Pepperdine vs #1 Gonzaga

Pepperdine vs #1 Gonzaga | 2021 NCAA Basketball Expert Analysis

Written by on January 13, 2021

Top-ranked and unbeaten Gonzaga has largely been crushing people all season, and the Zags figure to continue that on Thursday as they will be huge home favorites on the NCAAB odds in West Coast Conference action against Pepperdine.

How to Bet Pepperdine at Gonzaga NCAA Basketball Odds & TV Info

  • When: Thursday, 5 PM ET
  • Where: McCarthey Athletic Center
  • TV: ESPN2
  • Stream: ESPN app
  • Radio:com
  • Opening NCAAB Lines: TBA (Gonzaga will be favored)

Last Meeting

The Zags swept the Waves last season; the score at Pepperdine was 89-77 when Gonzaga was ranked No. 2 in the country and on a 17-game winning streak. The game was tied at 43 before Gonzaga took control with a 13-2 run. Corey Kispert’s 3-pointer with 15:33 remaining gave the Bulldogs a 46-43 advantage, and Joel Ayayi had five points during the spurt. Gonzaga’s largest lead was 14 late in the second half.

“We made too many mistakes and they capitalized on most of them,” Pepperdine coach Lorenzo Romar said. “We were able to hold the fort in the first half.”

Why Bet on Pepperdine? | 2021 NCAA Basketball Expert Analysis

The Waves haven’t played since a 79-51 blowout vs. CSU Bakersfield on Dec. 23 due to a couple of COVID postponements. The most recent one was Saturday at Saint Mary’s.

he Waves will now play: Wednesday, January 27, vs. BYU, 12 p.m. (originally December 31); Tuesday, February 9, at San Francisco, 2 p.m. (originally January 7); Monday, February 22, at Saint Mary’s, 4 p.m. (originally January 2).

Pepperdine finished its non-conference schedule at 4-5 with that loss to Bakersfield three weeks ago. The Waves never led against the Roadrunners. The Waves shot a season-low 33.3% from the field while the Roadrunners were at 51.5%, a season high by an opponent. Pepperdine was outrebounded 45-22. CSUB had 18 offensive rebounds and a 22-10 edge in second-chance points. Turnovers were nearly even but CSUB had a 23-7 edge in points off turnovers.

Sophomore guard Sedrick Altman had a team-high 11 points along with five rebounds in the loss. Senior guard Colbey Ross had 10 points, four assists and two steals. Freshman forward Kendall Munson had nine points and team highs of six rebounds and three blocks.

Ross is on the Wooden Award and Naismith Trophy watch lists for National Player of the Year, as well as the Bob Cousy Award watch list for the nation’s top point guard. Ross is Pepperdine’s all-time leader in both points and assists, among many other school records. Among active Division I players, Ross ranks first in career assists (712) and free throws made (562) and is third in points (1,934). He’s tied at #5 on the WCC’s all-time assist list with Gonzaga’s Josh Perkins (712). Ross is first in the WCC in assists (7.2) and minutes played (38.4) and is tied for third in scoring (19.0).

Kessler Edwards is up to seventh all-time in blocked shots at Pepperdine. He ranks sixth in the WCC in scoring (17.2) and fifth in blocks (1.3). Two scoring milestones are upcoming. Ross (1,934 points) will soon become the first player in program history to get to 2,000, while Edwards (937 points) will become the 44th player to get to 1,000.

Pepperdine is #7 in the country in free throw percentage (81.4%). The Waves were picked to finish fourth in the WCC preseason coaches’ poll.

Why Bet on Gonzaga? | 2021 NCAA Basketball Expert Analysis

The Zags (12-0) improved to 3-0 in the WCC with a 116-88 win at Portland on Saturday. It was Gonzaga’s first “true” road trip of the season — the team played a number of early season neutral site games.

Portland hung with the Zags at the start, but starting forward Eddie Davis collected two early fouls and went to the bench. The 6-foot-6 junior was averaging 11.2 points and 5.2 rebounds heading into the game. Gonzaga started pulling away midway through the first half when Joel Ayayi’s jumper made it 23-16. The Zags stretched the lead to 39-25 on Anton Watson’s layup and led 56-35 at the half.

Ayayi had the first triple-double in school history with 12 points, 14 assists and 13 rebounds, while Drew Timme had 26 points for the Bulldogs, who have won 16 in a row dating to last season. Corey Kispert, who leads the WCC in scoring, finished with 14 points. Leading the nation in scoring offense, Gonzaga has 85 or more points in every game this season.

Ayayi was named the WCC Player of the Week on Monday. Ayayi’s 14 assists were the second-most in program history, and the most since Blake Stepp’s record of 16 in 2002. Most impressively, Ayayi’ 14 assists came with no turnovers in 28 minutes of action. Ayayi’s triple-double was the first in the West Coast Conference this season, and first since Loyola Marymount’s Eli Scott had one versus Grambling last season on Dec. 7. It’s the first triple-double in a WCC game since BYU’s Kyle Collinsworth achieved the feat versus Portland in 2016.

Ayayi’s 8.08-rebound average ranks third in the conference, and is the most by a guard in program history. Ayayi is second in the WCC in assist-to-turnover ratio (3.40) and fifth averaging 1.33 steals per game.

The Bulldogs have won 39 straight against Pepperdine and are 43-2 during Coach Mark Few’s tenure. The last time the Waves beat the Bulldogs was in 2002.

Expert Prediction
  • Gonzaga 93, Pepperdine 73

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