WCC Weekend #3 in Review: Turk’s Take
The Cougars have gotten back to doing what they do best – scoring a lot of points and winning, taking games from both Southern California teams to push their conference record to 3-2.
BYU outrebounded an undermanned Pepperdine squad 40-23 while grabbing 17 offensive rebounds to hold off the Waves 84-72. Tyler Haws finished with 35 points to lead four Cougars in double figures. Against LMU, BYU trailed by one at halftime and then erupted for 54 points in the second half to rout the Lions 91-68. Haws scored 31 points to lead BYU offensively and again four players scored in double figures. The Cougars played both games without starting FR forward Eric Mika, but didn’t seem to miss his 15 pts. and 6 reb. per game.
This week: The next two weeks could tell a lot about BYU’s season when they travel to play four road games against three teams who are above them in the conference standings. First up is San Francisco, followed by Santa Clara.
Gonzaga got tripped up by the Portland Pilots for the first time since 2003. The Bulldogs fell behind early 11-5 and never led in the game. They got as close as seven points late in the second half but couldn’t get defensive stops when they needed them. In playing on the road for the first time in conference, the Zags got 14 pts. from SR Sam Dower who continues to play better in his return from injury. JR Kevin Pangos chipped in 12 points, but was just 3-10 from the floor.
This week: Leading the conference with a 4-1 mark, the Bulldogs travel to Pepperdine and LMU this week. Will the WCC race tighten up?
You could say that being on the very short end in the free throw category greatly impacted the Lions on the road at USD and BYU, but what really hurt them the most was poor efforts in the second half, particularly on the defensive end.
In San Diego, LMU pushed out to a three-point halftime lead, but couldn’t contain the Toreros 49-point outburst in the second half and lost 74-67. Anthony Ireland had 18 points and FR Evan Payne had 17 points, while shooting a combined 13-22 from the field. The Lions shot just 15 free throws to USD’s 29.
In Provo, again the Lions had a good first half and a 38-37 lead, but BYU torched the LMU defense for 54 second half points and ran away 91-68. Ireland led the team with 17 points but had five turnovers and SO CJ Blackwell had 15. The Lions were outshot 38-14 at the free throw line.
This week: LMU returns home for a short two-game homestand vs. Portland and Gonzaga. The Lions team that opened up the WCC season 2-0 is the one that has to show up. Without at least a split, the 2-3 Lions may start playing for a bottom three seed.
Pacific let a six-point halftime lead slip away in the second half, and fell to USF 81-72 in overtime. The Tigers were done in by their 32% FG shooting even though they had four players in double figures. The Dons and Tigers were playing for the 95th time since the 1911-12 season – Pacific holds a 60-35 advantage.
The Tigers finally managed to notch their first WCC conference win beating Santa Clara 80-68. They held the dangerous trio of SCU guards to just 12-35 from the field, but more importantly, shot 54% themselves. SR Sama Taku led the way with 19 points.
This week: Pacific at 1-4 has a short week with a visit to Moraga, hoping to avenge their earlier 88-80 loss to the Gaels.
The Waves found themselves short-handed against BYU with leading scorer and rebounder Brendan Lane and their best guard Malcolm Brooks sidelined by injuries. They got as close as two points with five minutes to play before falling 84-72. The Cougars took advantage of Lane’s absence by outrebounding the Waves 40-27. FR Lamond Murray Jr., son of the former L.A. Clipper, got his first start in place of Brooks and had 14 points.
At the Jenny Craig Pavilion, Pep made sure to stay in the conference race, by beating USD 69-65. Both Lane and Brooks returned to the lineup, but were not very effective. Stacy Davis carried the Waves with a 28-point/10 rebound effort, his fifth double-double of the year.
This week: The Waves are holding steady at 4-2 in WCC play, and if they really want to get people’s attention, they will sweep Gonzaga and Portland this week at home, which would give them a share of the conference lead.
There were some high hopes for the Pilots when the conference season began, but an 0-2 start quickly dampened their enthusiasm. That was until UP upset the 22nd-ranked Gonzaga Bulldogs 82-73. Portland led wire-to-wire and got coach Eric Reveno his first victory against their Northwest rivals in 15 tries. Five Pilots scored in double figures led by Bryce Pressley’s 16 points.
