LAS VEGAS — The two second round games Friday night at Orleans Arena were stylistic opposites that produced a pair of upsets. But, in both, the more talented team came out on top despite having a lower seed next to their name.
A team had not advanced from the tournament’s opening round into the quarterfinals since 2013. This year, both Pepperdine and San Diego picked up back-to-back wins and head into the third day of the event with a ton of momentum behind them but a pair of fully rested teams ahead.
No. 8 Pepperdine Waves 68, No. 5 Loyola Marymount Lions 65
This one was an offensive clinic early. The teams traded baskets in a free-flowing, uptempo first eight minutes. It took until after the 12 minute mark for a stoppage of play to allow for the first TV timeout. From that point, things cooled down a bit.
LMU is one of the slower, more defensively minded teams in the conference but the Lions thrived early behind a big showing from Mattias Markusson. The 7’3 junior center scored 12 of his 19 points in the first. After the break, though, Markusson and the Lions sputtered. Meanwhile, Pepperdine managed to keep its foot on the gas. The Waves finished the game shooting above 50 percent from the field and three-point range.
Colbey Ross (20 points) led the game in scoring and put in the go-ahead bucket with 30 seconds to play.
Loyola Marymount (20-11) will now await a potential postseason invitation.
No. 7 San Diego Toreros 62, No. 6 Santa Clara Broncos 45
Santa Clara opened the game 0-12 from the field. The Broncos’ first bucket came with 11:30 to play in the first. But, San Diego wasn’t much better. The Toreros were just 3-13 at that time and it was a four-point game.
But San Diego managed to get it going, especially in the second half, and pulled away in what was an absolutely dominant defensive performance.
Senior point guard Isaiah Wright (23 points) did not play due to injury in the lone meeting earlier this season, which San Diego lost. Santa Clara’s Tahj Eaddy scored 30 points in that game. Friday, with Wright hounding him all night long, Eaddy (8 points) was held scoreless until the 7:42 mark of the second half. At which point, down 19, the game had been all but decided.
Santa Clara (16-15) will now await a potential postseason invitation.
No. 8 Pepperdine Waves vs. No. 4 San Francisco Dons
Saturday, 7 p.m. Pacific
No. 7 San Diego Toreros vs. No. 3 BYU Cougars
Saturday, 9 p.m. Pacific