Pepperdine men’s basketball comes back to defeat San Diego

Pepperdine men's basketball players (from left) Houston Mallette, Ethan Anderson, Jevon Porter, and Boubacar Coulibaly celebrate Saturday, Jan. 13, during the Waves' 83-77 win over San Diego, the team's first on the road since 2021. Photo by Morgan Davenport

Waves go on 17-0 run late in the game, snap 29-game road losing streak

The Pepperdine Waves men’s basketball team battled back from a double-digit deficit to defeat the San Diego Toreros on Jan. 13. 

The Waves went on a 17-0 run in the final six minutes of the contest to down the Toreros 83-77 at Jenny Craig Pavilion in San Diego. 

Junior wing player Michael Ajayi led the Waves with 24 points and 12 rebounds. Junior guard Houston Mallette scored 23 points and had five assists, and redshirt junior forward Boubacar Coulibaly recorded a career-high 17 points and tallied three steals and four rebounds. 

The Waves scoring run began with a turnaround jump shot from Ajayi. The run continued with sophomore forward Jevon Porter driving to the basket and getting fouled while completing a layup. Porter’s score cut the Toreros’ lead to four points with a little over five minutes left in the game. San Diego led 71-69 when Mallette received the ball just above the foul line. The guard curled around the lane and swished a jumper that tied the contest. Mallette swished a three-point shot on the next play that gave Pepperdine a lead, which they never relinquished. 

Ajayi hit four clutch foul shots with under a minute left in the game, and Mallette shot 50 percent from the three-point land. Porter scored seven points and grabbed nine rebounds. He also had three steals. 

Pepperdine outscored San Diego 21-6 in the final minutes of the game. The Waves’ defense forced 15 San Diego turnovers. Pepperdine outrebounded the Toreros 34-28. 

The win put an end to the Waves’ 29-game road losing streak. Pepperdine’s last road win was over San Diego in February 2021. 

The Waves enter Thursday’s home game against West Coast Conference rival Gonzaga with a 9-10 record, including a 2-2 record in the WCC. Pepperdine hosts Loyola Marymount on Saturday at 7 p.m. The Waves play at Santa Clara on Jan. 25. The squad will host San Diego on Jan. 27. 

Pepperdine began the season in November with a victory over Concordia Irvine. The Waves have also beaten Lafayette, LIU, Idaho State, UC San Diego, William & Mary, Westcliff, and Pacific.