{{ article.title }}

WCC Men's Basketball Recaps

Jan. 22, 2007

Gonzaga - 80
Portland - 68

PORTLAND, Ore. --- The University of Portland men's basketball kept it close but ultimately fell to West Coast Conference rival Gonzaga, dropping an 80-68 decision before a packed house and national television audience on ESPN. Portland falls to 6-15 (2-3 WCC) on the season while Gonzaga improves to 13-7 (4-1).

The Bulldogs beat the Pilots with a balanced attack, with all five starters scoring in double figures. Gonzaga senior guard Derek Raivio led all scorers with 19 points, while senior guard Darren Cooper paced the Pilots with 17 points.

The Pilots outscored the Bulldogs 46-43 in the second half thanks to the offensive exploits of Cooper (15 points) and freshman guard Taishi Ito (12 points), but couldn't overcome a 15 point halftime deficit. Cooper and Ito went a combined 8-for-11 from behind the arc in the second half, each connecting on four.

The Pilots kept things interesting in the second frame after back-to-back three pointers by Ito and Cooper cut the Bulldog lead to seven with 14:30 to go, but the Zags pushed the lead back to 15 seven minutes later after a deep three-pointer by Micah Downs and two buckets in the paint by Sean Mallon and Jeremy Pargo.

Portland again went on a run to slice the margin to seven points at the 5:08 mark after a three-pointer by Ito and a free throw by junior forward Sherrard Watson, but Gonzaga withstood the rally and got two quick buckets to push the lead back to double digits.

"We played a good basketball team that was well prepared tonight," Portland head coach Eric Reveno said. "We dug ourselves a hole in the early going, but I was pleased with our effort in fighting back in the second half."

In the first half, Portland battled back from an early eight point deficit to come within two several times, but the Pilots then went cold and the Zags went on a 15-4 run to close out the half with a 37-22 advantage. Portland had 10 turnovers in the half, with Gonzaga notching an 18-4 edge in points off turnovers.

For the Pilots, Watson finished the game with eight points and senior center Chris Jackson continued his solid play in the post, pitching in nine. Senior center Kevin Field led the way with a game-high six rebounds while adding six points.

Ito finished with 15 points, four assists and just one turnover in 39 minutes of action.

"Taishi didn't shoot it well in the first half, but he showed a lot of character and toughness to come back and play well in the second half," Reveno said. "For him to play against the level of competition we faced tonight and finish with four assists and one turnover is tremendous."

For the Bulldogs, Mallon finished with 17 points on 7-for-10 shooting and also added a game-high six rebounds. Josh Heytvelt fought through foul trouble to record 14 points, while Jeremy Pargo and Matt Bouldin each added 10.

Portland shot 42 percent from the field, while Gonzaga shot 43 percent. The Pilots finished with 15 turnovers to the Bulldogs nine, and gave up a 24-12 margin in points off of turnovers. Gonzaga edged the Pilots on the boards 33-31.

"We have a few young guys who will benefit greatly from the experience of playing a quality team in front of a big crowd on national television," Reveno added. "Hopefully the lesson learned is that it always comes back to the basics. You have to rebound and take care of the ball to win games."

The Pilots stay at home this weekend, facing San Diego on Saturday at 2 p.m in another nationally televised game on ESPNU and then face San Francisco on Monday at 7 p.m.

Saint Mary's - 85
San Diego - 78

SAN DIEGO (AP) - Diamon Simpson scored 21 points and Ian O'Leary added 18 to lead Saint Mary's to an 85-78 win over San Diego on Monday night.

The Gaels (12-9, 4-1 West Coast) used a huge edge at the free throw line to extend their winning streak to four games in the foul-marred game. Saint Mary's made 32-of-46 free throws compared to 16-of-27 for San Diego as the teams combined for 55 fouls.

Brandon Johnson scored a career-high 26 points for San Diego (12-8, 2-3). He shot 10-for-13 from the field. Gyno Pomare added 18 points for the Toreros.

Saint Mary's was 24-of-33 from the foul stripe in the second half, when it took just 17 shots from the field. The Gaels were ahead 74-67 at the 4:48 mark following three free throws by O'Leary after he was fouled on a 3-point shot attempt.

Saint Mary's, which won for just the second time in nine road games, used a 3-pointer from Todd Golden with 1:14 left for an 81-72 lead.

Santa Clara - 61
San Francisco - 58

Scott Dougherty scored a career high 19 points, including a pair of free throws with 12.6 seconds remaining, to help Santa Clara beat San Francisco 61-58 on Monday night. The free-throws followed a runner by Alan Wiggins that could have given the Dons the lead.

Manny Quezada scored 16 points to lead the Dons (7-13, 3-2), who lost their second straight after a three-game winning streak. Armando Surratt added 15 points and Johnny Dukes matched his season high with 13 points.

San Francisco played without sophomore guard Antonio Kellogg, who will sit out three games to concentrate on academics. The transfer from Connecticut leads the Dons -- and is sixth in the WCC -- with a 15.1 scoring average.

After trading the lead five times in the second half, Dougherty's 3-pointer with 6:49 left put the Broncos ahead to stay at 52-49. Dougherty was 5-of-6 from the field in the second half, including making all four of his long range attempts.

Surratt's 3-pointer at 1:48 drew the Dons within one but Santa Clara was able to maintain its edge. San Francisco had two chances to take the lead in the final minute, missing a 3-pointer and a short jumper.

San Francisco held an early 15-6 edge, the largest lead of the game for either team.

The Dons shot 55 percent in the first half and took a 30-26 advantage into the intermission.

"We played well and together as a team." said head coach Jessie Evans. " We had our chances but we turned the ball over 18 times and missed too many free-throws. I thought playing down a man we did a good job, but we wore down a little. I was pleased with the energy we got from Manny (Quezada) and Johnny Dukes."

USF plays its next three games on the road, staring Saturday evening at Gonzaga before returning home to face Pepperdine on February 10.