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The Pepperdine Waves will be looking to get back on the winning track when they visit the Cal-Riverside Highlanders at the UC Riverside Student Recreation Center on Thursday night. Pepperdine was coming off consecutive victories over Miami (OH), Idaho State, and Abilene Christian before it fell to Cal State Northridge on Monday. The Highlanders have dropped three straight at the hands of Abilene Christian, California Baptist, and Valparaiso.
Head coach Lorenzo Romar’s second stint with Pepperdine (previously at the helm from 1996-97 though 1998-99) is off to a strong start–at least by this program’s standards. The Waves are 5-3 overall and one win away from last season’s entire total of six victories. They are in especially fine form at the moment, having won three in a row before falling to Cal State Northridge 90-83 on Monday. Romar’s crew led by five points early in the second half before CSUN used a 17-2 run to take control.
“During that stretch, they played with more energy than we did,” the former Washington head coach admitted. “They kind of imposed their will on us.”
Sophomore guard Colbey Ross delivered 24 points and 11 assists on Monday. Ross is fifth in the West Coast Conference at 19.9 points per game and he is second in assists (7.0 per contest). He is fourth in the entire nation in free-throws made (58) and ninth in total assists.
Martin the warrior
Cal Riverside junior guard Dikymbe Martin was named to the All-Tournament Team the Thanksgiving Tiger Tournament after he averaged 15.0 points per game while shooting an efficient 42.9 percent from the field. Martin’s best scoring night came in the first game of the event against Pacific, on which he dropped 20. The Highlanders’ leading scorer has recorded at least 20 points on three occasions already during this 2018-19 campaign, tying him for third in that department in the Big West Conference. Martin also pinned 21 on Valparaiso this past weekend.
Men's Basketball to Host Pepperdine for Thursday Night Matchup https://t.co/njus9LOwQ2
— Highlander Athletics (@UCR_Athletics) December 5, 2018
Newcomers have also been making an impact for the Highlanders. Freshman guard Dragan Elkaz has already made his presence felt with 18 made three-pointers on 50 percent marksmanship from the land of plenty (tied for No. 1 in the BWC). In his first season at Cal Riverside, sophomore guard Jordan Gilliam has proved to be an excellent addition. He leads the team in rebounds (4.3 rpg) and assists (3.7 apg) and is second on the squad in scoring (9.3 ppg).
The Cal Riverside Highlanders are:
- 9-20 ATS in their last 29 home games
- 8-17-1 ATS in their last 26 non-conference games
- 1-5 ATS in their last six games against the West Coast Conference
The Pepperdine Waves are:
- 11-1 ATS in their last 12 overall
- 5-0 ATS in their last five road games
- 6-1 ATS in their last seven non-conference games
The Bottom Line What to bet on this game.
Full-Game Side Bet
Pepperdine leads the West Coast Conference in three-point shooting (39.8 percent) and three different team members have drained at least five three-pointers in a game this season. The Waves also lead the WCC in turnover margin (plus-4.6) and steals (7.8 per outing). Three players find themselves in the top 10 in the conference in thefts. They should be able to take advantage of an opponent that has lost three straight games.
Prediction: Pepperdine Waves
Full-Game Total Pick
As the aforementioned steals statistics indicate, Pepperdine really gets after it on the defensive end of the floor. It should be noted that the Waves are playing their fourth game in eight days, and tired legs often result in missed shots at the offensive end. The under is 4-1 in the Waves’ last five following a loss and 4-0 in their last four on the road following at least three consecutive home games. It is also 21-9-1 in the Highlanders’ last 31 overall, 56-27 in their last 83 non-conference contests, and 6-0 in their last six against the West Coast Conference. Look for this one to stay under the total.