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WCC Men's Basketball Recaps

Feb. 11, 2008

Gonzaga - 83
LMU - 50

SPOKANE, Wash. (AP) - Matt Bouldin scored 17 points and Jeremy Pargo added 15 points and six steals as Gonzaga rolled past Loyola Marymount 83-50 on Monday.

David Pendergraft and Josh Heytvelt had 11 points apiece for the Bulldogs (19-6, 8-1 West Coast). Shawn Deadwiler led the Lions (5-20, 2-7) with 11 points.

With Gonzaga clinging to an 18-16 lead with 7:20 left in the first half, Micah Downs buried a 3-pointer that started the Bulldogs on a 13-5 run to close the half and give Gonzaga a 31-21 edge.

The Bulldogs dominated the second half with the aid of 68 percent shooting. A 3-point play by Heytvelt capped a 10-3 run that put them up 48-31 with 14:49 left. Bouldin later sandwiched 3-pointers around an alley-oop dunk by his backcourt mate Pargo that put Gonzaga up 65-39 with 7:52 left.

Gonzaga hit its first five shots of the game, forced turnovers and grabbed a 12-3 lead in the opening minutes. But the Lions rallied, outscoring the Bulldogs 13-6 over a span of nearly 10 minutes to pull within two after Mason Maynard converted one of two from the foul line.

Turnovers proved costly for the Lions, who committed 15 in the first half and 24 for the game.

Pargo and Steven Gray each dished out six assists for Gonzaga, which beat Loyola Marymount 91-68 in January.

Tim Diederichs had eight points and seven rebounds for the Lions, who have lost six of their last seven.

Pepperdine - 71
Portland - 66

PORTLAND, Ore. - In what was perhaps one of the biggest -- and certainly one of the unlikeliest -- comebacks in Pepperdine men's basketball history, the Waves pulled together and rallied from an 18-point second-half deficit to win at Portland, 71-66, in West Coast Conference action on Monday night.

Pepperdine's top scorer, freshman guard Tyrone Shelley, fouled out with 12:27 left and the Pilots held a 51-33 lead with nine minutes to go. But out of nowhere, the Waves hit five three-pointers and went on a 17-1 run over two-plus minutes, making it a two-point game at 52-50 with 6:45 to play.

Portland (8-17, 2-7) still led by five at 66-61 with 2:15 left, but junior guard Rico Tucker (San Diego, Calif./University HS/Minnesota) took over. He converted a lay-up and the ensuing free throw with 2:09 left, then scored on another lay-up with 1:22 left to tie the game. Freshman forward Malcolm Thomas (San Diego, Calif./Crawford HS)'s post move and basket gave the Waves their first lead since early in the game at 68-66 with 28 seconds left.

Tucker hit one free throw with 13.6 seconds left, then added two more with 3.9 seconds left to seal the win. He finished with a team-high 17 points, all of which came in the second half.

After Pepperdine (8-17, 2-7) got within two points, Portland's final four possessions saw two turnovers and two missed shots. The Waves scored on each of their final seven possessions.

Junior guard Mike Hornbuckle (Westlake Village, Calif./Oaks Christian HS/Azusa Pacific) had two points at halftime but finished with 16 points and sank four three-pointers. Junior guard Ryan Holmes (Phoenix, Ariz./Millennium HS/Phoenix CC) and freshman guard Jon Reed (Rancho Palos Verdes, Calif./Peninsula HS) each scored 12 points.

Thomas, the Waves' only remaining post player on the roster, gamely battled the Pilots' bigger frontline and pulled down 12 rebounds, the ninth time this season he reached double-figures. He added nine points.

"This feels so good," Tucker said. "I feel like all of our hard work that we've put in showed tonight. We came out and attacked in the second half and got the rebounds. Personally, after a couple of rotations, I felt like I could get past their guards. From there, I had to finish. So many guys hit big shots though, like Mike Hornbuckle and Jon Reed, plus there was Malcolm's rebounding."

"These guys played with the heart of a champion," Pepperdine interim coach Eric Bridgeland said. "They've come close so many times and couldn't get over the hump. But every time we've fallen short they've come back the next day and worked hard. They didn't need this win, they deserved this win. I'm so proud of them."

Shelley (San Diego, Calif./Crawford HS), the Waves' leading scorer entering the game at 15.2 points, was in foul trouble all night and was held scoreless. He fouled out with 12:27 left in the game and played only 11 minutes while taking only two shots.

The Waves suffered through an eight-minute scoreless stretch in the first half and shot just 25.9% percent from the field before halftime. Reed gave Pepperdine a 7-5 lead with his three-pointer at 16:21, but when he hit his next one with 8:23 left, the Pilots had exploited the Waves' cold shooting and led 18-10. The teams roughly traded points the rest of the half and Portland went into the break with a 33-21 lead.

After the difficult first half, the Waves shot 57.7% in the second half and finished at 41.5% for the game. Portland shot 41% in both halves. The taller Pilots had a 39-24 advantage on the boards (though Pepperdine had a 14-13 edge in the second half). Pepperdine forced 23 turnovers.

The Waves' nearly made a second-half comeback in the first meeting with the Pilots, an 82-78 Portland win in Malibu on Jan. 12. Portland had an 11-point second-half lead in that one but held on after the Waves cut the lead to one.

