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WCC Men's Basketball Recaps

Jan. 15, 2007

Saint Mary's - 80
Gonzaga - 75

MORAGA, Calif.- Diamon Simpson scored a career-high 29 points and keyed a 19-2 second-half run, and Saint Mary's handed Gonzaga its first conference loss in nearly two years with an 80-75 victory Monday night.

Simpson scored nine of the Gaels' final 15 points as they snapped the Zags' 26-game West Coast Conference winning streak and a 30-game winning streak against conference opponents including tournament play.

Ian O'Leary dunked with 1 second left and Saint Mary's fans stormed the court before the announcer told them to go back to their seats. Gonzaga's players had left for the locker room and returned to the floor, where Derek Raivio made two free throws following the administrative technical against the Gaels. The real celebration started after the buzzer sounded.

Freshman center Omar Samhan scored a career-high 20 points, 12 in the second half, grabbed five rebounds and hit eight of nine free throws for Saint Mary's (10-9, 2-1), which ended a four-game skid against its conference nemesis. The Gaels had dropped 21 of 22 to the Bulldogs, who lost 89-81 on Saint Mary's home floor on Jan. 8, 2005, to end a 17-game winning streak in the rivalry -- Gonzaga's longest run against any WCC opponent.

Simpson's three-point play with 5:19 left made it 68-63, then Samhan scored on the Gaels' next possession. Simpson hit a 3-pointer with 2:35 left, then Saint Mary's missed five free throws in the final minute.

Gonzaga lost a conference game for the first time since a 73-70 defeat at San Francisco on Jan. 20, 2005.

Josh Heytvelt returned to the starting lineup for Gonzaga (12-6, 3-1) and scored 12 of his 20 points in the final 5:06 of the first half to go with eight rebounds. Jeremy Pargo added 22 points and seven rebounds, making all eight of his free throws.

San Francisco, which won 72-71 at Pepperdine earlier in the night, took over sole possession of first place in the conference and is the WCC's lone unbeaten team.

Saint Mary's blew a late five-point lead in the last meeting, a 62-61 victory by Gonzaga in Spokane, Wash., on Feb. 6, 2006. The Zags won 68-60 on the Gaels' home floor while ranked No. 8 last season.

Simpson had six straight points -- with a three-point play and 3-pointer -- to tie it at 45 with 17:46 to play and start a 14-0 run. Wayne Hunter then hit a 3 to give the Gaels their first lead since late in the first half and he also converted three free throws at 15:17 to make it 53-45.

The 6-foot-11 Samhan had six points during the run, taking the ball hard to the basket and drawing fouls on Sean Mallon in the paint. Mallon sat down with his fourth foul at 11:56 and Samhan had a three-point play that made it 61-49.

The raucous Saint Mary's students hollered "Beat the Zags!" and held signs reading "Feed Raivio," filling the seats more than an hour before tipoff for the nationally televised game at sold-out McKeon Pavilion. An overflow crowd packed the 3,500-seat arena.

Gonzaga coach Mark Few became the third-fastest coach to reach 200 victories with his team's 77-69 win at Santa Clara on Saturday night, but the Bulldogs missed a chance for only their second road win of the season.

Raivio struggled, going 4-of-14 -- 1-for-5 from long range -- for 12 points and dishing for only four assists. He scored his first basket of the second half with 12:20 remaining.

San Diego - 79
Loyola Marymount - 74

LOS ANGELES, Calif. -Ross DeRogatis scored 25 points and Brandon Johnson and Gyno Pomare added 19 apiece as San Diego defeated Loyola Marymount 79-74 on Monday.

The Toreros (12-6, 2-1 West Coast conference) have won three straight and 10 of their last 12.

The Lions (8-12, 0-4) have dropped seven straight and are winless in the conference.

LMU nearly overcame a 16 point second-half deficit, with Damian Martin's basket with 19.6 seconds left cutting the Toreros' lead to 77-74.

But DeRogatis made one of two free throws with 18 seconds remaining, the Lions missed two shots on their final possession and San Diego held on to win.

DeRoatis had six 3-pointers and had six assists. Pomare, the conference leader in rebounds, led the Toreros with eight boards. Johnson, the conference leader in assists, dished out five assists.

Adoyah Miller tied a career-high in scoring and led the Lions with 23 points, including six 3-pointers. Martin made eight of 11 shots and scored a career-high 18 points. He also had seven assists.

The Lions committed 10 turnovers in the first-half.

San Francisco - 72
Pepperdine - 71

Malibu, Calif. - Armondo Surratt scored nine points in a late USF 13-3 run and Danny Cavic scored a career high 19 points as the USF Dons came from behind to win their third straight to go 3-0 in West Coast Conference play for the first time since 1991 by defeating Pepperdine 72-71 Monday night in Malibu.

The Dons improve to 7-11, 3-0 in league play while Pepperdine dropped to 4-16, 0-4.

Surratt, USF's returning all-WCC player scored 18 points, 16 in the second half. He scored nine points in the USF 13-3 run that erased a 59-51 Pepperdine lead.

The game was tied at 68-all when Alan Wiggins made a big play, stealing a Waves' pass and feeding Jesse Byrd for a short shot with 1:49 left. The Waves did not score again until a long meaningless triple at the buzzer.

Pepperdine was paced by 12 points each by Chase Griffin, and Tomas Pranciliakuskas.

"It was a good team effort," said Dons head coach Jessie Evans. "We rotated our players and Byrd and Christian Hernandez were in the game at crunch time. The whole team contributed and made plays when it counted. Now we are 3-0 in league with two big home games coming up next weekend.

"Certainly winning these three straight, two in overtime and tonight by one point shows we can win the close games. We still need to cut down on our turnovers and make our free-throws"

USF led by as many as seven points twice in the first half at 28-21 and 38-31 but settled for just a two-point lead at the break as the Waves scored the final five points of the period. The Dons shot 56.5 percent in the first half, but the Waves made 52% of their field goal attempts.

The Waves continued their run by scoring the first nine points of the second half to take a 44-38 lead.

The Dons return home for a two-game homestand next Saturday and Monday when they host Bay Area rivals Saint Mary's and Santa Clara at War Memorial Gymnasium.

USF entered the game as just one of two WCC teams yet to lose a game with a 2-0 mark, the first time that USF started 2-0 in league play since 1997.

Santa Clara - 57
Portland - 41

SANTA CLARA, Calif. -John Bryant scored 13 points and matched his season-high with 12 rebounds in helping Santa Clara beat Portland 57-41 on Monday night.

Scott Dougherty added 12 points as the Broncos (12-6, 2-1 WCC) rebounded from Saturday's home loss to Gonzaga. Santa Clara has won four of its last six. Mitch Henke had 10.

Jamie Jones had 12 points and nine rebounds for the Pilots (6-14, 2-2), who are still looking for their first win away from home in 11 games. Chris Jackson added 10.

Portland, held to its season-low in points, averages over 68 points at home but under 53 on the road. The Pilots shot 16.7 percent (4 of 24) from the floor in the second half.

Santa Clara opened the second half with a 22-4 run, taking advantage of Portland's poor shooting and six turnovers in the first 10 minutes.

The Broncos maintained a double-digit lead the rest of the way, leading by as many as 20.

Portland made 11 of its first 17 shots and held a 25-19 lead with just over eight minutes left in the first half. The Pilots went cold, missing 21 of its next 24 shots into the second half, scoring six points during a 20-minute stretch that spanned both halves.

Dougherty hit a 3-pointer in the final minute, and the game was tied at 27 heading into the intermission.