Pepperdine meets St. Mary’s in WCC semis
No. 6 seed Pepperdine (16-15, 9-8) vs. No. 3 seed Saint Mary’s (24-7, 11-5)
West Coast Conference Tourney Semifinals, Orleans Arena, Las Vegas; Saturday, 12:30 p.m. EST
BOTTOM LINE: A spot in the WCC championship game is on the line as Pepperdine and Saint Mary’s are set to do battle. The only meeting between the teams this season came on Jan. 18, when the Gaels outshot Pepperdine 51.8 percent to 46.4 percent and made five more 3-pointers en route to a nine-point victory.
SAVVY SENIORS: Saint Mary’s has relied heavily on its seniors this year. Jordan Ford, Malik Fitts, Tanner Krebs and Tommy Kuhse have combined to account for 70 percent of the team’s scoring this year and 71 percent of all Gaels points over the last five games.
FACILITATING THE OFFENSE: Colbey Ross has either made or assisted on 52 percent of all Pepperdine field goals over the last five games. The junior guard has 33 field goals and 33 assists in those games.
UNDEFEATED WHEN: Saint Mary’s is a perfect 17-0 when its defense holds opponents to a field goal percentage of 44.8 percent or less. The Gaels are 7-7 when allowing opponents to shoot any better than that.
ASSIST DISTRIBUTION: The Waves have recently used assists to create baskets more often than the Gaels. Saint Mary’s has an assist on 32 of 98 field goals (32.7 percent) over its past three outings while Pepperdine has assists on 42 of 77 field goals (54.5 percent) during its past three games.
DID YOU KNOW: Saint Mary’s has turned the ball over on just 14.8 percent of its possessions this season, which is the fourth-lowest rate among all Division I teams. The Gaels have turned the ball over only 9.8 times per game this season and just 7.4 times per game over their last five games.