This week: An all-important road trip to LMU and Pepperdine, as they try to take the momentum of the program’s biggest victory in a LONG time and improve on their 2-3 WCC mark.
St. Mary’s started the week by falling to Santa Clara 57-55 despite holding a nine-point lead at halftime in Moraga. The Gaels were an awful 38% from the floor and 4-16 in three-point attempts. At the same time, St. Mary’s outshot the Broncos 15-2 from the free-throw line, but only made nine of them.
Head Coach Randy Bennett returned from his five-game suspension for NCAA violations and seemed to lift his team’s spirits as they raced out to a 43-28 halftime lead against USF before rolling to an 88-73 win. SR Stephen Holt had 21 points and five assists to lead all five starters in double figures for the Gaels, who had just six turnovers.
This week: St. Mary’s continue their homestand by hosting Pacific.
USD got their first conference win 74-67 against LMU avenging their earlier road loss just two weeks ago. The Toreros relied on the play of JR guard Christopher Anderson who scored 20 points to pick up the slack in the absence of an ineffective Johnny Dee who scored only three points and played just 20 minutes due to illness. SO Duda Sanadze led all scorers with 22 points.
The Toreros got Dee back, but couldn’t get back at Pepperdine for their earlier loss, falling 69-65. Bill Grier’s squad shot 14-25 from the foul line, and SO Jito Kok was 1-6 including two misses with :29 left to play and USD trailing by one. Dee was limited to 3-4 shooting, and Anderson went 0-6 from the floor, so SR Dennis Kramer stepped up to lead USD with 17 points, but it wasn’t enough.
This week: The first two of four straight road games stare the Toreros in the face. They will take their 1-4 record to Santa Clara and then USF.
USF dug deep to pull out an 81-72 overtime win at Pacific. Trailing by six at halftime, the Dons took the lead with 12:30 to play before Pacific tied the score with 4:25 left. The teams then wrestled back and forth in to overtime. In the extra period, USF score five quick points to take control and held the Tigers to just 3-10 shooting. SO Avry Holmes finished with 18 points and eight assists, both career highs.
Rex Walters’ team may have been a little gassed when they took the floor at St. Mary’s, as they went scoreless for the first four minutes of the game and fell behind 43-28 by halftime. In the second half, the Dons made a brief run and closed the gap to seven, before losing 88-73. Holmes again led the offensive attack with 17 points.
This week: Perhaps the biggest stretch of the year is ahead for the 4-2 Dons. They play their next five games at home before finishing the conference season with five of the last seven on the road. They next host a red-hot BYU team and a USD team looking to right their ship.
Is there any doubt that Jared Brownridge should get the WCC Frosh Player of the Year Award? The answer is: “No.” Against a hostile home crowd at St. Mary’s, Brownridge, averaging 20 ppg. in WCC play, nailed a three-pointer with :02 left to break the hearts of the Moraga faithful and give the Broncos a 57-55 win. He scored Santa Clara’s last 10 points and led all scorers with 23 points.
With a chance to be tied atop the conference in the win column, the Broncos fell flat at Pacific. They shot just 35% from the field, and Brownridge was held to just one field goal in the game in an 80-68 loss. Branden Clark led all scorers with 20 points.
This week: SCU hosts USD and BYU – two teams going in opposite directions. Which one will the Broncos follow?
Player of the Week Candidates:
Tyler Haws, BYU – JR
– season high of 35 points, 9-9 FT, 0 turnovers vs. PEP
– game high of 31 points, 13-14 FT, 3 steals vs. LMU
Avry Holmes, USF – SO
– game high of 18 points, 8 assists (both career highs) vs. PAC
– 17 points vs. SMC
Brad Waldow, SMC – JR
– 17 points, 14 rebounds, 5 blocks vs. SCU
– 16 points, 7 rebounds vs. USF
Duda Sanadze, USD – SO
– 22 points, 14-15 FT, 5 rebounds, 2 steals vs. LMU
– 14 points, 4 rebounds vs. PEP
Likely winner – Haws