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12/23/2022 3:26 am  #1

GW vs Pepperdine Game Thread

Next up 10pm vs Pepperdine.

Pepperdine is a solid 146 in the KenPom so this will be another good test for us.



12/23/2022 10:52 am  #2

Re: GW vs Pepperdine Game Thread

Pepperdine Waves

Date/Time: Friday December 23rd @ 10:00 PM ET at the Stan Sheriff Center in Honolulu, HI.
Preseason Ranks: 193rd (KenPom), 193rd (Bart Torvik), 141st (Sports Illustrated)
2021-22 Record: 7-25, 1-15 (10th in WCC)
2022-23 Projected Record: 13-16, 6-10 (8th in WCC)

Head-to-Head: 1-1. We last faced Pepperdine in 1993, coming out on top 66-59 at home. GW was then ranked #23 in the country. Yinka Dare finished with 21 points and 5 rebounds. Vaughn Jones and Nimbo Hammons chipped in with 11 points apiece, and Omo Moses added 10. The game remained relatively close throughout - there were 10 lead changes in the contest. Once GW took the advantage on a made Yinka basket with just under 8 minutes left, they never looked back. The Colonials would score 9 of the next 13 points to open up a 7 point lead with about 2 minutes left to ice the game. Interestingly enough, we also happened to beat South Carolina that season (but was also able to beat American). The team finished 10-8 in conference, including an important seven game win streak in February. GW made the NCAA tournament, defeating UAB in the first round before falling to UConn in the second.

Preseason Offensive Efficiency: 154th (KenPom), 234th (Bart Torvik)
Preseason Defensive Efficiency: 267th (KenPom), 163rd (Bar Torvik)
Pace: 31st (KenPom), 26th (Bart Torvik)
Offensive Shot Quality Rank: 228th
Defensive Shot Quality Rank: 197th
Rim & 3 Rate: 76% (350th)

Assists Per Game (58th)
Total Assists (T-76th)

Scoring Offense (251st)
Total Steals (T-255th)
Steals Per Game (263rd)
Personal Fouls Per Game (T-265th)
Fewest Fouls (T-271st)
Turnover Margin (285th)
Field Goal Percentage (287th)
Total Blocks (T-290th)
Free Throws Made (T-291st)
Blocked Shots Per Game (296th)
Free Throw Attempts (T-297th)
Rebound Margin (310th)
Fewest Turnovers (311th)
Field Goal Percentage Defense (320th)
Turnovers Per Game (322nd)
Win-Loss Percentage (T-329th)
Scoring Margin (331st)
Scoring Defense (333rd)

Key Returning Players:
Houston Mallette (Sophomore; Alameda, CA) 13.6 ppg, 3.3 rpg, 1.9 apg; 44% FG, 38% 3-PT, 77% FT
Jan Zidek (Senior; Prague, Czechia) 13.3 ppg, 3.7 rpg, 1.3 apg; 42% FG, 30% 3-PT, 88% FT
Maxwell Lewis (Sophomore; Las Vegas, NV) 11 ppg, 3.2 rpg, 1.2 apg, 1.1 spg; 42% FG, 36% 3-PT, 80% FT
Mike Mitchell Jr. (Sophomore; San Jose, CA) 9.1 ppg, 3.9 rpg, 4.9 apg, 1 spg; 38% FG, 40% 3-PT, 70% FT

Key Losses:
Keith Fisher III (Left Team; Los Angeles, CA) 8.6 ppg, 6.4 rpg, 1.2 apg; 42% FG, 24% 3-PT, 73% FT
Jade' Smith (Left Team; Oakland, CA) 8.3 ppg, 4.3 rpg, 2.6 apg, 1 spg; 42% FG, 20% 3-PT, 73% FT
Victor Ohia Obioha (Transferred to NAIA Master's University; Owerri, Nigeria) 5.2 ppg, 5.1 rpg; 45% FG, 70% FT

To win at a high level in college basketball, you need to have experience. The Dukes, Carolinas, and Kentuckys of the world have started to realize this in recent years, as recruiting solely "one-and-dones" won't win you games consistently. At the end of the day, those 5 star prospects are still freshmen, and are susceptible to uneven performances from game to game. There's a lot of excitement when they play at a high level, but a lot of times that doesn't translate directly to team success. It's therefore not a surprise to hear coaches say that the best thing about freshmen is that they become sophomores.

