TUSCON, Ariz. -- Up-and-down West Virginia (7-3) meets struggling Pepperdine (5-6) at 1:45 p.m. EST today in the consolation game of the BankOne Fiesta Bowl Classic.
Both teams show impressive victories on the season, but have also suffered some disappointing losses. While the Waves were expected to lose (94-71) to host Arizona in Friday's first round, WVU believed it had an opportunity to defeat Valparaiso.
Instead, the Mountaineers squandered a one-point halftime lead and ended up on the short end of a 76-57 count.
"We seemed to be a different team in the second half," WVU head coach Gale Catlett said. "We stopped lining up in the right spots, and a lot of that had to do with Valparaiso playing the passing lanes."
West Virginia's problems can be directly attributed to freshman point guard Jonathan Hargett, who struggled against Valpo, hitting just one of 11 shots from the field. He also committed nine turnovers in just 20 minutes of action. An arthritic knee has reduced his effectiveness and his availability for today's encounter is unknown.
Needless to say, Catlett was not pleased with Hargett's play.
"I took him out because he was passing the ball to the other team, and not running the offense," Catlett said. "We need our point guard to run the team."
Senior forward Chris Moss was the lone bright spot in the loss. He scored 19 points, right at his average. But just four of those came after the break, as the WVU guards were unable to get him the ball in scoring position.
For Pepperdine, who defeated UCLA and Southern Cal early in the year, Terrance Johnson had 24 points and eight rebounds and Boomer Brazzle scored 10 of his 12 points in the second half.