WCC Weekend #2 in Review:Turk’s Take
After blowing out USD by 34 points in their only WCC game of the week, have the Cougars righted the ship in time to become a threat in the conference race after starting 0-2? JR Skyler Halford had a career-high 28 points, and Dave Rose’s squad found that getting back home after four straight losses all on the road was exactly what they needed. Halford’s effort may take some of the pressure off Tyler Haws, the WCC’s leading scorer, who is shooting just 35% from the floor in his last three games, and allow him to find his shooting stroke again.
This week: BYU hosts Pepperdine and Loyola Marymount with a chance to get back at both teams following the opening weekend losses in Southern California.
The Bulldogs did what everyone expected they would with a second pair of games at the McCarthey Center to start the conference season. They opened up a 14-point lead at halftime vs. St. Mary’s and cruised to a 73-51 win. The Zags took advantage of the Gaels on the glass holding a 39-22 advantage. They also limited St. Mary’s to 1-12 shooting from behind the arc.
In game #2 of the week, GU got 13 points and 7 boards from SR Sam Dower in his return from injury and ran away from Pacific 86-64. For the third game in a row, the Zags had at least three players in double figures. SR David Stockton has been a surprise offensively, averaging 12.5 pts. in the first four conference games.
This week: The Bulldogs travel to Portland this week to renew their Northwest rivalry.
The Lions might not be who we think they are as they fell to 2-2 in the conference. LMU started their road trip with a dismal performance at War Memorial Gym where they lost 75-61 to the Dons. Against USF, Max Good’s squad showed little intensity and shot just 38% from the floor.
Meanwhile, Anthony Ireland’s career-high of 34 points wasn’t enough to prevent their second straight WCC loss when LMU got tripped up by Santa Clara 88-80 in overtime. The Lions played a pretty solid first-half, but after SO Ben Dickinson owned the paint with 12 points, he was held scoreless in the second half. Dickinson was the only Lion to score off the bench. The Lions also were 0-7 from behind the arc.
This week: LMU has a difficult task in taking their longest road trip of the season visiting San Diego on Thursday and BYU on Saturday. The once promising conference season may already hang in the balance with these two games.
The welcome mat may have been out for the Tigers as they returned to the West Coast Conference after 42 years, but their first three opponents were less than hospitable. Ron Verlin’s squad found out how difficult it is to travel to the Northwest and win games. First, in the Chiles Center, where they trailed by seven points at halftime and never got closer than two points in the second half losing 72-64 to Portland.
Then in Spokane, the Tigers got an up-close and in-person look at #24-ranked Gonzaga who opened up a double-digit lead early in the game and never looked back let them, routing UoP 86-64.
This week: Pacific is 0-3 and will look for their first WCC win hosting USF and Santa Clara.
The Waves were a second half away from being 4-0 following a weekend in the Bay Area. Marty Wilson’s team went on the defensive in limiting Santa Clara to 1-7 shooting in the last four minutes of a 70-61 victory at the Leavey Center. UCLA transfer Brendan Lane is making his presence felt with double-digit performances in his first four WCC starts, and finished with a game-high 26 pts. against the Broncos.
However, Pep had little defense in the second half where they gave up 57 points to USF and fell to the Dons 76-66. Last year’s WCC Freshman of the Year Stacy Davis is averaging a double-double in conference play.
This week: The 3-1 Waves will try to sweep BYU and USD again – this time on the road.
Eric Reveno’s team notched their first conference win against Pacific after dropping two home losses. Four Pilots scored in double figures in their 72-64 victory. JR Kevin Bailey has become the team’s offensive leader, averaging 17 points a game.
UP opened up an early lead vs. St. Mary’s, but the Gaels closed the first half on a 27-14 run and never trailed in the second half, beating the Pilots 72-63. Bailey fouled out and played just 21 minutes.
This week: Portland at 1-3 hosts Gonzaga to conclude a run of five straight home games to open up WCC play.
The Gaels, playing their first four West Coast Conference games without suspended head coach Randy Bennett, are 2-1 out of the gate following a split in the Pacific Northwest. Interim coach Eran Ganot had no answers for his squad in a 22-point thumping at the hands of Gonzaga, where SR Beau Levesque was the only Gael in double figures.
However, St. Mary’s managed to turn things around by winning at Portland 72-63 in a very physical game. Portland native Stephen Holt making his last trip home led all scorers with 19 points.
This week: St. Mary’s can now take comfort with their next five WCC games being at home, starting with Northern California rivals Santa Clara and San Francisco.
The conference schedule has not been kind to USD as they began WCC play on the road and currently find themselves 0-3. The Toreros had only one game on the schedule this week, and probably wished they stayed home, losing to an angry BYU team 87-53. The game was close early before the Cougars opened up a 41-23 halftime lead. JR Johnny Dee continues to be the offensive leader for Bill Grier’s squad. However, he was held to single digits for only the second time this season, and USD shot only 35% from the field.
This week: The Toreros hope that getting home and seeing the familiar faces of LMU and Pepperdine will get them their first WCC wins of the season.
The Dons refuse to let the loss of point guard Cody Doolin be a distraction. Rex Walters has his team’s eye on the prize, and they are off to a 3-1 start in conference play. USF rolled to a 75-61 win over LMU in War Memorial Gym behind SR Cole Dickerson’s 20 points. The Dons crushed the Lions 38-25 on the boards.
After trailing 27-19 at the half against Pepperdine, USF erupted for 57 points in the second half to take care of the Waves 76-66. JR Kruize Pinkins had 19 pts. and 11 reb. to lead four Dons in double figures.
This week: The Dons travel across the Bay to play at Pacific and St. Mary’s with a chance to stay in the top half of the conference before they settle in with five straight home games.
Santa Clara is the WCC’s worst shooting team, but you wouldn’t know it based on how their three starting guards are playing. The Broncos stayed close against Pepperdine but couldn’t find the basket down the stretch in a 70-61 loss. SR Evan Roquemore, JR Brandon Clark, and FR Jared Brownridge scored 47 of the Broncos points.
Kerry Keating’s team rebounded behind Clark’s 26 points and 29 from Brownridge, outlasting LMU 86-81 in overtime. Brownridge is averaging nearly 20 pts. and shooting 51% from the floor in WCC play.
This week: SCU goes to St. Mary’s and Pacific.