Lorenzo Romar, who played in the NBA for seven seasons and has now been a head coach for over 25 years likely knew Pepperdine was in for a rough year during the 2021-22 season after program pillar Colbey Ross graduated. Ross appeared in 125 games for the Waves and played nearly 500 more minutes in his career than any other player at the school in the past 15 years. Nearly everything ran through him offensively when he was around - he averaged nearly 7 assists a game and was a dynamic three level scorer, putting up nearly 18 points per game for his career. He finished with 450 more points and 360 more assists than the #2 player at Pepperdine all time going back 37 years. I could go on and on about all the records he set at the school, but I think that sums up just how important he was to Pepperdine's success in Malibu.

Having said all that, it should come as no shock that Pepperdine struggled to adjust to life without Colbey Ross. Current Brooklyn Net Kessler Edwards also departed that season which meant the Waves lost nearly 35 points of production going into the 2021-22 season. As you can see in the stats listed above, Pepperdine fell to the absolute bottom of the always competitive WCC as Romar opted to start a number of freshmen with the hope that getting valuable playing time on the court right away would pay dividends down the line with perhaps a couple of players having the impact that Ross and Edwards had during their time with the program. The short term impacts of this decision were predictably disastrous but it's all about the outlook long term as long as the players remain in the program. Romar's squad won just 7 games, marking just the third time one of his teams failed to win 10 games in a season (one of which came back in 1996-97 in his first stint with the school).

Romar won the CBI back in the 2020-21 season but has struggled to really elevate Pepperdine in his second stint with the program. He did a good job at Washington - minus a terrible final year when the Huskies won just 9 games, Romar won 60% of games and took UWash to 6 NCAA tournaments in 16 years (which isn't amazing but isn't absolutely terrible given Washington is a mid-tier Pac-12 program). He also took St. Louis to the tourney back when they were in Conference USA in 2000.

The Waves did a better job than expected when it came to taking care of the ball and moving it offensively in the halfcourt, but the freshmen realized quickly that guarding college players is a significantly tougher challenge than the ones they faced in high school. Pepperdine struggled to turn teams over and just in general make things tough for the opposition.

Still there's a fair amount of optimism as last year's freshmen class enter their second year with the program and are more familiar with expectations on both sides of the ball. Mike Mitchell Jr. is the main facilitator on offense who sported an impressive 1.7 assist to turnover ratio, dishing out nearly 5 dimes a game (good for 44th best in the country last year). He is a strong three point shooter, having made 56 triples at a 40% clip last season but is significantly less efficient when he is forced off the line.

Mitchell's backcourt mate is Houston Mallette, another guy I believe we showed interest in back in the day. His dad Wesley is the director of intercollegiate athletics at UC Riverside. Mallette led the team in scoring just under 14 points per game. He was not the strongest of defenders last season, but when you make 71 threes your freshman year, some defensive shortcomings can be excused.

Pepperdine's third freshman is arguably the most vital to the team. Las Vegas native Maxwell Lewis is a do-it-all wing who can score, rebound, and facilitate. The few times that I watched Pepperdine last year he definitely looked like the guy that has the highest ceiling - like true NBA potential as a 3 & D guy if he is able to develop fully in a couple years. He's another guy who can score at all three levels. I wouldn't be surprised if he asserts himself more offensively this season. He is already leading the team in scoring this year at nearly 19 a game while shooting an improved 44% from distance.

Up front, Jan Zidek provides offensive versatility as a stretch forward who made 37 threes last season although he isn't nearly as potent of a shooter as the above trio (who all made the all-freshman team last year). Zidek will also be asked to provide leadership on an otherwise young Pepperdine squad. It would be big for the Waves if he could provide a bit more help on the boards with Keith Fisher III and Victor Ohia Obioha out of the fold as Pepperdine was already not one of the strongest rebounding squads out there. If the game is close down the stretch, Zidek is certainly not one you want at the line as he was 25th nationally in FT percentage last year at 88%.

Also returning for Pepperdine this year is rising sophomore Carson Basham, junior Majok Deng, senior Jay Yoon, and redshirt freshman Paul Jordan. Basham is the forgotten member of Pepperdine's stellar freshman class but it goes without saying that centers take longer to develop than guards. Still, Basham did a respectable job last year, converting 56% of his shots near the rim and chipping in a couple of rebounds here and there off the bench. Deng played in roughly half of Pepperdine's games last year but struggled offensively. He does provide some value defensively in limited time. Yoon is a walk-on who has more upside offensively but doesn't figure to be an important piece in their rotation this season. Jordan is another walk-on who will add depth at the wing position.

