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WCC Men's Tournament First Round Recaps

March 3, 2006

San Diego - 85
Pepperdine - 72

SPOKANE, Wash. (AP) - Brandon Johnson scored 24 points as San Diego beat Pepperdine 85-72 Friday night in the first round of the West Coast Conference basketball tournament at Gonzaga University.

Johnson added eight rebounds for fifth-seeded San Diego (17-11, 6-8 WCC), which broke a four-game losing streak.

Eighth-seeded Pepperdine (7-20) was plagued by poor shooting, but managed to stay close until late in the game by shooting many more free throws, making 21 of 33. San Diego made 8 of 13.

Tashaan Forehan-Kelly led the Waves with 21 points, including 13 of 18 free throws. Chris Oakes added 18 points.

San Diego got 13 points from Ross DeRogatis and Nick Lewis, 11 from Corey Belser and 10 from Nir Cohen.

After a sloppy first half in which San Diego led 37-27, the teams exchanged baskets in a much crisper second half.

A 3-pointer by Forehan-Kelly, followed by Russell Hicks' layup, cut San Diego's lead to 59-51 with seven minutes left. Forehan-Kelly made one free throw, missed the second, but got the rebound and scored to cut San Diego's lead to 61-54.

But Lewis made two free throws and DeRogatis followed with a 3-pointer to give San Diego a 66-54 lead, and the Toreros pulled away.

In an unusual first half, San Diego led just 27-20 with three minutes left even though Pepperdine had made just 3 of 18 shots, 16 percent, to that point. But the Waves made 12 of 18 free throws to keep it close, while San Diego shot none.

Pepperdine closed to 27-25, then San Diego outscored the Waves 10-2 in the final 1:29. Johnson had 17 points in the first half, and the Toreros shot 45 percent.

Pepperdine shot just 25 percent in the first, making 6 of 24. They finished at 40 percent for the game, while San Diego shot 52 percent.

Santa Clara - 72
Portland - 68

SPOKANE, Wash. (AP) - Travis Niesen scored 19 points and grabbed eight rebounds Friday night as Santa Clara beat Portland 72-68 in the first round of the West Coast Conference basketball tournament at Gonzaga.

Santa Clara (13-15), the sixth seed, will play third-seeded Saint Mary's on Saturday.

Pooh Jeter had 26 points for seventh-seeded Portland (11-18). Portland coach Michael Holton fell to 0-5 in WCC tournament games.

Brody Angley added 17 points for Santa Clara, which shot 44 percent in the game, but made 26 of 32 free throws.

Portland was hampered by 37 percent shooting. Jeter made 7 of 16, but sank all 10 of his free throws. Donald Wilson added 13 for the Pilots.

After a close first half in which Portland led by a point, the teams swapped the lead numerous times through the second.

After Wilson tied the score at 51 for Portland, Santa Clara scored the next nine points - including a 3-pointer and two free throws by Mitch Henke - to take a 60-51 lead with 3:54 left.

But Portland made four consecutive free throws, two after a technical foul on Niesen for contact, and Darren Cooper also scored when the Pilots received the ball after the foul shots. That cut the Broncos' lead to 60-57.

But Niesen hit a free throw and Sean Denison and Henke slipped inside for dunks as Santa Clara rebuilt a 65-59 lead.

The teams exchanged free throws in the final minute.

In the first half, Jeter scored 10 points as Portland jumped to an 18-15 lead.

The teams swapped the lead five times in the final 2:30 of the half, and Wilson's jumper gave Portland a 33-32 halftime lead.