With six seconds left and his team leading by just three points Jeremy Major hit a free throw. His 28th point, which ties his career high, put the game away and sent the Waves into Monday's WCC Tournament semifinals for the second straight year.
It was No. 4 vs. No. 5, two teams that split a high-scoring regular season series. We should have expected nothing less than an encore in the postseason.
San Francisco, a team that plays and likes to score points, against a Pepperdine team that controls tempo with strong defense. What we got was a highly efficient and competitive quarterfinal. There were 11 ties, nine lead changes and no lead larger than two possessions for the majority of the game.
Both teams made 50% of their field goals in the first half. Both teams made 14 field goals in the first half. San Francisco held the lead, but it was just one point.
San Francisco relied, as they have all season long, on their backcourt duo of Devin Watson (33 points) and senior Tim Derksen (23 points). Pepperdine has a much more balanced approach, and tonight Stacy Davis (18 points, 12 rebounds), Lamond Murray Jr. (16 points) and Jett Raines (12 points) joined Major in double figures.
Pepperdine started imposing it's will in the middle of the second half after a barrage San Francisco threes. Marty Wilson's Waves do not take kindly to multiple defensive breakdowns.
Down six with 13:52 to play after a Ronnie Boyce (16 points) three the Waves completely turned the game around. Five minutes later they were up by ten points. Major keyed a 19-3 Waves run over that span and they never looked back. San Francisco did not go down without a fight, though.
Devin Watson put the Dons on his back and scored 14 points after Pepperdine took that ten point lead to keep the Waves from stretching it even farther. But the Dons couldn't really close the gap either.
The closest they came was with six seconds left, after a minute of full court pressure and fortuitous bounces when the Waves shot free throws, Sean Grennan (5 points) knocked down a twisting, acrobatic three pointer in front of his bench to make it a one possession game, 86-89.
But then Jeremy Major iced it at the free throw line.
San Francisco's season, at 15-15, may or may not be over yet. Rex Walters said it would be up to his guys, his seniors especially, to decide if they would want to play in a postseason tournament should they be invited.
Pepperdine, on the other hand, knows there is at least one more game to be played. They'll face the winner of Saint Mary's and Loyola Marymount on Monday. And, at 18-12 on the season, they'll likely keep playing regardless of the outcome.