What I was a bit surprised to find out is that Romar didn't really hit the transfer portal hard to add some experience to the roster outside of USC import Boubacar Coulibaly who adds more size down low and rim protection at 6-10. He can also get you a few buckets down low and contribute to rebounding efforts. You have to wonder if Romar is stuck in the past with the old school way of recruiting. Pepperdine could literally be the largest beneficiary of transfers from any level. Any visit to a campus that looks like this should close the deal:

Pepperdine has also played three true freshmen this season. Jevon Porter is the tallest player on the team at 6-11 and leads the team in rebounding at 7 a game. If the last name sounds familiar, it is because he is a younger brother of Michael Porter Jr. who is currently with the Denver Nuggets. It's insane how many basketball players have come from that family. Jevon's dad played at New Orleans. His mom played at Iowa. He also has seven other siblings. Michael of course was at Mizzou, as was Jontay who was with the Grizzlies and sisters Bri and Cierra. One of his other brothers, Coban, is currently at the University of Denver (I believe we were recruiting him last year). Anyways, Jevon is a capable three level-scorer, but so is like everyone that isn't a true big at Pepperdine. It's more of a pick your poison kind of situation, and I would be more willing to let a true freshman beat us than Lewis, Mallette, or Mitchell.

Malik Moore is a really good backup who sees roughly 22 minutes a game and plays the glue guy role really well. He is shooting 46% from 3 on the year (small sample size though) and can rebound and facilitate in the halfcourt. Jalen Pitre is a deeper frontcourt option who has made 9 of 15 shots on the year and adds additional rebounding.

I'll just mention some thoughts about last night's game here. I thought the team played well, notably with great energy defensively. JB did a good job of not forcing it all night and finding Noel and Hunter down low. I thought Ricky played within himself - he didn't settle for threes, and the one he took literally just rimmed out. The fifth foul he was called for was absolute BS. Noel had a strong game and it was really great to see him back Gueye down on one possession and finish - he has come a long ways already from last year. Hunter did miss some shots he usually converts on, but given he missed a number of games I thought he did a good job on both ends. Max had another great game, and his rebounding efforts have been absolutely vital for this team. Liked his take to the basket where he faked and made a layup, and of course he hit a couple big threes. Also took a nice charge. Amir did his job as a role player. EJ gave great energy defensively, including a possession where he turned Justin Powell over. I do wish we could have had that possession back though when he took a three late in the game which was pretty well contested by Washington State. Brendan did a much better job taking it to the hoop. It's rare for him to be in foul trouble, so all things considered I think he did a great job being able to stay in the game because we needed him. Going to really need Qwanzi to start making open shots. He needs to give us a few minutes here and there to give others a breather but right now he is being a non-factor and arguably the weakest player who sees action for us. It has to be mental because he was making these shots before. Just needs to calm down a bit. In the meantime, he can't let his defense be impacted because of a cold shooting streak.

This game showed me a lot about the team despite the tough loss. Wazzu was double teaming JB the entire game and we showed that we could remain competitive without him being a major factor. I have to point out the play we ran offensively off a timeout when we went down 6 I believe in the first half. We were able to get JB to cut off the basket and finish with an open layup down low. That was perhaps one of the best plays I've seen out of a timeout for GW in quite some time. We were also very effective in breaking Washington State's zone. I get why the Cougars were playing it because we were struggling from 3, but we were able to find Hunter in the middle and get guys cutting to the basket pretty consistently late in the game. This would have never happened under JC. CC showed he was the real deal yesterday. People will say Washington State missed a lot of shots which may be true to an extent, but I thought we did a great job recovering defensively. We specifically gave Rodman the open looks, and he is arguably one of their weaker players offensively. We were only burned once from him on a three, so I think that was a success. I would have liked us to double Gueye a lot earlier but we did make the adjustment a couple media timeouts into the game. Obviously, the offensive goaltending call was also tough late in the game.

Washington State entered the game as the unluckiest team in the country, per KenPom. Of course playing us will change every team's fortune. Great to see us dive/battle for the 50-50 balls, but for once I would like to see us win a possession because of it. The Basketball Gods continue to hate us. It's just unbelievable. If there was a silver lining, it's that the game didn't go to OT. That would have been awful for us for multiple reasons.

Against an offensive-minded team like Pepperdine, we are going to have to bring the same energy but it will be tough. Perhaps this is a better game for Keegan to play in. Hopefully the threes are able to fall a bit more tonight. Depth is of course a continued concern and fatigue is something to monitor. I have been impressed with CC's substitution patterns, so I'm sure he will do his best to manage things. Pace is key here as Pepperdine likes to play uptempo, and we will likely want to slow things down.

