Pepperdine faces tough test vs No. 1 Gonzaga
No. 1 Gonzaga (16-0, 7-0) vs. Pepperdine (7-7, 3-2)
Firestone Fieldhouse, Malibu, California; Saturday, 8 p.m. EST
BOTTOM LINE: No. 1 Gonzaga presents a tough challenge for Pepperdine. Pepperdine has played a ranked team only once this season and lost. Gonzaga won easily 90-62 at San Diego on Thursday.
PLENTY OF EXPERIENCE: Each team has relied heavily on their seniors this year. Colbey Ross, Kene Chukwuka and Jade’ Smith have combined to score 41 percent of Pepperdine’s points this season. For Gonzaga, Corey Kispert, Drew Timme and Joel Ayayi have scored 54 percent of the team’s points this season, including 60 percent of all Bulldogs points over their last five.
DEFENSIVE IMPROVEMENTS: The Waves have given up only 73.2 points per game to conference opponents thus far, an improvement from the 78.4 per game they allowed to non-conference opponents.
OFFENSIVE THREAT: Ross has either made or assisted on 44 percent of all Pepperdine field goals over the last three games. The senior guard has 12 field goals and 21 assists in those games.
SLIPPING AT 75: Pepperdine is 0-5 this year when it allows 75 points or more and 7-2 when holding opponents to fewer than 75.
TWO STREAKS: Gonzaga has won its last three road games, scoring 93 points and allowing 69.7 points during those contests. Pepperdine has won its last three home games, scoring an average of 80.3 points while giving up 68.7.
DID YOU KNOW: The Gonzaga offense has scored 94.1 points per game this season, ranking the Bulldogs first among Division I teams. The Pepperdine defense has allowed 73.4 points per game to opponents (ranked 213th overall).