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Gonzaga @ Pepperdine Preview

The Zags are in beautiful Malibu to right all the wrongs from the loss at Santa Clara.

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

No more mistakes can be made going forward and no one can look ahead past Pepperdine. One game at a time.

Lorenzo Romar once again has a load of NBA potential talent on his roster in Michael Ajayi (18.2 PPG on 47.8 FG and 50.0 3P% 9.8 RPG, 1.2 APG), Houston Mallette (16.7 PPG on 43.0 FG% and 41.7 3PT%, 3.3 RPG, 2.6 APG), and Jevon Porter (12.0 PPG on 39.0 FG% and 33.3 3PT%, 5.0 RPG, 1.0 APG). Since the Zags took down the Waves in the Spokane Arena to open up conference play, Pepperdine has grown as a unit and looks stronger when it comes to their overall team chemistry.

The Waves specifically have a lot of talent out on the wing so it all starts with the perimeter defense, something the Zags excelled with back in early January. Another streak is on the line tonight as Gonzaga hasn’t lost to Pepperdine since 2002.

Pepperdine’s record -

9-10, 2-2 (W vs Concordia, L @ UC Davis, W vs Lafayette, W vs Long Island, L vs UNLV, L vs UC Irvine, W vs Indiana State, W vs New Mexico, W vs Idaho State, L @ Colorado, L vs Cal State Fullerton, W vs UC San Diego, L @ Louisville, W vs Williams and Mary, W vs Westcliff, L @ #24 Gonzaga, L vs Santa Clara, W vs Pacific, W @ San Diego)

Key stats -

73.3 PPG

71.2 points allowed

45.3 FG%

35.2 3P%

67.8 FT%

35.3 RPG

13.8 APG

5.3 SPG

3.1 BPG

11.7 TO

KenPom rankings -

#201 overall

106.1 adjusted offensive efficiency (#166)

108.9 adjusted defensive efficiency (#251)

Key player to watch for -

Jevon Porter (sophomore, forward) - 12.0 PPG on 39.0 FG% and 33.3 3PT%, 5.0 RPG, 1.0 APG

Michael Porter Jr.’s brother is back from his knee injury he suffered this past offseason. After 7 games played, he’s looking like the player that Zags fan remember well from last year. At his first season with Pepperdine, Porter had an incredibly impactful season and was named to the All-WCC Freshman Team.

The 6’11” Porter shoots quick trigger three-pointers with his leftie stroke and has the length for some long/tough put-back dunks. The stretch forward can play alongside with a taller center at the next level and act as a double-double machine.

On defense, his basketball IQ stands out. Porter has learned a lot from his deep basketball roots in his family. He’s extremely disruptive in the passing lanes and when protecting the rim.

All eyes should be on Dusty Stromer as he’s returning back home. A lot of family and friends will be in the building supporting the freshman who should be letting it fly from deep at the Firestone Fieldhouse. Tune into ESPN+ tonight at 7 PM PT to hopefully witness Mark Few’s 700th career win.

Arden Cravalho is a Gonzaga University graduate from the Bay Area... Follow him on Twitter @a_cravalho