Projected Score: Pepperdine 77, GW 76. 43% chance to win (Bart Torvik). ESPN gives us a 51.2% chance at a W. Seems like closer to a toss-up I guess based off our performance yesterday. I believe Pepperdine is as a 3 point favorite as of now.


12/23/2022 10:09 pm  #3

Re: GW vs Pepperdine Game Thread

First media timeout.  This is not high quality basketball we are watching so far in the early stages.  Both teams missed 7 of its first 8 shots, many of the ugly variety.   GW also has 2 turnovers in 4 minutes.

Last edited by Long Suffering Fan (12/23/2022 10:11 pm)


12/23/2022 10:18 pm  #4

Re: GW vs Pepperdine Game Thread

With Dean, Clark and Harris all in the game, our offensive options are quite limited.


12/23/2022 10:20 pm  #5

Re: GW vs Pepperdine Game Thread

You can tell CC wants to get Adams 3-4 minutes of rest and same for Bishop, but it’s so tough for us to find points when either of those guys is out. 

Right now, their length is causing us a lot of problems.  Need to adjust to try to create shots with the pass, instead of the dribble.


12/23/2022 10:23 pm  #6

Re: GW vs Pepperdine Game Thread

Lindo can't make a layup and already has 2 fouls. Really


12/23/2022 10:24 pm  #7

Re: GW vs Pepperdine Game Thread

This kind of looks like a bad Kenner league game. Up and down, wild shoes, sloppy ball handling, no defense but still no scoring (actually our d in the half court is pretty decent, but not transition d)

Last edited by Free Quebec (12/23/2022 10:26 pm)


12/23/2022 10:24 pm  #8

Re: GW vs Pepperdine Game Thread

Idiot refs not stopping when EJ is clearly injured.


12/23/2022 10:28 pm  #9

Re: GW vs Pepperdine Game Thread

Good guys on a 12-0 run.  If we could make a layup, it would be a double digit lead.

Last edited by Long Suffering Fan (12/23/2022 10:29 pm)


12/23/2022 10:30 pm  #10

Re: GW vs Pepperdine Game Thread

This 10-0 run is all about defense and some really nice defensive rebounding - and Pepperdine not getting back. 

We’ve missed at least 7 layups this game (I know Ricky was 0-4 at the rim, max missed 1, EJ when he got hurt, Dean off that great dime, and I’m sure more than that) - and yet we are still leading.  That’s nice to see. 

Need to keep disrupting Pepperdine.  They are a rhythm team and we need to keep this ugly.


12/23/2022 10:36 pm  #11

Re: GW vs Pepperdine Game Thread

No block out and turnovers. tie game. What slop


12/23/2022 10:37 pm  #12

Re: GW vs Pepperdine Game Thread

So sloppy.   We must have had a half dozen plays where we put our heads down, charge towards the basket and throw up a wild shot.   


12/23/2022 10:39 pm  #13

Re: GW vs Pepperdine Game Thread

Harris and Lindo? Fouls and turnovers. One year we will get some players who can play a game called basketball. Disturbing.


12/23/2022 10:43 pm  #14

Re: GW vs Pepperdine Game Thread

Love the way Harris has become a menace on defense.  Totally disruptive.  Kind of like a much worse version of Matisse Thuybuille, with even less offense.

Love Max’s aggressiveness. Can’t wait for hint to learn not to make the freshman mistakes. He’s a big time keeper.


12/23/2022 10:43 pm  #15

Re: GW vs Pepperdine Game Thread

Edwards with a smart offensive foul


12/23/2022 10:47 pm  #16

Re: GW vs Pepperdine Game Thread

they made 8 of last 9 shots. good D. 


12/23/2022 10:53 pm  #17

Re: GW vs Pepperdine Game Thread

3 assists, 7 turnovers, 11-34 shooting. 1-6 from the 3.  We are fortunate to be down only 3 at the half.  


12/23/2022 11:02 pm  #18

Re: GW vs Pepperdine Game Thread

yeah. 3 big assists.


12/23/2022 11:03 pm  #19

Re: GW vs Pepperdine Game Thread

Lindo. turnover. Pep scores. Lindo!!!!!!


12/23/2022 11:06 pm  #20

Re: GW vs Pepperdine Game Thread

Anyone else catch Ricky’s reaction when they called a travel instead of his third foul?  He looked up to the heavens with a thank the lord pose.  Lol. 

Nice 9-0 run. Tough D on the perimeter and some nice aggressive offense.


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