Poor Shooting Costs Pepperdine : Waves' Rally Falls Short as Connecticut Wins, 63-60

Times Staff Writer

Pepperdine lost to Connecticut, 63-60, Saturday night before 3,204 fans at Firestone Fieldhouse in Malibu.

The Waves, who fell to 6-5, made only 33% of their shots in the first half and 41% in the game, far below their usual average of 56% in home games.

They played poorly in other aspects of the game, too, missing some uncontested layups and committing turnovers at key moments.

Pepperdine, after trailing early, took a 16-11 lead on a follow shot by Tom Lewis with 11:36 left in the half. But the Waves didn't score for the next seven minutes.

A three-point shot by Phil Gamble gave Connecticut the lead, 18-16. After that, the Huskies (7-2) never trailed. They led at halftime, 33-25.

In the second half, Pepperdine still wasn't shooting well, and Connecticut increased its lead to as many as 11 points.

But Lewis, who finished with a team-high 16 points on 5-of-15 shooting, made a three-pointer and followed with two foul shots. Suddenly, Pepperdine had pulled within six points at 57-51 with 3:51 to play.

About two minutes later, Marty Wilson drove the lane and banked in a shot, and Dexter Howard dunked the ball after he picked off a Connecticut inbounds pass. With 1:33 to go, Pepperdine trailed, 61-60.

Connecticut missed its next two shots, and Wilson rebounded for Pepperdine, which called time out with 20 seconds remaining.

When play resumed, Davis, who finished with 13 points, launched a three-point attempt from near the top of the key, but the ball rimmed the basket, and Connecticut got the rebound. The Waves were reduced to fouling, and Tate George sank both ends of a one-and-one for the final margin.

Pepperdine Coach Jim Harrick said that Davis did not shoot the three-point attempt on his own. "We wanted the first open shot," Harrick said. "I would have liked it better if he had been a step closer, but it was a good open shot.

"(Connecticut) played with a lot of emotion, something we didn't do."

Harrick said that Howard, who finished with 11 points, did a nice job for Pepperdine but that Davis, Lewis and Levy Middlebrooks, who finished with 14 points and 10 rebounds, "weren't in the game."

Connecticut had three players in double figures, led by Cliff Robinson with 18 points.

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