The Pepperdine Waves men’s and women’s basketball squads each picked up wins on Nov. 19.
The men’s team defeated the UC Irvine Anteaters 64-55 at Firestone Fieldhouse at Pepperdine, while the women’s squad beat the UC Riverside Highlanders 67-58 that same day at 2022 Great Alaska Shootout in Anchorage, Alaska.
The win was the men’s team’s fourth of the season. The women’s team’s victory was its first.
Sophomore guard Houston Mallette led the men’s team with a game-high 20 points, and graduate transfer Marly Walls, a guard, and sophomore forward Meaali’i Amosa both scored 13 points to lead the women’s squad.
Mallette was proud of how the Waves performed against UC Irvine, who defeated the Pepperdine a season ago.
“We went out there and competed,” he said. “UC Irvine is a really good team. They are well-coached and have a lot of good players. We went out there and we were able to defend and rebound at a really high level especially in the second half. It feels good to get a win.”
UC Irvine had a 15-point lead on the Waves early in the contest, but Pepperdine turned up the defensive intensity in the final 30 minutes and outscored the Anteaters 35-25 in the second half.
Waves head coach Lorenzo Romar said Pepperdine, a team composed mostly of underclassmen, showed a lot of resilience.
“They threw the first punch and it landed,” Romar said of UC Irvine. “I think we turned the ball over three or four of our first possessions, but then after that we only turned it over once or twice the rest of the half. We regained our composure, and I thought this group grew up a little more tonight.”
Mallette made all three of this three-point attempts, went seven of eight from the foul line and grabbed eight rebounds. Freshman forward Jevon Porter had seven points, nine rebounds, three steals, and three blocks. Maxell Lewis, a sophomore forward, had nine points, and Boubacare Coulibaly, also a sophomore forward, had eight points, six rebounds, and three blocks.
Pepperdine held the Anteaters to 28.4 percent shooting for the contest.
The Waves, Romar said, stood out on defense.
“I thought our guys were to a man locked in and didn’t guard one individual with one individual,” he said. “Our team guarded their different guys really good. I was really proud of our defensive effort.”
UC Irvine led 21-6 after 10 minutes, but the game turned the Waves’ way when senior forward Jan Zidek scored to start a 14-0 run. A bucket by freshman guard Malik Moore gave the Waves their first lead of the game, but a few scores by the Anteaters put them ahead 30-29 at halftime.
The Waves took ahold of the contest when UC Irvine missed 15 consecutive shots during a 10-minute stretch in the second half. A basket by Coulibaly gave Pepperdine a 49-42 lead, and he then had a three-point play with a little over eight minutes left in the game. The Waves made 11 of 16 foul shots down the final stretch of the game to secure their nine-point win.
Walls and Amosa weren’t the only Waves to score in double figures during the women’s team’s victory over UC Riverside. Sophomore guards Ally Steadman and Helena Friend each tallied 12 points. Friend also had two steals, and Steadman dished out five assists.
The Waves scored 25 points in the first quarter by repeatedly feeding the ball inside the paint to Amosa and Theresa Grace Mbanefo, who scored eight points, in the post. The Highlanders then scored 28 points in the second quarter to take a 40-32 lead at halftime.
In the third quarter, Pepperdine turned up their defensive pressure via a full-court press that led to them going on a 14-9 run. Amosa scored six of her points in the stretch and UC Riverside held a 49-46 lead. The Waves outscored UC Riverside 21-9 in the fourth quarter, which included making all 10 of their foul shots, to win the game.
The women’s squad entered their home opener against Concordia University Irvine on Tuesday with a 1-3 record. Before beating UC Irvine, Pepperdine had lost games to UNLV, UC Santa Barbara, and La Salle. The Waves play at Cal State Fullerton on Nov. 28 and host Nebraska-Omaha on Dec. 1.
The men’s team entered their game at UCLA on Wednesday with a 4-1 record. They opened the season with a win over Rice and were then beat by Cal State Fullerton. The Waves then beat Alabama State and Vanguard before downing UC Irvine. Pepperdine plays at Grand Canyon in Phoenix on Saturday and host Cal Poly on Nov. 30.