Waves hope to come crashing down on third-ranked Bulldogs

Feb 14, 2015 - 4:06 PM Spokane, WA (SportsNetwork.com) - The third-ranked Gonzaga Bulldogs continue their quest for yet another West Coast Conference crown, as they welcome the Pepperdine Waves to the McCarthey Athletic Center for a Valentine's Day tussle.

At 15-10 overall and 8-6 in conference, Pepperdine has enjoyed a decent season. Although, the team has yet to win more than three consecutive games, and will be seeking an end to a brief two-game skid today. A 69-52 setback at Portland on Thursday was the Waves' most recent, dropping them to 7-5 in true road games. The team had won its previous two on enemy hardwood.

Gonzaga extended the nation's longest home winning streak to 39 games on Thursday, as the Bulldogs thrashed the Lions of Loyola Marymount in an 80-51 final. The triumph improved the Zags to 25-1 on the season, and it was their 18th straight win since suffering a 66-63 overtime loss at Arizona back on Dec. 6.

These two teams met on Pepperdine's home court on Jan. 15, and the Bulldogs slipped by in a 74-72 final. As a result, Gonzaga's lead in the all-time series now stands at 47-31, and its has won 42 of the last 47 meetings overall. The Waves' last win in the series came at home in an 88-79 final on Jan. 18, 2002.

Poor shooting proved to be Pepperdine's downfall at Portland on Thursday, as the team made good on only 36.2 percent of its field goal attempts, which included a 6-of-22 effort from 3-point range. The team's defensive stand permitted the Pilots 50.9 percent success from the floor, although they missed the mark on 12 of their 16 long-range launches. Stacy Davis notched a double- double consisting of 18 points and 10 rebounds for the Waves, who also received 14 points on 4-of-7 shooting from distance from Amadi Udenyi. A 39-26 deficit on the glass also played an integral role in Pepperdine coming out on the short end of the final score.

The Waves don't crash the boards as hard as they need to, as they sit at -0.6 in rebounding margin, but they do a nice job defensively in allowing only 62.7 ppg on typical shooting outputs of .417 overall and .273 from beyond the arc. At the offensive end, the team has struggled to score at times, mustering up just 65.3 ppg in hitting a mere 31.6 percent of its 3-point tries. Davis (15.8 ppg, 7.7 rpg. 1.0 bpg) paces the unit in scoring, rebounding and blocks, while Jett Raines nets 11.2 ppg on 50.2 percent field goal accuracy as the team's only other double-digit scorer.

Gonzaga took a 20-0 lead to begin Thursday's game against Loyola Marymount, and cruised from there in becoming the first team in the country this season to reach 25 wins. Kyle Wiltjer was once again high man for the Bulldogs as he poured in 21 points while also coming up with 10 rebounds. He combined with Kevin Pangos (nine points) to drain seven treys, helping the team shoot 49.1 percent from the floor in the process. The Bulldogs played stingy defense as well, holding the Lions to 29.4 percent shooting, which included a 6-of-19 performance out on the perimeter. A 46-30 advantage on the glass was also instrumental in Gonzaga posting the easy win.

Wiltjer produces 16.5 ppg thanks to a 53.9 percent shooting effort, which encompasses his 45.3 percent showing from 3-point land. He is joined in double figures by fellow starters Pangos (12.0 ppg), Byron Wesley (10.8 ppg) and Przemek Karnowski (10.7 ppg), with Domantas Sabonis (9.9 ppg) close to joining them, although he has started only one game this season. As a team, Gonzaga is lighting up the scoreboard to the tune of 80.7 ppg, while permitting a mere 60.3 ppg, and the Bulldogs are outshooting the opposition (.530 to .380 overall, .402 to .319 3-point), while outworking them on the glass (38.5 to 29.6 rpg).

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