Both of the times these teams met during the regular season, San Diego handled Pepperdine easily dispatching them twice by 9 and 13 points. Tonight, Pepperdine senior Corbin Moore started both halves with good-looking threes, but was it enough to ride the Waves past the Toreros into the next round of the tournament? Not without a way to cool the hand of sharpshooting San Diego freshman Johnny Dee.
The story of the first half was written during a 10 minute stretch that began about five minutes into the game. With the help of four 3-pointers from freshman Johny Dee, San Diego went on a 27-4 tear. Pepperdine was able to make the game at least contestable by getting back within 11 before the break. The Waves did receive some help closing the gap from San Diego who did not give Dee the ball during their last half dozen possessions of the half.
Pepperdine looked absolutely anemic early and often. While they shot 40% overall and 50% from behind the arc in the first half, they did not look good. There was little, if any, movement away from the ball and they struggled to get good shots or maintain possession with offensive rebounds. Their final play of the half ended when a pass to Moore under the basket sailed past him into the stands.
The first half was all Toreros all day. Early in the second Moore sunk two three point shots and brought Pepperdine back within 5. Pepperdine was showing some signs of life and it looked like there might be a ball game to be played.
But the second half belonged to Johnny Dee. Pepperdine briefly seemed to bottle him up by committing to keeping him covered defensively. However, San Diego found a way to keep feeding the hungry freshman off the screen and saw him carry the day with a career high 30-point performance. He looked good on the catch and shoot and appeared to get into the rhythm of a young player who is coming into his own.
In the post game interview on BYUtv, Dee was asked about the upcoming matchup with BYU's Charles Abouo. He responded by calling Abouo one of the best defenders in the league and appeared excited for the chance to face a team that handed the Toreros two regular season losses.
San Diego will face BYU in the next round of the tournament on Friday night.