No. 6 San Diego (7-9) vs. No. 7 Pepperdine (4-12)
Season series: San Diego won 2-0
Game time: 8:30 p.m.
It is the second consecutive year San Diego and Pepperdine will meet in the second round of the WCC Championships. San Diego took that matchup and has won five straight against the Waves. It will also be the second time the two teams will play each other in less than a week.
The winner faces BYU.
Probable starters: Lorne Jackson, Jordan Baker, Nikolas Skouen, Stacy Davis, Moriba De Freitas
The Waves have continued to be on the short end of a number of close matchups. Their inexperience is what has come back to bite them, especially in late game situations.
In two of those games (San Diego and San Francisco), they lost by a combined 13 points on the road.
“Our game against San Francisco and our game San Diego are very similar in a number of ways,” Pepperdine head coach Marty Wilson said. “I thought we executed well in certain areas. For the most part, the frustrating thing, the most disappointing thing is that with a young team, inexperience team… our margin for error is very small. “
“We have to concentrate better, whether its executing a play… or just concentrating at the defensive end. That’s where we’ve been losing those games, those mental lapses that we’ve been having.”
Pepperdine has been trying to work out the point guard situation ever since they lost Caleb Willis at the beginning of league play. Jordan Baker and Lorne Jackson have taken up much of the load but they have been able to get a breather with the play of walk-on Austin Mills.
Mills missed Saturday’s game due to illness and Wilson hopes to have him back for today.
Probable starters: Johnny Dee, Chris Anderson, Ken Rancifer, Chris Manresa, Dennis Kramer
Since the Toreros win over BYU on Feb. 7, San Diego has won only one game and that was last Saturday against this same Pepperdine team. The difference for San Diego? Mike Davis.
Davis went out with a knee injury on Jan. 24 at Saint Mary’s and missed the next nine games, a stretch in which the Toreros went 2-7. According to Head Coach Bill Grier, the team missed the junior reserve’s toughness.
“Not having Mike Davis around really hurt our group,” Grier said. “It hurt our depth but it also took away a guy who was... a pretty vital part coming off the bench. He’s really a tough, physical guard.”
Davis returned against Pepperdine and, despite only playing two minutes, gave a boost to his teammates.
“It has been a little of a shot in the arm even though he play two minutes on Saturday, that kind of helped our guys just knowing he’s back,” Grier said.
San Diego also has been working out to find the right combination down on the post. Dennis Kramer has found his way back into the starting lineup and has played well of late. Jito Kok, who was named to the All-WCC Freshman Team on Tuesday, has also been a big factor off the bench.
Kok averaged a league-best 1.8 blocks per game.
Predicted winner: San Diego