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Pilots Eliminated From WCC Tourney By Broncos

March 3, 2006

SPOKANE, Wash. - Senior guard Pooh Jeter scored 26 points in his final outing with the Portland Pilots Friday evening, but Portland lost to the Santa Clara Broncos 72-68 in the first round of the West Coast Conference Tournament at the McCarthey Athletic Center. The Pilots finish the 2005-06 season with a 11-18 overall record, while the Broncos (13-15) move on to face third-seeded Saint Mary's on Saturday.

The game was close from start to finish, featuring nine ties and 21 lead changes. The Pilots' largest lead came with a 5-0 run to start the game and that was the largest lead by either team until the Broncos went on a 9-0 run and took a 60-51 lead with 3:54 remaining.

Portland immediately answered with six consecutive points on two free throws by senior guard Darren Cooper, a pair at the stripe by Jeter after a Travis Niesen technical and a jumper by Cooper with 3:08 left.

Portland had a chance to pull within two after Donald Wilson stole the ball and was intentionally fouled by Brandon Rohe. Wilson missed both free throws and the Pilots turned the ball over. SCU broke the Pilots press and got an uncontested dunk by Sean Denison to make it 63-57 with 2:00 remaining.

The Broncos made seven of eight free throws down the stretch to complete the victory.

Niesen scored 19 points and grabbed eight rebounds for the Broncos. Sophomore point guard Brody Angley added 17 points and five assists, while Mitch Henke and Denison added 11 and 10 points, respectively.

Jeter capped his impressive UP career as the school's second all-time leading scorer. Wilson ended his career on The Bluff with another solid outing of 13 points, six rebounds and three assists. Cooper, who entered the game averaging 15.0 points, struggled to 10 points on 2-of-10 shooting.

Portland shot 37 percent from the field and was outscored 30-8 in the paint. SCU shot 45 percent and made 26-of-32 at the free throw line.

The Pilots went into halftime with a 33-32 advantage on the shoulders of Jeter's 14-point half.

Portland has not won a WCC Tournament game since claiming the 1996 league championship. The Pilots hope to rebound in 2007 when they will host the WCC Championships at the Chiles Center on the UP campus.