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WCC Men's Basketball Recaps

Jan. 12, 2008

Gonzaga - 91
Loyola Marymount - 68

LOS ANGELES, Calif. (AP) - Josh Heytvelt had 19 points and five rebounds to lead Gonzaga to a 91-68 victory over Loyola Marymount on Saturday in the West Coast Conference opener for both teams.

The Bulldogs (12-4) shot a blistering 65.4 percent from the field and pulled away with an 18-4 finish over the game's final 4:40.

Heytvelt and the Zags used their superior size and strength to score 52 points in the paint to just 18 from Loyola Marymount. Gonzaga also earned a 29-21 rebounding advantage and had seven blocks to just one for LMU (3-14).

Matt Bouldin had 17 points, eight assists, five steals and four rebounds for Gonzaga. Bouldin, a 6-foot-5 sophomore guard, went to the post where he had a distinct size advantage over the smaller Lions guards.

Austin Daye came off the bench to score 13 points for the Bulldogs and fellow reserve Micah Downs scored 10 as the Gonzaga bench outscored LMU's, 39-17.

Loyola Marymount's Corey Counts had a game-high 21 points with seven assists. Counts made five of six 3-pointers.

Freshman Orlando Johnson had 13 points while Shawn Deadwiler added 10 points and five assists for the Lions.

Gonzaga weathered a strong start from Loyola Marymount, which took a 23-21 lead midway through the first half. But Gonzaga responded with an 11-0 run over the next four minutes and finished the half with a 23-7 run.

Portland - 82
Pepperdine - 78

MALIBU, Calif. --- Sophomore forward Ethan Niedermeyer came off the bench to score 16 points and help the Portland Pilots to an 82-78 victory over the Pepperdine Waves in the West Coast Conference opener for both schools on Saturday at Firestone Fieldhouse. Senior Sherrard Watson led the Pilots with a season-high 22 points.

The Pilots (6-10, 1-0 WCC) picked up their second road win of the year and fifth straight victory over Pepperdine. The Waves (6-11, 0-1) drop to 2-2 on their home floor this season.

It was a back-and-forth affair down the stretch before Watson and the Pilots pushed the margin to seven and held on for the victory with free throws in the final two minutes.

Pepperdine used a 14-6 run over the first three minutes of the second half to cut a nine-point deficit to one at 45-44. Portland sophomore Nik Raivio answered with consecutive runners and a three-pointer to push it back to 52-44. Raivio finished with 17 points, eight rebounds, six assists and just one turnover.

"We knew that no lead was safe in this game," Portland head coach Eric Reveno said. "They are a dangerous team that can score in bunches, but our guys made enough plays down the stretch to get the win."

The Waves took their first lead of the game at 53-52 with 12:01 left in the game on a pair of free throws by Daniel Johnson and then went up three on a layup by Rico Tucker. Walter Thompson drained a three to tie it and after a pair of Pepperdine free throws, Watson took over.

He answered with a fast break layup followed by a steal and three-point play to take the lead back at 60-57. Pepperdine temporarily regained the lead on free throws by Tyrone Shelley, but the Pilots quickly with a runner by Robin Smeulders and two more baskets by Watson. He hit a pair of free throws to make it 73-66 with 2:51 remaining and UP would nail free throws down the stretch to earn the win.

Shelley recorded a game-high 23 points for the Waves, while Jason Wahlberg and Rico Tucker added 14 each.

The 82 points scored was a season high for the Pilots. Portland also gained a 43-32 edge on the boards and collected a season-high 12 steals. Portland shot 45 percent from the field and held the Waves to 42 percent, but Pepperdine made 19-of-20 free throws.

Niedermeyer eclipsed his previous career high of 13 points in the first half alone. He drilled four of five three-pointers in the period and had 14 at the break. The Pilots largest first half lead came at 23-13 on a three by Raivio with 8:10 in the half, but Pepperdine trimmed the margin to 26-23 on a trey by Jon Reed. Portland finished with a flurry and used a 6-0 run capped by a Watson jumper to take a 39-30 lead into the break.

The Pilots will remain in Los Angeles and face the Loyola Marymount Lions on Monday at 8 p.m. The game will be televised live on ESPNU.

Saint Mary's - 76
Santa Clara - 45

MORAGA, Calif. (AP) - Patrick Mills glided past the defense for consecutive layins during one second-half sequence of a solid West Coast Conference debut.

