Pepperdine's basketball team, which likes to run and shoot, will open its West Coast Athletic Conference schedule tonight at 7:30 against St. Mary's, which emphasizes defense and balanced scoring, at Firestone Fieldhouse in Malibu.
The Waves (8-5) also will play host to the University of San Diego (7-5) in a conference game at 7:30 Saturday night.
St. Mary's (8-3) has won five of its last six games and has one of the nation's best records in scoring defense, having allowed opponents an average of 54.6 points a game.
Four have been scoring in double figures. Forwards Erick Newman and Robert Haugen are each averaging 13.5 points a game, center Dan Curry 11.6 and guard Al Lewis 10.9.
Senior Mike Cumberland, ineligible last term, will start at center for Pepperdine in place of sophomore Dexter Howard.