Special for the Malibu Times
The Pepperdine Waves men’s basketball team will look to extend their winning streak on Saturday, while the Waves women’s team will look to dribble a win closer to a record .500.
The Women’s 3-5 team will host Boise State at 1 p.m. at Firestone Fieldhouse in Pepperdine. The men’s 4-8 team will host Southeast Missouri four hours later on the same court.
Both Waves bands last played late last week. The women’s team was defeated 71-75 at Portland State on Dec. 10. The men’s group defeated Alabama State 79-62 at home the following day.
Alabama State played with more energy at first, said Lorenzo Romar, Pepperdine’s men’s basketball coach, but a few players kept the Waves in the competition in the first half.
“Houston Mallette really carried us on the offensive side and Keith Fisher III grabbed 10 rebounds,” Romar said. “Between these two guys, they got us into the second half.”
The Waves trailed by 10 points with nine minutes left in the first half, but with Mallette scoring all but six of Pepperdine’s first 26 points, the Waves held a 36-34 halftime lead.
Mallette, a freshman guard, who led Pepperdine with 24 points, scored 20 of his points in the first half.
“In the first half, I was able to get a few shots and get going,” recalled Mallette, who had five three-pointers in the game. “I devote a lot of time and work to my craft, so these are shots that I practice. The coaches believe in me. I believe in myself. “
Pepperdine controlled the game throughout the second half. Junior forward Jan Zidek knocked down two triples to give the Waves an eight-point cushion just after halftime. Alabama State cut Pepperdine’s lead to two points a few times, but a triple and a jumper from freshman forward Maxell Lewis put the Waves up 59-49. Then senior guard Jade’ Smith had six points in a 10-0 run that gave Pepperdine an 18-point lead with 4:40 left in the game. Alabama State never threatened the home team until the end, and Pepperdine finished with a 17-point win, its biggest winning margin of the season.
Graduate transfer forward Fisher grabbed all of his rebounds in the first half. Zidek scored 11 of 16 points in the second half, while Smith finished with 11 points, seven rebounds, four steals and three assists. Lewis had 10 points. Additionally, junior center Victor Ohia Obioha and sophomore forward Kendall Munson hosted a block party on defense. Obioha had four blocks and Munson had three.
Romar said Pepperdine played better ball in the second half.
“I think we did a much better job defensively,” he said. “We did a much better job of getting into position to take shots. Eventually we were able to wear [Alabama State] lower it a bit and make the game a lot easier for us.
Romar said more than one player can lead Pepperdine.
“We have several guys who can make hoops,” he said. “It was a collective effort on our part in the second half to get this one out.”
On Monday, Dec. 13, Mallette was named West Coast Conference freshman for his performance against Alabama State and the two threes he hit in the 82-69 win over Alabama. Pepperdine vs. San Jose State on Dec. 6. over 50 percent of the field in both contests.
The Waves women’s team shot 52% from the field and four players scored in double figures against Portland State but still fell by four points.
Senior guard Malia Bambrick had 12 points, three assists, three boards and three steals in the contest. Redshirt junior guard Jayla Ruffus-Milner scored 12 points and grabbed five rebounds. Senior guard Cheyenne Givens had 10 points and five assists, while freshman forward Meaali’i Amosa also scored 10 points and grabbed four rebounds.
Pepperdine led 18-13 late in the first quarter and pushed its lead to seven points before Portland State raced to take a 35-31 halftime lead.
Portland State extended its lead to 10 points and then led 48-37 in the third quarter. However, the Waves made an effort to cut Portland State’s lead to 54-49. In the fourth quarter, Pepperdine surged eight points to take a 63-62 lead, but Portland State made its own scoring push to earn six points. Amosa splashed back-to-back jump shots to close the wave deficit; however, Portland State scored the final four points of the contest to win.
Pepperdine’s men’s team beat San Jose State before defeating Alabama State. The Waves opened their season with a loss to Rice on Nov. 9. They then beat Idaho State before falling to the Utah Valley. The team beat UC Davis before losing games to UC Irvine, Fresno State, TCU, Grand Canyon, Nevada and UC Santa Barbara. Pepperdine plays Oregon three days after hosting Southeast Missouri.
The Waves women’s team started the season with a loss at UCLA on Nov. 10 before beating Eastern Washington. The platoon fell to UC Santa Barbara, then took down UAB and fell to Cal State Fullerton. Pepperdine beat CSU Bakersfield, then lost to California Baptist and Portland State. Twelve days after hosting Boise State, the Waves host Pacific, their final contest of 2021.