Pepperdine Easily Beats San Diego

Times Staff Writer

The University of San Diego, possibly still in shock after its 40-point loss to Loyola Marymount Friday night, was treated gently by Pepperdine Saturday night.

But the Waves still managed to handle the Toreros with relative ease and won their second West Coast Athletic Conference game without a loss, 92-77, before 2,883 fans at Firestone Fieldhouse in Malibu.

San Diego, which had three freshmen and a sophomore in the starting lineup, lost its second straight conference game and fell to 8-7 overall. Pepperdine raised its overall mark to 10-5.

The young Toreros made things interesting at first, trading leads with the Waves.

But with the Toreros leading, 18-17, and 13:04 left in the half, they suddenly went into a seven-minute cold spell, and Pepperdine scored 17 straight points to take a 34-18 lead at the 6:55 mark.

The Waves led at halftime, 43-32, but San Diego kept chipping away at the lead by hitting three-point shots. Junior guard Danny Means hit 5 of 6 three-pointers, including 4 in the second half. Means and guard Craig Cottrell each scored 20 points to lead the Toreros.

Cottrell sank two foul shots to close the gap to 73-65 with 6:25 left. But that was as close as San Diego got.

The Waves, who shot 58.6% (34 of 58), simply had too much firepower and experience.

Every time San Diego appeared to be getting back into the game, Tom Lewis would sink an outside jumper or drive to the basket and hit a twisting, off-balance shot. Or Levy Middlebrooks would grab a rebound and make a follow shot.

Lewis finished with a game-high 29 points on 10-of-15 shooting. Middlebrooks had 16 points and a game-high 10 rebounds. Wave forward Dexter Howard added 14 points.

Pepperdine Coach Jim Harrick, acknowledging that his team has often played to the level of its competition, nevertheless gave San Diego Coach Hank Egan credit for "a great coaching job."

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