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Pepperdine Moves Into Semifinals

TIMES STAFF WRITER

As second-seeded Pepperdine took the floor to start the second half against San Francisco on Saturday, it had 20 minutes to not only overcome an 11-point deficit but also extend its season another day and avoid consecutive West Coast Conference tournament upsets.

The Waves responded with perhaps their best defensive half of the season, Kelvin Gibbs enjoyed the best half of his career and a last-second layup by the Dons didn’t fall, giving the Waves a 67-65 victory in the first round of the WCC tournament in front of 2,396 at Toso Pavilion.

For the record:

12:00 AM, Mar. 01, 1999 For the Record
Los Angeles Times Monday March 1, 1999 Home Edition Sports Part D Page 5 Sports Desk 1 inches; 22 words Type of Material: Correction
College basketball--The WCC men’s tournament record for three-point baskets in a game was reported incorrectly in Sunday’s editions. The record is 13.

“We didn’t play a bad first half, but everything was at stake in the second half,” said guard Jelani Gardner, who had 13 points and a season-high 10 assists as the Waves improved to 19-11. “We knew we had to knuckle down and play defense. We felt if we could get some defensive stops in the first five minutes we could get back in it and that’s what we did.”

Gibbs, who finished with a team-high 16 points, had 11 points and all 12 of his rebounds in the second half to spark Pepperdine, which held the Dons (12-18) to 19 points in the second half to win in the WCC tournament for the first time under third-year Coach Lorenzo Romar.

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The Waves play Santa Clara tonight at 8 in their first semifinal appearance since 1996.

Gibbs fouled out with 11 seconds left and the Waves leading, 67-63. Terrence Moore made one free throw but missed the second, and USF’s Gerald Zimmerman was fouled on the rebound. His free throw cut the deficit to 67-65.

Gardner, fouled with five seconds to play, missed a free throw, and USF’s LyRyan Russell grabbed the rebound and dribbled up court. But his layup bounced off the rim as the buzzer sounded.

USF made only seven of 17 free throws in the second half, missing seven of its last nine.

Santa Clara 77, Loyola Marymount 64--In a game that saw the fifth-seeded Lions and fourth-seeded Broncos each make nine three-point baskets, a tournament record, the Broncos built a 13-2 lead that was trimmed to as little as three but never erased.

Senior guard Haywood Eaddy led Loyola (11-16) with 12 points, including two three-point baskets. Nathan Fast led the fourth-seeded Broncos (13-14) with 21 points.

Santa Clara’s Todd Wuschnig was taken to a local hospital at halftime because of an irregular heartbeat and breathing difficulties. Doctors and trainers said it was a precautionary measure, but his status for tonight’s game against Pepperdine is uncertain.

Gonzaga 84, Portland 63--The top-seeded Bulldogs (23-6) jumped out to a 23-9 lead and never looked back, blowing out the eighth-seeded Pilots (9-18) and advancing to the semifinals for the seventh time in eight seasons.

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St. Mary’s 65, San Diego 60--Frank Allocco’s basket with 1:35 to play in overtime gave the sixth-seeded Gaels (13-17) the lead for good in their upset of the third-seeded Toreros (18-9).

WCC Tournament

TOSO PAVILION, SANTA CLARA

SEMIFINALS, TODAY

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* Gonzaga (23-6) vs.

St. Mary’s (13-17), 5:30 p.m.

* Pepperdine (19-11) vs.

Santa Clara (13-14), 8 p.m.

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FINAL, MONDAY

* 9 p.m., ESPN


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