Pepperdine (12-8) at Saint Mary's-CA (13-5)

The Sports NetworkJanuary 23, 2014 

GAME NOTES: The Saint Mary's-CA Gaels will continue their six-game homestand on Thursday night, as they host the Pepperdine Waves in a West Coast Conference tilt at McKeon Pavilion.

Pepperdine has won two of its last three games, after book-ending a 70-53 loss to Gonzaga with wins against San Diego (69-65) and Portland (76-65). The Waves are now 12-8 on the campaign, including a 5-3 mark in WCC play. They will visit Pacific next.

Saint Mary's has been nearly impossible to beat at home this season, having posted an 11-1 record at McKeon Pavilion. The Gaels have won four of their last five games and are currently 13-5 overall and 4-2 in league play. They will wrap up this homestand on Saturday against Loyola Marymount.

The Gaels have won 13 straight games against the Waves, including a season sweep last year. However, Pepperdine still leads the all-time series, 68-60.

Balance keyed Pepperdine to its win over Portland. The Waves were paced by 16 points off the bench from Lamond Murray Jr., who was one of four players to reach double figures. The Waves were also helped by a 23-15 scoring edge at the free-throw line, and a 40-27 advantage on the glass.

Pepperdine has a razor thin scoring differential this season (+1.1), as it is netting 71.9 ppg while connecting on 46.6 percent of its field goal tries. Stacy Davis (15.2 ppg, 7.8 rpg) is the team's leader in scoring and on the glass, ranking fourth in the league in rebounds as well. He finished with 14 points and eight rebounds in what was another solid performance against Portland. Brendan Lane (13.9 ppg, 7.7 rpg, 2.4 bpg) is right behind Davis in the rebounding department, while leading the league in blocks. Jeremy Major (11.2 ppg, 4.2 apg) is the best option in the backcourt.

Stephen Holt scored 26 points, Brad Waldow added 22 and Kerry Carter tacked on 21 to account for nearly all of Saint Mary's offensive production in its 79-73 win over Pacific last Saturday. The Gaels earned scoring advantages from beyond the arc (30-15) and at the free throw line (31-22) during the contest.

Although they are not one of the premier offensive squads in the WCC, the Gaels can certainly hold their own. They are netting 75.4 ppg and shooting the third-best percentage from the floor (.473) among conference teams. They are also holding opponents to just 65.6 ppg when pushed back on defense. Waldow (15.9 ppg, 7.1 rpg) is used to being the top scoring option for the Gaels, but Holt (14.1 ppg, 5.1 apg) is also a potent offensive performer. Holt does a good job running the point as well, ranking fourth in the league in assists. Beau Levesque (11.4 ppg, 5.2 rpg) and James Walker III (11.3 ppg) provide added scoring depth.

With Davis and Lane, the Waves are formidable in the frontcourt. However, they do not have the personnel in the backcourt to contend with Holt and company.

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