The NAIB Tournament (the precursor to the NAIA), which the Waves had taken part in in both 1942 and 1943, was cancelled in 1944 due to World War II. But after an excellent regular season that consisted largely of service and AAU opponents, the West Coast NCAA Committee chose Pepperdine to represent the eighth district at the national tournament. The Waves had played the strongest schedule among the region’s teams and were known as the “Giant Killers.” At the time, it was just an eight-team event, and so the Waves would travel to Kansas City for the Western Regional with Iowa State, Missouri and Utah. Unfortunately, Pepperdine (20-14) lost its regional semifinal to Iowa State, 44-39, and also fell in the consolation game to Missouri, 61-46. All-American Nick Buzolich scored 22 of Pepperdine’s 39 points against the Cyclones, then posted half (23) of the Waves’ 46 points against Missouri. He would end up amassing 1,464 points for his career, a school record that stood for nearly 30 years. It would turn out to be the third of five straight postseason appearances by the Waves, who were coached by Alva “Al” O. Duer. He would later become the executive secretary of the NAIA and an inductee into the Basketball Hall of Fame.