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Gonzaga vs. Pepperdine game preview: Senior Night

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For once in a long while, the Zags should win on Senior Night.

NCAA Basketball: Gonzaga at Pepperdine Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports

Senior Night is supposed to be an evening of celebration, as the fans and the community honor the players who are graduating from Gonzaga and moving on with their lives. Unfortunately, the past three Senior Nights have been marred by losses. Hopefully, tonight, that shouldn’t be an issue. Although, judging on BYU’s overtime (how) win over Pepperdine, the Waves are running on what could maybe be considered momentum.

Meet the opponent

Pepperdine Waves, 4-23, KenPom #308

On some level, you have to feel bad for Pepperdine Head Coach Marty Wilson, who won’t be returning to the Waves after the season is over. Pepperdine has been dreadful this season, but they’ve also been more injured than most squads in college. Still, it is hard to put any sort of positive spin on their season so far, which is punctuated by just one conference win.

The WCC scheduling committee did zero favors to the Waves as well. Three of the four final games for Pepperdine consist of BYU, Gonzaga, and Saint Mary’s. Oof.

Pepperdine isn’t going to win any of those games because Pepperdine operates one of the worst defenses in the league, ranked No. 342 by Ken Pomeroy. Anything involving shooting isn’t going to go very well for Pepperdine, and the only thing they do with any sort of positive form is defensive rebounding. Unfortunately, defensive rebounding, although important, isn’t going to win you too many games.

What to watch out for

The Zags put away LMU before the gave even started. It was nice to see that foot on the gas pedal mentality, because it is something that has tapered away a bit as the Zags wobbled their way through some tough games in conference play. The Zags were never quite able to “put” LMU away, whatever that means, even though they led by almost 20 points for pretty much the entirety of the game. It is senior night, hopefully there will be some big nights out of Silas Melson and Johnathan Williams.

Speaking of Senior Night, people better get the hell up and give a beyond standing ovation for the two Zags. Both Silas Melson and Johnathan Williams will go down as underrated players in their position. It is hard for a lot of people to remember that Silas Melson was forced to burn his redshirt because of the Josh Perkins’ injury, and then the coaching staff basically asked him to redefine his mentality. He focused on his defense and became one of the better defenders the Zags have had. Same goes for Johnathan Williams. He arrived taking a backseat to the larger powers at play, and was just as instrumental as any player in the championship run last season.