WCC Weekend #4 in Review: Turk’s Take
BYU has become red-hot, winning both games on their Bay Area swing to find themselves on a five-game conference winning streak. At 5-2, they are one game out of first place.
They opened the trip with an 83-76 victory at War Memorial Gym in San Francisco, their first conference road win of the season. An 8-1 run with 15 minutes left in the game put the Cougars in control. Kyle Collinsworth and Skyler Halford finished with 19 pts. and 18 pts., respectively, to lead five players in double figures. Despite having a size advantage, BYU was outrebounded by the Dons 40-29.
At the Leavey Center, the Cougs raced out to a 17-point halftime lead over Santa Clara and coasted to a 91-81 win. BYU shot a blistering 61.5% from the floor and had six players in double figures led by Collinsworth and his 18 points. They also had 22 assists in the game.
This week: The biggest week of the year lies ahead with a trip to the Pacific Northwest with stops in Portland and Gonzaga. A sweep will put BYU no worse than a tie in the loss column with the WCC-leading Zags.
Following their loss at Portland last week, GU didn’t suffer another letdown on a visit to sunny Southern California, despite playing two completely different games.
At Pepperdine, the Bulldogs went on a 21-3 run over the last 9:42 of the first half and routed the Waves 70-53. Sam Dower was a perfect 7-7 from the field. He finished with 18 pts. and eight rebounds in only 19 minutes of play. GU was just 5-17 from behind the 3-point line, but it didn’t matter.
In a matinee at LMU, the Zags had their hands full with the Lions. Gonzaga had a nine-point halftime lead erased by a 19-8 Lions second half. But then, GU took advantage of an undermanned and tired LMU squad, regaining the lead with a 20-5 run to go up by 13 points with 6:29 left and close out an 82-72 victory. Dower had a career high 28 points and 14 rebounds. Gerard Coleman had 11 first-half points off the bench in place of David Stockton who was in early foul trouble. Drew Barham added 16 points including four three-pointers.
This week: Leading the conference with a 6-1 mark, the Bulldogs host USD and second place BYU. This is the most important pair of games on their schedule. The Zags will then play seven of their last nine WCC games on the road, PLUS a non-conference roadie at Memphis. Mark Few doesn’t want his team to be tied for first place after this weekend.
The Lions are fading fast, having lost six straight conference games. After falling behind by seven points to Portland, LMU opened the second half with an 11-2 tear to take a two-point lead. However, they were outscored 31-17 over the final 16 minutes in a 71-57 loss. Anthony Ireland and Evan Payne each had 14 points, but were a combined 8-32 from the floor.
LMU were two players short for their afternoon tip-off with Gonzaga. Chase Flint suffered a broken elbow in the Portland game and will be sidelined for the season, and Ben Dickinson was suspended for one game by Max Good for undisclosed reasons. Despite the short bench, LMU played well in stretches, before falling 82-72. Payne had 19 points, but he and Ireland had nine turnovers between them. Ireland also had nine assists vs. the Zags, but shot just 25% in both games.
The Lions have started playing a 1-2-2 trap together with their man defense, and at times caused some problems for the Pilots and the Bulldogs. Expect to see it some more.
This week: At 2-6, LMU goes back on the road for their first WCC visit to Stockton to face last-place Pacific, before playing at St. Mary’s.
Pacific had a 38-31 halftime lead over St. Mary’s in their only game of the week. However, the Gaels tied the game with 11:31 to play and ran away for a 79-73 victory in Moraga. Tony Gill had 16 points among four Tigers in double figures. The 1-5 Tigers have lost both matchups with SMC and are in last place in the WCC.
This week: Pacific hosts Pepperdine and Loyola Marymount before four straight road games. They will face the Waves and Lions twice in the next three weeks.
Pepperdine continues to play good basketball and remains in the top half of the West Coast Conference with a 5-3 record.
In Malibu against Gonzaga, the Waves had the chance to gain a share of first place but fell to Gonzaga 70-53. Marty Wilson’s squad shot 2-12 over the final ten minutes of the first half to trail by 18 at the half in a game that didn’t get much closer after halftime. Stacy Davis had 12 points and seven boards. The Waves have now lost 25 straight to Gonzaga – their last win came in 2002.
Pepperdine had to fight back from a four-point deficit at halftime against Portland and rode a 15-4 spurt midway in the second half to a 76-64 home win. Lamond Murray Jr. had 16 points and eight rebounds to lead four players in double figures including Davis who had 14 points and eight rebounds.
This week: The Waves visit the East Bay with stops in Moraga and Stockton. Can Pep hold steady near the top?
