(Nassau, Bahamas) The Pepperdine men’s basketball team closed out the Islands of the Bahamas Showcase with a comeback for the ages, rallying from 18 points down in the second half and scoring the game’s final eight points to beat Miami (Ohio) 86-80 in the third-place game on Sunday.
The Waves (3-2) trailed the RedHawks (2-3) 46-33 at halftime and 65-47 with 13 minutes left. But Pepperdine outscored Miami 39-15 the rest of the way.
There were five lead changes in the final five minutes, but a three-pointer by freshman forward Kessler Edwards (Rancho Cucamonga, Calif./Etiwanda HS) put the Waves ahead to stay at 81-80 with 1:44 left.
- Sophomore guard Colbey Ross (Aurora, Colo./Eaglecrest HS) tied his career high with 25 points, including a number of big baskets late. He also had five assists.
- Junior forward Darnell Dunn (Kinston, N.C./Kinston HS/Miami Dade JC) tied his career high with 18 points. He made a career-best four three-pointers.
- Senior guard Eric Cooper Jr. (Ontario, Calif./St. Anthony HS/Nevada) also sank four three-pointers and scored 17 points.
- Freshman forward Kessler Edwards (Rancho Cucamonga, Calif./Etiwanda HS) notched a season-high 14 points.
- The Waves shot 33.3% in the first half and 57.1% in the second half, good for 46.8% overall.
- Miami shot 51.5% in the first half and 36.7% in the second half, good for 44.4% overall.
- The bigger RedHawks had a 23-11 rebounding edge in the first half, though the Waves closed the overall deficit to 40-33 in the end.
- Miami made 11 three-pointers on 31 attempts, and the Waves were 10-for-30.
- Pepperdine forced 14 turnovers and committed only nine.
- Miami had four players score in double-figures, led by Nike Sibande’s 17 points.
PLAY BY PLAY
Miami built a 20-10 lead less than 10 minutes into the contest, but the Waves came roaring back with 10 straight points – three-pointers by Cooper Jr. and Dunn, and four points from freshman guard Darryl Polk Jr. (Long Beach, Calif./Long Beach Poly HS) – to tie the game at 20 with eight minutes left in the half.
Pepperdine took their only leads of the first half at 23-22 after another Cooper Jr. three-pointer, and again at 25-24 after two Ross free throws with less than seven minutes to go.
But it was then the RedHawks’ turn to go on a 10-point run. The Waves made only one field goal in the final seven minutes. Miami scored the final seven points of the half to go into the break with a 46-33 lead.
The RedHawks increased the lead to 18 points multiple times early in the second half, first at 51-33, again at 60-42 and finally at 65-47.
That’s when things turned around completely, however. Cooper Jr., Edwards and Dunn hit back-to-back-to-back three-pointers, and Ross scored in the paint for an 11-0 run, making it 65-58 with 11 minutes left. Later, a 7-0 run, again with baskets by Dunn, Cooper Jr. and Edwards, made it 71-69 with six minutes left.
Another 7-0 run finally put the Waves in front. Ross scored to make it a two-point game, Cooper Jr. converted a three-point play and Dunn scored in the paint to put Pepperdine ahead 76-73 with 3 1/2 minutes to go.
The lead went back and forth a couple of times, with Miami taking its final lead at 80-78 on a Mekhi Lairy three-pointer with just over two minutes left.
That would be the RedHawks’ final points, however. Edwards sank a three-pointer with 1:44 left to put Pepperdine ahead 81-80. As the Waves were getting defensive stops, Ross hit a couple of close-range shots with high degrees of difficulty to put Pepperdine up 85-80 with less than 30 seconds to go. The Waves made Miami miss its final three shots while forcing one turnover.
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