March 2, 2007
San Diego - 95
Pepperdine - 82
Portland, OR - The USD Toreros (17-13) played an outstanding game from start to finish in handing the Pepperdine Waves (8-23) a 95-82 loss in the first round of the 2007 West Coast Conference Championships. Senior Ross DeRogatis scored a game-high 22 points and was followed by Gyno Pomare (20 points) and Nir Cohen (19 points) as the Toreros shot 57.6 percent from the floor (2nd best shooting mark this season). USD also canned 11-of-21 three-pointers with DeRogatis converting on 5-of-8. The No. 5 seed Toreros will now take on No. 4 seed San Francisco Saturday in the 6:00 p.m. quarterfinal contest.
The win was USD's third this season against the Waves, and second straight opening win over them in WCC Tourney play. In the first half USD built a 16 point lead (44-28) with 3:42 left before Pepperdine battled back to get within 7 at intermission (48-41). USD's inside game of Pomare and Cohen, each with 12 points, paced the attack in the first 20 minutes.
In the second half USD extended its lead to 12 points (62-50) with 14:09 to go on a DeRogatis trey, but Pepperdine fought back again to within 5 points (64-59) on a Chase Griffen three-pointer with 12:13 left. USD would never be threatened the rest of the way as the Toreros had an answer for each Pepperdine push.
Brandon Johnson dished out a career-high 11 assists, and Ray Murdock scored 13 points on 5-of-7 shooting. Pepperdine was paced by Marvin Lea with 17 points.
Portland - 55
Loyola Marymount - 41
PORTLAND, OR - The University of Portland men's basketball team defeated Loyola Marymount 55-41 in the first round of the West Coast Conference Tournament, hosted at the Chiles Center. The Pilots (9-22) advance to the quarterfinals and will face Saint Mary's (16-14) on Saturday at approximately 8:30 p.m.
Leading 21-20 at half time after coming back from an early nine point deficit, the Pilots went on a 9-0 surge to open the second half and never looked back, leading the remainder of the game en route to the victory. The win is Portland's first WCC Tournament win since defeating Gonzaga in the Championship game in 1996 to advance to the NCAA Tournament.
"I'm really proud of our guys' effort," Pilots head coach Eric Reveno said. "We have been working hard all year long, and we have been a basketball team that is really getting better. I'm happy for them, especially for the seniors, and it started with defense and rebounding. That's been our point of emphasis all year long."
Portland put forth its best defensive effort of the season, limiting the Lions (13-18) to a season-low 28 percent field goal percentage. LMU's 41 points was also a season-low for points allowed by the Pilots. The Lions also struggled to 17 percent shooting (4-for-23) from beyond the arc. Portland also outrebounded LMU 40-31.
The Pilots shot 44 percent from the field, including 52 percent in the second half and 45 percent (5-for-11) from the three point line.
The defensive struggle made a mark in the WCC record books, with the teams combining for a WCC tournament record low of 96 points, marking the first time in WCC tournament history the two teams didn't combine for at least 100 points.
Freshman guard Taishi Ito (pictured) was the game's high scorer with 16 points, connecting on 3-of-4 three pointers and adding three assists. Senior guard Darren Cooper had a tremendous second half, scoring all of his 13 points and collecting eight of his nine rebounds. Junior forward Sherrard Watson also exploded in the second frame, adding all 10 of his points, including a thunderous breakaway dunk to put the Pilots up by 10 with less than two minutes remaining. Senior center Ben Sullivan had a solid all-around game, narrowly missing a double-double with 10 points and nine rebounds and making several excellent defensive plays.
Cooper and Watson combined for 23 points in the second half, two points higher than the entire team's offensive output in the first half.
For the Lions, Matthew Knight had 15 points and seven rebounds to lead the way. Adoyah Miller was the only other LMU player in double digits, finishing with 12 points, while Damian Martin had a game-high six assists.
Portland and Saint Mary's will face each other in the WCC tournament for the first time since 1989. The two teams split their two regular season games this year, with the Pilots taking the most recent meeting a 55-47 decision in the Chiles Center on Feb. 12 and the Gaels winning 73-57 in Moraga on Jan. 13.