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Crumpacker: What We Learned - 12/1/15

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By John Crumpacker
#WCChoops Columnist 

For those folks curious as to where Jared Brownridge’s 44 points against Arizona ranks among single-game performances in West Coast Conference history, the answer is it’s not as high as you might think.

Equal 14th, in fact.

The WCC has a long history of prolific scorers, none greater than Pepperdine’s William “Bird” Averitt, who set nets afire in the 1972-73 season. In two games against Nevada-Reno in 1973, one in January, the other in February, the Bird scored a total of 113 points, 57 in the first game and 56 in the second. Those are the two highest single-game outputs in conference history.

Averitt also had games of 49, 47 and 46 points for the Waves before going on to play three years in the ABA and two in the NBA. Another prodigious scorer was Loyola Marymount’s Bo Kimble, when he and the late Hank Gathers rang up huge totals while running the court non-stop in coach Paul Westheads’s unique approach to basketball. That being, let the opponent score so they can get the ball back and score even more.

Kimble ranks fourth in single-game scoring with 54 points against St. Joseph’s in 1990. He also had games of 53, 51, 50, 46 and 45.

Getting back to Brownridge, the junior guard from Chicagoland, he has a ways to go to claim Santa Clara’s single-game scoring record. In a 1967 game against Pepperdine, center Bud Ogden tossed in 55 points, third-most in WCC history. Brownridge is tied for No. 2 in school history with the late Nick Vanos, who had 44 against LMU in 1985.

Brownridge might have more big outbursts before the season is done as he carries a struggling team on his shoulders. It was nice to see his teammates take up the slack in Santa Clara’s first win of the season against Boston College, when Brownridge scored only nine points.

After only a handful of games, it looks like the conference has already segregated itself into three categories: the Top Three, the Bottom Three and the Middle Four. Saint Mary’s is 4-0 and BYU and Gonzaga are both 4-1. Pacific and San Diego are each 1-5 and Santa Clara is 1-7. LMU and San Francisco are 4-2 and Portland and Pepperdine are 3-4.

Here’s a prediction: When conference season begins, ridiculously early, on Dec. 21, those three divisions will still hold firm with the same teams in the same relative positions.

With the non-conference season well under way, this is “What We Learned” from last week’s flurry of tournaments, from Alaska to Corpus Christi to the Bahamas to Fullerton:

  1. Brownridge might need a break before conference season begins, if the mathematical trend from his recent scoring totals continues. In the Wooden Legacy tournament, the junior guard poured in a career-high 44 points in a two-point loss to Arizona. He followed that with 19 in a loss to Evansville and nine in Santa Clara’s first win of the season, vs. Boston College. He might have something like a negative two points in his team’s next game, against San Jose State at the Leavey Center on Saturday.
  2. In his team’s opener against Pitt in fetid Okinawa, Gonzaga coach Mark Few started his big three of Kyle Wiltjer, Przemek Karnowski and Domantas Sabonis. Problem was, they rained sweat onto the court so prodigiously that the game was called off at halftime and Few realized he could only have two of them on the court at any one time. We’re kidding here but the strategy of playing two of the three together at all times is a sound one for the Zags and Few. It keeps his front line fresh and allows him to use the versatile Kyle Dranginis, Gonzaga’s most valuable player off the bench if you consider Sabonis a “starter’’ even if he starts the game on the bench.
  3. No question USF coach Rex Walters would like to have Mark Tollefsen back for his final season with the Dons, but the senior from Danville chose the graduate transfer route and looks to be a nice addition to an already strong Arizona team.   

Quote of the week
“He scores on any team they play. We’re having a hard time with him,’’ Arizona coach Sean Miller said at halftime, when Brownridge had 15 of his eventual 44 points against the No. 11 Wildcats.

Tweet of the week
Eric Reveno ‏@CoachReveno Nov 27 Here’s Portland coach Eric Reveno waxing philosophic and pragmatic at the same time:

The measure of toughness and selflessness in a basketball player is never more evident than his response to a "bad" play. Just like life... 11 retweets 15 likes

Stat line of the week
Who else but Brownridge after his prolific performance against nationally ranked Arizona? The Wildcats were lucky to escape with a 75-73 win in overtime. Brownridge played 42 minutes and scored 44 points on 11 of 29 shooting (7 of 19 from three-point range) and was 15-for-15 from the free throw line. For good measure he also had 5 rebounds and 3 assists. Little wonder “He went to Jared’’ is a big part of coach Kerry Keating’s game plan.

Upon further review
Officials reviewed BYU’s game against Belmont on Saturday night and determined that the WCC’s Swiss Army knife, Kyle Collinsworth, deserved one more than the nine rebounds he was initially credited with. Along with his 26 points and 10 assists, that gave him the seventh triple-double of his career and left him alone atop the NCAA career record for triple-doubles.

For that, Collinsworth was named national player of the week by CBS Sports and shared WCC player of the week honors with that other Kyle, Gonzaga’s Wiltjer.

Bring your sunscreen
Perhaps the most interesting game in the country takes place this Sunday at 2 p.m. at Petco Park when San Diego takes on San Diego State on a court set up at the home of the San Diego Padres baseball team. Outdoors, in other words. Many times I’ve covered afternoon games in California when the weather has been so sublime the games should be played outdoors.

Portland mourns Johnson’s passing
Bill Johnson, the longtime radio voice of Portland men’s basketball and Linfield College football, died last Sunday of heart failure at 71. Johnson broadcast Portland games for 23 seasons in three stints beginning in 1978. He also did Portland Trail Blazers games from 1974-76 and also worked games for Oregon, Portland State, Lewis & Clark College and Sonoma State.

 “He fostered relationships with players, coaches, staff members and fans that went well beyond an interview or conversation,’’ Portland athletics director Scott Leykam said. “He will be greatly missed.’’

Johnson is survived by his wife, Laurie.   

Follow the three dots
While tweeting various WCC results on my so-called smart phone, the device didn’t know what to do with San Diego guard Duda Sanadze and came up with Dude Sande. Well, yes, dude, there is certainly sand on the beaches of San Diego but we’re talking about a 6-foot-5 senior from Tblisi in the Republic of Georgia, not to be confused with the University of Georgia, Georgia O’Keefe or Sweet Georgia Brown. … At USF, Walters hired the well-respected Frank Allocco from De La Salle High School in Concord as one of his two new assistant coaches for 2015-16.

 John Crumpacker spent more than three decades working at the San Francisco Examiner and San Francisco Chronicle. During his career he has covered the full gamut of sports from prep to professionals. Most recently, Crumpacker served as the beat writer for Cal through the end of the 2013-14 season. In addition to covering 10 Olympic Games, Crumpacker served as the beat writer for the San Francisco 49ers. He is a two-time winner of the Track & Field Writers of America annual writing award and has several APSE Top 10 writing awards.