For the first time this season in a meaningful game, freshmen scored fewer than half of the Waves' points, accumulating just 26 of the 71 (36.7%). The only other time freshmen scored less than half was in the 118-76 win over Hope International where reserves saw most of the playing time.

The Waves have their final two home games of the season next weekend when they host Santa Clara on Saturday (Feb. 16) and Saint Mary's on Monday (Feb. 18). Both games will be televised by FSN Prime Ticket. Fans can listen to Al Epstein's call of the action at www.pepperdinesports.com.

Saint Mary's - 54
Santa Clara - 50

SANTA CLARA, Calif. (AP) - Diamon Simpson made two free throws with 24.4 seconds left to give Saint Mary's the lead and finished with 12 points and seven rebounds, and the 25th-ranked Gaels survived a scare to beat Santa Clara 54-50 on Monday night.

Brody Angley missed a short baseline jumper with 6 seconds to play and Tron Smith converted both free throws on the other end. Smith finished with 15 points off the bench in the Gaels' fourth straight victory, a much closer contest than their 31-point rout of Santa Clara last month.

Santa Clara coach Kerry Keating called a second straight timeout with 1 minute left after his team couldn't get anything going, then John Bryant stepped on the baseline at the 54.6 mark and Saint Mary's got the ball back. Bryant fouled Simpson on the other end moments later.

Smith, one of two seniors on the Saint Mary's roster, shot 4-for-5 from the field and 5-of-8 at the line for the Gaels (21-3, 8-1 WCC). Saint Mary's beat the Broncos 76-45 in Moraga on Jan. 12 in the WCC opener for both teams that ended the Gaels' three-game losing streak in the series.

Bryant posted his WCC-best 11th double-double with 21 points and 12 rebounds for the Broncos (12-11, 4-4), including a tying jumper that tied the game at 47 with 6:02 left. Angley gave Santa Clara its first lead of the night with one free throw at 4:31.

Bryant had a turnover that led to Patty Mills' go-ahead basket with 2:23 to play, but hit two tying free throws at 1:52. Mills finished with nine points, but went 0-for-3 from 3-point range to put him at 2-for-21 in his last five games - including 0-of-13 combined in his last three.

Saint Mary's is in the rankings for three consecutive weeks for the first time since 1988-89, albeit staying put in the 25th and final spot for the second straight week after a showing of 21st in the previous poll.

The Gaels thumped San Francisco 76-51 on Saturday to reach 20 wins for the eighth time overall and fourth since joining the WCC in 1952. Saint Mary's got to the 20-victory mark the fastest since the 1988-89 team also did so after just 23 games on the way to 25 victories and an NCAA tournament berth.

The Broncos have had some tough breaks in Keating's first season. Aside from this one, they had an 87-82 double-overtime defeat against Gonzaga on Feb. 2.

A crowd of 3,722 at the Leavey Center turned out for the nationally televised contest, with Australian fans in this arena cheering for Ben Dowdell. Several students waved the country's flag to cheer on the Aussie freshman. Saint Mary's also has four Australian players, including Mills.

Dowdell had eight points.

San Diego - 73
San Francisco - 62

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) - Brandon Johnson scored six of his 18 points in the final three minutes, and San Diego stayed close to front-running Gonzaga and St. Mary's in the crowded West Coast Conference with a 73-62 win over San Francisco on Monday night.

Gyno Pomare added 18 points and five rebounds for the Toreros (14-11, 7-1 WCC), who won their sixth straight despite a sloppy offensive performance in the first half when the team missed 9-of-10 3-pointers and committed nine turnovers.

San Diego tightened up its game in the second half, however, and rode the scoring from Johnson and a stingy defense that held San Francisco (6-18, 2-7) to one basket during a key five-minute stretch late in the game to hand the Dons their third straight loss.

The Toreros, whose last loss came Jan. 19 against Gonzaga, stayed a half-game behind the Bulldogs and Saint Mary's in the chase for the conference's top spot and has a shot to close that gap with games against both teams in the next two weeks.

Dior Lowhorn had 17 points and Dean Hadley scored a career-high 12 for San Francisco.

The game marked the Dons' first appearance in San Francisco since notching interim coach Eddie Sutton's 800th career victory with a come-from-behind win at Pepperdine on Feb. 2. The Dons haven't won since, losing by five to Loyola Marymount before getting blown out by No. 23 St. Mary's.

Before the game against San Diego, San Francisco honored Sutton with a plaque commemorating win No. 800 along with a ball signed by his current players.

Little else went right for Sutton or San Francisco the rest of the night, though.

San Francisco fell behind by 10 points six minutes into the game and failed to take advantage of San Diego's poor shooting in the first half. The Toreros, who were 1-for-11 on 3-pointers in a 46-41 win over the Dons on Jan. 12, missed their first nine 3s in the rematch and didn't score from beyond the arc until Chris Lewis' trey with 53 seconds remained.

But San Diego owns the conference's stingiest defense and smothered San Francisco sophomore Dior Lowhorn underneath the basket every time the WCC's leading scorer got the ball down low. Lowhorn went 4 of 9 in the first half and was 0-for-5 from the free throw line, then was held scoreless for the first 10 minutes of the second half.

San Diego led 25-20 at halftime and was ahead 59-53 with under five minutes remaining when Johnson helped the Toreros pull away. Named Player of the Month for January, Johnson scored on a driving lay-in and added three free throws, the last of which gave San Diego a 14-point lead.

Trumaine Johnson added 10 points for San Diego.