GAME NOTES: In a non-conference matchup at Beasley Coliseum the Washington State Cougars will square off with the Pepperdine Waves on Sunday evening.
A fast start for Pepperdine has faded in recent weeks with the Waves on the short end of three of their last five decisions. Fortunately for the Waves the most recent outing ended in victory, as they shot past UC Irvine (75-69) in the first half of the current two-game road swing. Pepperdine will start a three-game homestand next against Houston Baptist.
For Washington State the season has been a series of inconsistent play. The Cougars have won two of their last three games, capped by a 67-66 road victory over Idaho. However, that has brought the team even at 4-4 on the year. Next up for Washington State is a matchup with San Francisco State.
Each of these teams has three wins in the all-time series. The Waves won the most recent bout with a 58-56 overtime triumph at home a season ago.
Pepperdine needed to fend of the Anteaters down the stretch last time out. The Waves connected on 45.6 percent of their shots from the floor during the contest, led by an 18-point, 10-rebound double-double from Stacy Davis.
For the Waves, efficient shooting has been a common theme this season. Pepperdine is connecting on 50.4 percent of its attempts from the floor. That mark ranks among the top 20 in the country even though the Waves are scoring at a more pedestrian 73.9 points per game. Davis (16.2 ppg, 6.8 rpg) is often the man leading the way on the offensive end, but it is Brendan Lane (15 ppg, 8.4 rpg) that is the more common double-double threat. Jeremy Major (11.1 ppg, 5.3 apg) fills in as a scorer when need be, but is much more important as a distributor. The trio account for a huge bulk of Pepperdine's scoring as no other player is averaging more than eight points per game.
D.J. Shelton sank a pair of free throws with eight seconds to play to lift Washington State over Idaho. Washington State connected on only 39.1 percent of their shots from the floor, but did have a 27-15 scoring advantage from 3- point range. DaVonte Lacy had a lot to do with that as he nailed 5-of-10 shots from beyond the arc to finish with a game-high 23 points.
Offensive woes have certainly cost Washington State thus far. The Cougars rank last in the Pac-12 in scoring (69.3 ppg), field-goal percentage (.425) and assists (11.4 apg). Lacy (21.4 ppg) has carried a ton of the scoring load. An argument could be made that he has been relied on too heavily, as Lacy is the only player averaging in double figures for the Cougars. The 6-foot-4 guard's effort against Idaho marked his fifth game of at least 20 points this season. Royce Woolridge (9.9 ppg) is an effective scorer when given the chance, as he shoots at a 49 percent clip from the field. Shelton (7 ppg, 7.1 rpg) anchors the squad up front, while Ike Iroegbu (8 ppg) provides help off the bench.
As long as Lacy continues to shoot well while also allowing his teammates to lend some more support, the Cougars have the edge in this matchup.
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