No. 16 Zags Pound Pepperdine In WCC Opener, 87-70
Jan 8, 2004
By JOHN NADEL
MALIBU, Calif. (AP) - Pepperdine took care of the ball about as well as possible against No. 16 Gonzaga.
Unfortunately, the Waves weren't very good when they shot it or went for the rebound while Gonzaga was quite proficient in both departments.
Cory Violette had 20 points and nine rebounds, and Blake Stepp scored 16 of his 19 points in the second half Thursday night to help the Bulldogs beat the Waves 87-70 in a West Coast Conference opener.
Gonzaga shot 28-of-47 (59.6 percent) including 10-of-17 from 3-point range and won the rebounding battle 44-25.
The Waves, meanwhile, shot 26-of-70 (37.1 percent) including 8-of-30 from beyond the arc.
So they lost decisively despite committing only three turnovers to Gonzaga's 16.
"They shoot a lot of 3s, they shoot a lot early," Stepp said. "They have no conscience out there, it seems like. If they get it going, it's scary. Luckily, they didn't do that tonight."
Stepp played only 11 minutes in the first half because of foul problems and 19 in the second.
"I pretty much had to wait for the second half," he said.
The win was the fourth straight for the Bulldogs (11-2) while the Waves (5-11) lost their fifth in a row - their longest losing streak since the 1996-97 season.
"Somewhere in there, we're doing something right," Pepperdine coach Paul Westphal said, noting the differential in turnovers and shot attempts. "But they killed us on the boards.
"They're very good. They shot really well, we shot very poorly."
Gonzaga has won eight of the last nine games between the teams and has a 50-7 conference record since Mark Few became its coach before the 1999-2000 season.
"We had a good approach - playing on the road, playing aggressive," Few
"It's a huge win, without a doubt," Violette said. "Every road win in conference is huge - especially at Pepperdine."
Regarding his team's dominance on the backboards, Violette said: "That was one of our goals coming in, to get a good glass deficit on them."
Kyle Bankhead and Errol Knight added 10 points each for Gonzaga and Bankhead also had eight rebounds.
"He's been solid all year," Few said of Bankhead. "In some ways, he's been our MVP. He's just rock solid. He's a tough, tough kid who does exactly what you want him to do."
Ronny Turiaf was held to nine points and seven rebounds, but it didn't matter.
Glen McGowan led Pepperdine with 20 points and six rebounds. Shaun Davis added 16 points and six assists and Terrance Johnson scored 15 for the Waves, but shot 5-of-21.
A 3-pointer by Johnson capped a 10-3 run by Pepperdine that cut Gonzaga's lead to 50-42 early in the second half.
That was as close as the Waves would get.
A three-point play by Violette finished an 11-4 spurt that featured two 3-pointers by Stepp, making it 68-52 with 8:41 remaining.
The Bulldogs stretched their lead to 73-55 before Johnson made a pair of 3-pointers to move within 12 points with 5? minutes left.
But Stepp's 3-pointer triggered a 7-2 run that put the game out of reach.
Johnson made a 3-pointer in the opening seconds of the game, but the Bulldogs scored the next eight points - five by Violette - to go ahead for good.
Gonzaga led 12-5 before Davis made a basket to end a streak of 10 straight missed shots by Pepperdine.
The Waves drew within one point twice before freshman Derek Raivio, who brought a 2.6-point average into the game, made back-to-back 3-pointers to trigger a 19-5 run, giving the Bulldogs a 39-24 lead.
It was 40-27 at halftime.
Gonzaga's only two losses this season were to No. 4 Stanford 87-80 and No. 9 Saint Joseph's 73-66.
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