BYU remained perfect at home with a sweep of Santa Clara and USF to move into second place all alone.
Against Santa Clara, Dave Rose’s squad rang up 53 points and a 13-point halftime lead. Midway through the second half, BYU had a 20-point lead and cruised to an 89-76 win. Tyler Haws had 27 points to lead four Cougars in double figures. BYU was 31-42 from the FT line.
USF rolled into the MarriottCenter in what was the conference game of the week with second place on the line. The Cougs built a seven-point lead in the first half and led 32-29 at intermission. The Dons came back and took a five-point lead midway in the second half before BYU tied the score with 7:02 to play. The Cougars outscored USF down the stretch 13-5 for a 68-63 victory. BYU held the Dons scoreless for the final 1:49 although they certainly didn’t win it at the free throw line where they were 1-6. Haws and Kyle Collinsworth each had 19 points to lead the BYU scoring.
This week: Winners of four in a row at 9-4, BYU goes on the road to Pacific and St. Mary’s. The stop in Moraga is huge for both teams who are trying secure second place.
GU jumped out to a 22-point first half lead and looked like they were going to have an easy time avenging their earlier season loss at Portland. However, the Zags went 3-15 over the first 13 minutes of the second half when the Pilots tied the score. Then, Gonzaga found their offense, going 4-4 from the field and 10-13 from the FT line to win at home 71-66. David Stockton, Kevin Pangos, and Angel Nunez had 13 points apiece.
This week: At 11-1, the first-place Bulldogs still lead the WCC by three games. They host Pepperdine and LMU in their last two home games of the season.
LMU did not give St. Mary’s much of a game on the road just two weeks ago in a 28-point disaster. When the Gaels started the match-up in Gersten Pavilion by scoring the first 14 points of the game, it looked like much of the same before the Lions battled back to trail by just six points at halftime. However, LMU got no closer than four points in the second half and fell 77-58. Evan Payne had 17 points and six assists.
The Lions had to hope they would get out of a three-game losing streak the same way they did when they had a six-game streak earlier in the conference season – by beating Pacific. This time, the Tigers turned the tables on LMU winning 82-72. The big story was Anthony Ireland who was held scoreless in the first half when the Lions trailed by nine points. Payne led the Lions with 18 points but also had seven turnovers.
This week: The Lions are in last place at 3-10. Their frustration is starting to show as Payne and Ireland had some words for each other near the end of the Pacific game.
Ron Verlin took his team to Southern California as they were starting to show some life winning two of their last three games. Unfortunately, the trip didn’t begin well at Pepperdine where the Tigers shot just 38.6% in an 80-69 loss. Andrew Bock led Pacific with 15 points and four assists.
Pacific avenged their earlier loss to LMU by shooting 50% from the floor, beating the Lions 82-72. T.J. Wallace scored 22 points off the bench on 6-8 shooting from behind the arc as four Tigers scored in double figures.
This week: At 4-8, Pacific is trying to move out of the bottom tier of the WCC race. BYU and USD visit Stockton and the Tigers will need at least a split to keep their hopes alive.
Pepperdine played perhaps their best game of the year in running past Pacific 80-69 in Malibu. The Waves shot better than 50% from the floor and from behind the three-point line while holding the Tigers to 38.6% shooting. Stacy Davis led all scorers with 24 points and was 11-11 from the FT line. Brendan Lane had 18 points and five blocked shots.
Marty Wilson’s team was oh-so close to climbing into 3rd place. Pep held a 28-22 lead at the intermission, but St. Mary’s tied the score early in the second half. The Gaels opened up a seven-point lead with 5:36 to play and were ready to pull away. However, the Waves gave up only two SMC field goals the rest of the way and forced overtime. It was all for naught because they scored just three points in the last four minutes of the extra period and lost 69-67. Lane had 19 points, 10 rebounds, and six blocks.
This week: At 7-6, Pepperdine has a chance to really shake up the conference race if they can sweep at Gonzaga and Portland.
Someway, somehow Portland came back from 22 points down and made the Spokane faithful squirm quite a bit before falling at Gonzaga 71-66. The Pilots took the lead with 6:52 left following the big first half deficit, but the Zags went 10-13 from the free throw line down the stretch to avoid a Pilots season sweep.
This week: Portland is 5-7 and trying to stay out of the bottom part of the conference. They host LMU and Pepperdine in their last two home games of the season. A sweep is needed to create a little separation from the last four teams.
