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10 Observations from the Pepperdine game

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NCAA Basketball: Pepperdine at Gonzaga James Snook-USA TODAY Sports

Gonzaga extended Pepperdine’s losing streak to 8 games, but at least the Waves have those nice orange throwback jerseys.

  1. Gonzaga started this game out flat which can probably be chalked up to the long layoff with limited practice time before the game, and the absence of the student body. But, it would have been nice to see the team snap out of it earlier rather than let Pepperdine get comfortable and find some confidence.
  2. Nice work by the Gonzaga guards to leak out whenever the team got a takeaway on defense. The Zags killed Pepperdine in the transition game.
  3. Jordan Mathews fired off 11 three-point attempts (made 5), the second highest number of attempts for him in a single game (12 is his record). How did he got so many looks? Pepperdine’s defense does a poor job of covering the corners, so Mathews simply ran the baseline from corner to the other throughout much of the game. He went 4-5 from the corner spots.
  4. Pepperdine’s Lamond Murray is 3rd in the conference in scoring with 19.3ppg. He scored a pretty efficient 19 points against the Zags, and has done a good job of improving his 3-point shooting ability as he is over 40% for the first time in his career. However, his 6 turnovers were brutal.
  5. Smart play by Killian Tillie that might have gone missed: He deflected an inbounds pass which was a good play by itself, but what impressed me more was that he didn’t sell out and leave his man to try to chase the loose ball down. He would not have had a great chance at securing the loose ball and his man would have had an open path to the basket if Tillie didn’t recover and stay home. That’s good basketball IQ.
  6. Nice play design on the two Killian Tillie lob dunks. Those were plays that were practiced in the days leading up to the game and they went off without a hitch.
  7. Pepperdine freshman Nolan Taylor was deceptively effective. He doesn’t have the physical profile of a player who would be able to accomplish much against Gonzaga’s frontcourt, but he found a way to score an efficient 10 points. He’s not Stacy Davis, but he might be someone to keep an eye on in the future.
  8. Gonzaga put together an excellent game on the boards, grabbing 44 compared to just 28 for Pepperdine. Most importantly, Pepperdine only collected 6 offensive rebounds.
  9. Pepperdine’s 6-14 (42.9%) effort from the three-point line raised Gonzaga’s opponent shooting percentage from the arc by percentage point, and dropped them out of 1st and into 2nd place in the national ranking for three-point defense.
  10. Check out Darnay Tripp’s timeline on Twitter for a really interesting idea on how to add some juice to the Christmas break home games. I’m on board with this.