If BYU could play all of their games at the Marriott Center, they might be leading the WCC. After sweeping Pacific and St. Mary’s, the Cougars ran their home conference mark to 5-0 and are 10-1 overall.
BYU snapped a two-game losing streak running away from Pacific 88-78, behind 38 points from Tyler Haws in the first meeting between the two teams in 17 years. The Cougs opened up a 45-34 halftime lead before the Tigers got as close as four points in the second half, but a 14-4 BYU run put the game out of reach. Eric Mika chipped in with 20 points and eight rebounds.
Last year, St. Mary’s stunned the BYU faithful when Matthew Dellavedova made a halfcourt shot at the buzzer for a Gaels victory. The Cougars looked like they might rollover early and let SMC move into 2nd place alone as they fell behind by 12 points in the first half before trailing at 38-37 at halftime. In the second half, BYU’s defense clamped down on the Gaels who shot 5-16 to start the half, and the Cougars rolled to an 84-71 victory. Haws continued his torrid offensive run by scoring 33 points and gathering seven rebounds. Kyle Collinsworth added 20 points (14 in the first half) and nine rebounds.
This week: At 7-4, BYU continues their homestand by hosting Santa Clara and USF who they beat the first time around. A sweep would put the Cougars in second place all by themselves.
As the nation’s third-best shooting team at nearly 51%, Gonzaga has had few bad shooting nights. Even when they do, it doesn’t necessarily turn in to a loss. The Zags shot 34.8% for the game but Sam Dower’s three-pointer with 1.9 seconds left to play gave GU a 54-52 win at Santa Clara. Dower finished with 13 points and six rebounds.
Gonzaga’s shooting woes continued at War Memorial Gym, but just as they found their way to victory at Santa Clara, Mark Few’s team made 11-12 free throws in the final 1:30, beating USF 75-65. The Zags shot a paltry 38.8% and were just 3-16 from the three-point line, but the GU defense held the Dons to 34.5% shooting. Dower led the way again with 24 points.
This week: At 10-1, the first-place Bulldogs have a comfortable three-game lead atop the WCC standings. They will entertain Portland seeking to avenge the Pilots’ earlier upset.
The Lions traveled to Malibu to play their crosstown rivals for the 159th time. The game played out like a heavyweight fight with Pepperdine getting out an 11-point lead in the first half before LMU closed the gap to three at intermission. Then, the Lions took the lead with just under 16 minutes to play. During the ensuing nine minutes of play, the game had four ties and nine lead changes. Unfortunately, Max Good’s squad scored only two field goals in the last seven minutes and fell 80-69. It was the third straight game that LMU has given up 80 or more points.
Anthony Ireland led all scorers with 24 points, and broke the 2,000-point barrier to move into fifth place on the all-time Loyola Marymount career scoring list.
This week: At 3-8, LMU is now in the conference cellar, and only they have the key to get out. Fortunately, they get to play five of their last seven games at home, starting with St. Mary’s and Pacific.
Pacific went to Provo and found out what everybody knows – BYU doesn’t lose at home. The Tigers fell behind early and were down 11 at the half. They cut the lead to four with 16:04 left, but Tyler Haws scored seven straight points and Pacific lost 88-78, despite shooting 53.2% from the floor. Tony Gill led Pacific with 15 points.
In their game against USD, Ron Verlin’s squad continued their hot shooting in an 84-67 win. After falling behind 12-0, the Tigers came back and finished the game shooting 54.7%. Andrew Bock and Trevin Harris scored 16 points each to lead four players in double figures. Pacific held a 34-22 rebounding advantage.
This week: The 3-7 Tigers travel to Southern California to play in Malibu and Los Angeles, hoping to move upwards out of a three-way tie for last place.
The Waves improved their conference home record to 4-1 by holding off LMU 80-69 in a slugfest. Pep led by as many as 11 points in the first half before the Lions cut the lead to three at halftime. LMU took the lead with just under 16 minutes to go. During the ensuing nine minutes, there were four ties and nine lead changes. Pep dominated the boards with a 41-29 advantage , including 15 offensive rebounds. Malcolm Brooks had 16 points while Jett Raines had 15 points on 7-7 shooting from the floor.
This week: At 6-5, Marty Wilson’s team remains in the thick of things. They host Pacific and St. Mary’s.