St. Mary’s visited Southern California and got the sweep they needed to remain just a half-game out of second place. After routing LMU in Moraga two weeks ago, the Gaels ran out to a 14-0 lead in Gersten Pavilion. The Lions got no closer than four points early in the second half, and St. Mary’s pulled away for a 77-58 victory. Kerry Carter had 20 points, and SMC shot a blistering 58.5%.
In Malibu, Stephen Holt scored a career-high 29 points to carry the Gaels to a 69-67 overtime win over Pepperdine. St. Mary’s had a seven-point lead with 5:36 to play before going cold. In fact, they shot just 35.5% for the game. The difference seemed to be the 40-31 rebounding advantage for SMC – Beau Levesque and Brad Waldow had 10 boards each.
This week: St. Mary’s will look to get revenge for their last two conference losses when they host USD and BYU. Can they sweep and regain second place?
What can you make about USD? After beating St. Mary’s, they are in the middle of a three-game losing streak that includes HOME losses to teams that were once below them in the standings.
In San Diego, the Toreros trailed 34-30 at halftime to USF. Finally, with 13:33 to play, the Toreros tied the score and then opened up a nine-point lead with 7:37 left. However, the Dons closed the game with a 25-9 run for a 74-67 win. Johnny Dee paced USD with 18 points.
USD and Santa Clara played a close first-half in all facets of the game in the Jenny Craig Pavilion with the Broncos taking a 35-34 halftime lead. In the second half, both teams shot less than 39% from the floor, but despite Duda Sanadze’s 16 points, the Toreros fell 69-63. Sanadze finished with a team-high 23 points. USD was only 12-22 from the free throw line in the second half.
This week: USD travels to St. Mary’s and Pacific for their final road trip of the season. Both are winnable games, which is important with Portland, Gonzaga, and BYU left on their schedule.
Do the Dons really miss Cody Doolin? With five conference games left, apparently not. Rex Walters’ team remains in the WCC chase for second place after splitting their road trip at USD and BYU.
In a game of runs in the second half, USF outlasted USD 74-67. The Dons took a 34-30 lead at halftime. The Toreros then tied the score with 13:33 to play before taking a nine-point lead with 7:37 left, but USF went on a 25-9 run to close the game. Cole Dickerson had 25 points while Kruize Pinkins scored 14 points and grabbed 11 rebounds. The Dons committed just six turnovers in the game, and the WCC’s worst free-throw shooting team was just 10-21 from the line.
In Provo, second-place was on the line for the Dons and BYU. USF held the WCC’s leading scoring offense to 38.7%, but still trailed by three at the half. The Dons came back and managed to take a five-point lead midway through the second half before BYU pulled away for a 68-63 win. USF was scoreless in the final 1:49. Tim Derksen led the Dons’ scoring with 17 points.
This week: Sitting at 8-5 and a game out of second place, USF plays at Santa Clara. The Dons need a win, but expect a knock-down/drag-out in this rivalry game.
Santa Clara’s first encounter with the high-flying BYU offense resulted in a 10-point loss. In their second match-up, the Broncos gave up 53 points in the first half and fell behind by 13 points in an 89-76 defeat at BYU. Brandon Clark and Jared Brownridge had 16 points apiece. The Broncos were dominated on the boards 50-32.
In San Diego, Santa Clara matched the Toreros in all facets of the game and had a 35-34 lead at the break. Neither team shot well in the second half, but SCU made 8 of 11 free throws in the final 2:07 to hold off USD 69-63. Clark had a team-high 23 points while Brownridge finished with 17.
This week: Kerry Keating’s squad snapped their seven-game losing streak and three of their four conference wins have come on the road. The 4-9 Broncos have a short week as they host USF.
Player of the Week Candidates:
Johnny Dee, USD – FR
– 18 points vs. USF
– 18 points vs. SCU
Tyler Haws, BYU – JR
– game high of 27 points, 5 rebounds, 8-9 FT vs. SCU
– 19 points vs. USF
Stephen Holt, SMC – SR
– 17 points and 4 assists, 8-10 FG vs. LMU
– game high of 29 points (career high), 10-12 FT, 4 rebounds (played all 45 minutes) vs. PEP
Brendan Lane, PEP – SR
– 18 points, 8 rebounds, 5 blocks vs. PAC
– 19 points, 10 rebounds, 6 blocks vs. SMC
Likely winner – Holt