Portland brought a lot of momentum to L.A. following their upset of Gonzaga last week. They got after LMU from the opening tip-off in Gersten Pavilion taking a 36-29 lead at halftime. However, the Lions went on an 11-2 run to start the second half and took a two-point lead, just four minutes in to the second half. UP then went on a 20-4 run of their own to break open a close game in their 71-57 victory. Bobby Sharp came off the bench to lead the Pilots with 14 points on 4-5 shooting from behind the arc. The Pilots held LMU to 32% shooting from the floor.
Eric Reveno’s team started fast again at Pepperdine, jumping out to a four-point halftime lead. However, Portland shot 35% from the field in the second half to fall 76-65. Kevin Bailey exploded for 27 points in the loss.
This week: Having won two of their last three, the 3-4 Pilots have a chance to possibly move up into the top half of the standings with games at home vs. BYU and USD. A brutal stretch that has Portland on the road for seven of their next nine WCC games will follow. A sweep is very important for them.
The Gaels are easing back in to form since Randy Bennett returned to the bench, and are on a two-game winning streak, following a 79-73 win over Pacific, to sweep the season series with the Tigers. Stephen Holt scored 20 of his 26 points in the second half to lead the Gaels offense after they trailed by seven points at halftime. Brad Waldow had 22 points and Kerry Carter added 21 points and seven rebounds.
This week: St. Mary’s concludes their five-game homestand by hosting Pepperdine and LMU. The Gaels will then face WCC foes on the road in six of their next eight games.
USD’s horrible road swing took a turn for the better when they began their latest trip in Santa Clara. The Toreros trailed by four points at the break, but managed to get past the Broncos 69-66 behind a career-high 25 points from Duda Sanadze who continues to make a name for himself in the WCC. Sanadze has scored 20+ points in two of his last three games.
At USF, the Toreros and Dons played the first half to a 36-36 tie. In the second half, neither team led by more than four points, but the difference was an Avry Holmes jumper with half a second left to give USF a 64-62 win. Johnny Dee led the Toreros with 16 points, but it was only his second double-digit performance in the last five conference games.
This week: Bill Grier’s 2-5 team will try and weather another road trip – this time to the Northwest. Then, they will finally get some relief with seven of their last nine at home.
At War Memorial Gym, USF held a 37-34 halftime advantage against BYU, the nation’s 4th highest scoring team. However, the Dons gave up 49 second half points in an 83-76 defeat. Cole Dickerson had his fifth double-double of the season with 26 points and 14 rebounds, but also had five of the USF’s 16 turnovers.
Trying to bounce back from a two-game conference losing streak, the Dons found themselves tied with San Diego at halftime. With USF trying to keep pace in the upper half of the WCC, and USD trying to staying out of the bottom half, both teams had a lot at stake. It took an Avry Holmes jumper with less than a second left to decide a 64-62 Dons win. Holmes finished with a team-high 15 points while Kruize Pinkins contributed 14 points and 11 rebounds.
This week: Perhaps the biggest stretch of the year is ahead for the 4-2 Dons. They are in the midst of a five-game homestand before finishing the conference season with five of the last seven on the road. They next an intense rivalry game against Santa Clara looking to right their ship.
For Kerry Keating’s squad, the recipe for success is simple – let the guards shoot the ball. Unfortunately, they can’t do it all, and it’s starting to show.
Against USD at home, Santa Clara took a four-point lead in to the break. However, they allowed the Toreros to shoot 62% from the floor in the second half en route to a 69-66 loss. Brandon Clark led the Broncos with 21 points and Jared Brownridge tallied 19 points. SCU got just 16 points from their frontcourt players.
Keating suspended both John MacArthur and Evan Roquemore for their game against BYU due to a violation of team rules. The Broncos are 8th in the conference in scoring, so losing nearly 16 points of offense wasn’t going to be a good thing. While Brownridge had a career high 30 points and Clark chipped in with 20, it was Santa Clara’s defense who wasn’t up to the task letting BYU shoot 61.5% from the floor in an easy 91-81 Cougar triumph.
This week: The Broncos are in the middle of a three-game losing streak and only have to play one game this week at USF. Word is that Roquemore has become a big cancer on this team. Has the senior played his final game and will he be dismissed? It’s a long week for the Broncos to find some things out before the battle in SF.
Player of the Week Candidates:
Jared Brownridge, SCU – FR
– 19 points, 3 assists vs. USD
– career high of 30 points vs. BYU
Kyle Collinsworth, BYU – SO
– team high of 18 points, 3 steals vs. USF
– team high of 18 points, 7 rebounds, 4 assists, 3 steals vs. SCU
Sam Dower, GON – SR
– team high of 18 points and eight rebounds, 7-7 FG vs. PEP
– career high of 28 points, 14 rebounds vs. LMU
Avry Holmes, USF – SO
– 16 points, 5 assists vs. BYU
– team high of 15 points and game-winning shot vs. USD
Likely winner – Dower