Every game is important now for Portland if they are going to finish in the top half of the WCC. Starting with USF on the road meant the chance to knock off the surprising Dons and move ahead of USF in the standings. However, the Pilots fell behind 20-7 early and never threatened the rest of the way falling 84-71. Alec Wintering and Bryce Pressley each had 15 points.
After letting the Dons shoot almost 57%, the Pilots held Santa Clara to 38.1% shooting en route to a 76-64 win, avenging their earlier loss to the Broncos. Thomas van der Mars had a career-high 28 points and 10 rebounds to lead the Pilots who had a 35-24 rebounding advantage in the game.
This week: At 5-6, Portland is in the middle of the pack. They travel to Spokane to face the red-hot Zags. Can Eric Reveno’s team upset GU again?
The Gaels played their worst game of the year in a 61-43 loss at San Diego. SMC scored 18 points at halftime and shot just 25% from the field for the game. Brad Waldow had 18 points and nine rebounds.
At BYU, the Gaels seemed to shake off their poor performance at USD, jumping out to an early 12-point first half lead. However, the BYU offense got cranking behind Kyle Collinsworth’s 14 points that cut the deficit to 38-37 at halftime. The Gaels opened the second half by shooting 5-16 from the floor and BYU ran away for an 84-71 win. Waldow again led the SMC offense with 25 points.
This week: The Gaels are not used to looking up in the standings at too many other teams not named Gonzaga. At 6-4, they are in third place, and are a ½ game out of fourth. It couldn’t be a better time to play LMU and Pepperdine again after beating both just two weeks ago.
USD surprised WCC fans by routing St. Mary’s 61-43 at the Jenny Craig Pavilion. The Toreros held the Gaels to 25% shooting. A close game early was over at halftime when USD led 29-18. The lead grew to as many as 20 points midway through the second half. Johnny Dee paced the offense with 17 points.
The excitement of a two-game winning streak came to an abrupt halt when Bill Grier’s team gave up 50 points in the first half to last-place Pacific. The defense didn’t get any better as the Tigers started the second half with a 15-5 run to roll past USD 84-67. Dennis Kramer had 19 points.
This week: The loss to Pacific kept the 4-7 Toreros out of a 4th place tie. However, their homestand continues with San Francisco and Santa Clara.
USF did what they had to by splitting with Portland and Gonzaga to remain in a second place tie. The Dons took a 10-point lead at halftime and kept the Pilots away in the second half for an 84-71 win. USF shot 56.3% with four players in double figures led by Kruize Pinkins’ 21 points.
Against Gonzaga, the Dons defense held the Zags to 38.8% shooting, but could only shoot 34.5% themselves and USF lost 75-65 at War Memorial Gym. Cole Dickerson, the Dons’ leading scorer, was held to just six points before fouling out. Avry Holmes had 18 points.
This week: USF makes their toughest trip of the year to USD and BYU. The Dons cannot afford to look past the Toreros who have shown they will show up to play each and every game. USF and BYU are tied for second place at 7-4.
In the midst of a four-game losing streak, playing the first-place team is not what you want on the schedule. However, Santa Clara gave Gonzaga all they could handle in 54-52 loss at the Leavey Center. The Broncos held the WCC’s best-shooting team to just 34.8% shooting before a game-winning three-pointer by Sam Dower with 1.9 seconds left. Jared Brownridge just missed a three-pointer at the buzzer. Evan Roquemore led the SCU with 15 points.
Trying to regroup at home against Portland, the Broncos fell behind early before taking a 34-33 halftime lead. However, Santa Clara shot just 29% in the second half in losing 76-64. Brownridge had 20 points. Brandon Clark was just 6-27 in both games, and if the guards aren’t scoring, the offense is in big trouble.
This week: Tied for last place in the conference at 3-8 and trying to break out of a six-game losing streak, SCU travels to BYU and USD.
Player of the Week Candidates:
Sam Dower, GON – SR
– 13 points (including game-winning three-pointer) and 6 rebounds vs. SCU
– game high of 24 points, 6 rebounds, 12-13 FT vs. USF
Tyler Haws, BYU – JR
– game high of 38 points, 4-5 3-PT FG, 10-11 FT vs. PAC
– game high of 33 points, 11-12 FT vs. SMC
Brad Waldow, SMC – JR
– 18 points and 9 rebounds vs. USD
– 25 points and 7 rebounds vs. BYU
Likely winner – Haws