare matchup between Pepperdine and Loyola Marymount in the West Coast Conference tournament Saturday night produced a familiar result.

Pepperdine beat its cross-town rival for the 13th consecutive time, using a late spurt to pull away for a 78-67 quarterfinal victory in front of 4,500 at the Leavey Center.

But extending the winning streak might have come with a price. Junior forward Glen McGowan, the Waves' leading scorer, suffered an injury to his right knee in the final minutes and limped off the court.

Coach Paul Westphal said McGowan would be examined after the game and his status was uncertain for tonight's semifinal against second-seeded Saint Mary's at 6.

McGowan was more optimistic immediately after the game.

"I banged knees," McGowan said. "I'll be all right."

With starting center Derick Grubb already nursing an injured back that limited him to two minutes in a reserve role Saturday, the Waves could ill-afford to lose the inside presence and scoring of the 6-foot-9 McGowan. He had 20 points, including four dunks, against Loyola Marymount.

Pepperdine started 6-foot-2 Keith Jarbo in place of 6-10 Grubb, but the smaller lineup didn't hinder the Waves, who outrebounded the Lions, 41-28.

Forward Yakhouba Diawara had 16 points and a game-high 11 rebounds, guard Alex Acker had 16 points and six assists, and reserve guard Terrance Johnson had 13 points, nine on three-point shots, for the Waves.

Westphal credited the defense of Jarbo and point guard Marvin Lea with helping Pepperdine limit Loyola Marymount to 28 points in the second half and 41.7% shooting for the game.

"Keith is short but he's not small," Westphal said of Jarbo.

"He sticks his nose in there and gets rebounds and steals, and he can pretty much guard anybody. He gives us an extra tough defender out there."

Pepperdine's interior defense limited Lion forward Sherman Gay to 12 points and eight rebounds, a far cry from his 30-point, 15-rebound effort in the first round Friday against Portland.

"They did a nice job on Sherman," Lion Coach Steve Aggers said. "They doubled [teamed] him occasionally, and they got real physical with him.

"We rode his shoulders a lot [Friday] night, and I think he got a little fatigued in the second half."

It was the ninth victory in the last 12 games for third-seeded Pepperdine (15-15).

Seventh-seeded Loyola Marymount finished 15-13. The Southland rivals were meeting in the WCC tournament for only the fourth time in 18 seasons and for the first time since 1993.

The game turned on a series of runs in a seesaw second half.

Pepperdine capitalized on four Loyola Marymount turnovers to open the half with an 8-0 spurt for a 49-39 lead.

The Waves extended the margin to as many as 12 before the Lions responded with a 13-2 run, capped by Charles Johnson's baseline jump shot to tie the score, 58-58, with 6:29 to play.

Pepperdine, though, still had a finishing kick.

In the span of a little more than a minute, the Waves put together a 10-0 spurt on layups by McGowan and Diawara and successive three-point baskets by Johnson to rebuild their lead to 68-58 with 4:35 left.

"We overloaded one side, like you do against a zone, and I just happened to be open and knocked down shots," Johnson said.

Johnson put Loyola Marymount away with a one-handed dunk on an alley-oop pass from Lea for a 72-62 lead with 1:23 to play.

"They hit big shots, so credit them," Lion forward Keith Kincade said.

Kincade scored only four of his game-high 21 points in the second half, when Jarbo's aggressive defense helped shut him down.

"They're a very quick and very athletic," Aggers said of Pepperdine. "They did a good job with their run-and-jump defense in the second half. It kind of got us out of an offensive rhythm."

It was an old story for Loyola Marymount, which has not beaten Pepperdine since 1999.

"We're going to hear that until we beat them," Aggers said. "It's difficult because they're our cross-town rival. We're going to figure it out."

*

In the other quarterfinal game:

Santa Clara 81, San Francisco 75 -- The host Broncos (16-15) pulled away down the stretch to set up a semifinal meeting with top-seeded and fourth-ranked Gonzaga at 9 tonight in an ESPN-televised game. San Francisco finished 17-14.

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