Mills scored 16 points and dished out six assists to lead Saint Mary's over Santa Clara 76-45 on Saturday in the conference opener for the rival schools, ending the Gaels' three-game losing streak in the series.

Ian O'Leary scored all but two of his 16 points in the second half and grabbed nine rebounds and Diamon Simpson had 14 points and 10 boards for the Gaels (14-2, 1-0 WCC), who are expected to challenge favored Gonzaga for the WCC title. Saint Mary's, coming off its best non-conference showing since the 1988-89 team went 12-1, has won seven of eight with its only defeat during that stretch coming at then-No. 14 Texas on Jan. 5.

Both teams struggled on offense for stretches and were sloppy at times playing before a sellout, standing room-only crowd at 3,500-seat McKeon Pavilion, where hundreds of homecoming fans packed in for the regionally televised game.

John Bryant had 18 points and 11 boards for the Broncos, who are beginning a new era under first-year head coach Kerry Keating and lost for the first time in the last four meetings between the teams.

Mills shot 7-for-18 - 1-of-9 from 3-point range - but along with fellow floor leader Todd Golden made the big plays when it mattered. Golden had 11 points. Saint Mary's dropped its league opener last season to Santa Clara 76-69 and is only 4-3 in WCC openers under seventh-year coach Randy Bennett.

The Broncos (8-8, 0-1) lost for the fifth time in six games. Santa Clara swept all three meetings last season with Saint Mary's, including in the WCC tournament semifinals. The previous season, the Gaels went 3-0 in the series.

Yet this one was never much of a contest.

Santa Clara trailed 32-17 at halftime, equaling its lowest point total for a half this season after also scoring 17 in the opening 20 minutes of a 74-48 loss at Stanford on Dec. 19.

A matchup of two of the league's top bigmen in 6-foot-11 Omar Samhan of Saint Mary's and Santa Clara's 6-10, 295-pound Bryant wasn't that exciting.

In the opening two minutes of the game, Bryant had two rebounds but also committed a turnover and a foul and had a shot blocked.

The Broncos regularly double-teamed Samhan, who didn't score until the 2:57 mark of the first half. He was whistled for his third foul moments into the second half and took a seat and was out for good with his fifth on a charge at 10:49 - and Saint Mary's went on a 25-5 run after his departure that featured four 3s and 14 points by O'Leary. Samhan had two points and four rebounds in 18 minutes.

Brody Angley missed his first four shots before hitting back-to-back jumpers to pull Santa Clara within 15-11 in the first half, just the fourth and fifth field goals for Santa Clara after Bryant made the initial three. But the Gaels responded with a 14-0 run that put them ahead 29-11 before Bryant's basket at 2:34 ended a scoreless stretch of 5 1/2 minutes.

Santa Clara committed seven of its 23 turnovers in the first 6 1/2 minutes, while Saint Mary's started 2-for-12.

Former Saint Mary's assistant Lamont Smith returned to Moraga on the other bench as a first-year assistant for Santa Clara.

San Diego - 46
San Francisco - 41

SAN DIEGO (AP) - Gyno Pomare scored 18 points to lead San Diego to a 46-41 win over San Francisco Saturday night, denying coach Eddie Sutton his 799th career win in the West Coast Conference opener for both teams.

Pomare was too tough for San Francisco to handle inside in a sloppy game. The Toreros' 6-foot-8 center had early success, then drew constant double-teaming.

He went 8-for-9 from the foul line and San Diego made 22 of 36 free throws compared to just 6-for-8 for the Dons.

Sutton is winless in four games since taking over on an interim basis Dec. 26 from Jessie Evans, who was granted a leave of absence for personal reasons.

Sutton, who has a career record of 798-319, is attempting to become the fifth Division I coach to reach 800 victories along with Bobby Knight, Dean Smith, Adolph Rupp and Jim Phelan.

San Diego (8-10) won despite getting only four points from leading scorer Brandon Johnson, who went 1-for-7 from the field. Johnson missed the previous game with a bruised thigh.

The Toreros shot just 32.4 percent from the field, The Dons just 31.5 percent, and the teams combined for 41 fouls and 35 turnovers.

Dior Lowhorn led San Francisco (4-12) with 18 points and nine rebounds. The Dons have lost six straight and are winless in nine road games this season and 19 of their past 24 on the road.