Pepperdine might like to have the West Coast Conference adjust the schedule after seeing No. 13 Gonzaga’s dominant effort on Thursday night.
The Waves have dropped 44 straight games to the Bulldogs, and the odds of snapping the dubious skid doesn’t look good Saturday when Gonzaga visits the campus that overlooks the Pacific Ocean in Malibu, Calif.
Gonzaga (22-5, 11-2 WCC) has also recorded 19 straight wins at Pepperdine. The last time the Waves beat the Zags anywhere was an 88-79 win in Malibu on Jan. 18, 2002.
The Bulldogs seem primed to leave with another easy victory after clobbering Loyola Marymount 108-65 on Thursday night.
The Bulldogs were extra motivated after the Lions ended Gonzaga’s 75-game homecourt winning streak at McCarthey Athletic Center earlier this season. That upset was Loyola Marymount’s first win in Spokane, Wash., since 1991.
This time around, it was a one-sided beating as Gonzaga steamrolled the Lions from the outset. The Bulldogs led 68-28 at halftime and built the advantage to as many as 51 points.
Julian Strawther led the assault with 30 points and six 3-pointers.
“I think ever since the buzzer sounded back in Spokane, we’ve been ready for this game and circled it on our calendar,” Strawther said afterward. “We just wanted to return the favor and come back to their house and get a win in here.
“I’m just glad we dominated for 40 minutes. That was a big emphasis for a while now, but that was the first time we really showed it.”
Gonzaga shot 60.6 percent from the field and scored 34 points off 19 Loyola Marymount turnovers. Anton Watson added 16 points on 7-of-9 shooting as five Bulldogs scored in double digits.
“Certainly Loyola had our attention after what they did to us in Spokane,” Bulldogs coach Mark Few said. “That and then hopefully, I hope they’re feeling that this thing is winding down now and we’re getting closer and closer. We only have three games left in league, so, hopefully, we’re sensing that, too.”
Gonzaga trails Saint Mary’s by one game in the WCC race, while the Waves are en route to their second straight 20-loss season.
Pepperdine (9-18, 2-11) last played on Feb. 11 when it fell 88-80 at San Francisco.
The loss was the 12th in 14 games, a stretch that began with 11 straight defeats.
Mike Mitchell Jr. scored 22 points but only two came in the second half. He drained six 3-pointers while scoring 20 in the first half, helping the Waves led 46-39 at the break.
Leading scorer Maxwell Lewis (17.6 points per game) had just eight points on 3-for-9 shooting. It marked his second straight shaky outing as he had just five points in a 92-80 home win over BYU on Feb. 9.
Pepperdine’s 11-game skid ended Feb. 4 with a 94-93 double-overtime victory over visiting Portland.
“We had been in overtime games twice earlier this year and came up short,” Waves coach Lorenzo Romar said afterward. “Our guys were not going to let that happen again.”
Houston Mallette (13.4), Jevon Porter (11.9 points, team-best 7.3 rebounds) and Mitchell (11.6) also average in double digits.
Lewis scored 20 points and Porter and Carson Basham had 17 apiece in the Dec. 31 loss to the Bulldogs.
–Field Level Media