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WCC Men's Basketball Recaps

Nov. 29, 2006

LMU - 58
UCSB - 55

Santa Barbara, CA - Playing without his face mask for the first time since he broke his nose in October, junior Jon Ziri broke out for a career-high 17 points including a three-pointer with 1:54 remaining to give Loyola Marymount a 58-55 come-from-behind win over UC Santa Barbara on Wednesday night at the Thunderdome.

LMU improves to 6-2 on the season as Ziri added nine rebounds to his 17 points. Senior Brandon Worthy added 16 while fellow senior Matthew Knight added 14 points and eight rebounds, getting every point in the final 14 minutes. UCSB falls to 4-2 on the year as they were led by Alex Harris with 25 points.

"I knew coming here was going to be a tough place to play," said Head Coach Rodney Tention. "We struggled in the first half with our offense but our defense played well. I knew if we kept focusing on our defense our offense would come around."

The Lions scored 40 points in the second half as they trailed nearly the entire game, including an 11-point deficit with 12:20 remaining. However, the LMU continued to focus on their defense once again to mount their third second half comeback of the season. The Lions held UCSB without a field goal for 10:51 in the second half and took their first lead of the game with Ziri's free throws with 4:20 remaining.

Harris would come right back and score the Gauchos first field goal since 14:23 of the second half to tie it at 48-48 with 3:53 remaining in the game. Knight answered right back with a lay-in on an assist by Ziri as LMU went up 50-48.

UCSB would then hit three of four free throws to go up 51-50 with 2:22 remaining. The Lions would work the ball to Knight who got an instant double team. His kickout found an open Ziri who buried the three-pointer from deep in the corner to give LMU the lead for good with 1:54 on the clock.

Knight would give the Lions an important two-possession lead at 55-51 with :50 remaining. Ziri had the assist on the play. Harris hit a back-door laying with 40 seconds left but Worthy buried both free throws on the next possession to make it 57-53 with :31 remaining.

Harris hit another lay-in with :28 remaining and Worthy hit just one of two free throws with :22 remaining. The Lions would then force a turnover on the UCSB's next possession and held them without a shot in the final 22 seconds to seal the win.

LMU held UCSB to just 34.8 percent from the field. LMU finished just 37.3 percent but dominated the offensive boards with 16, finishing the game with a 38-35 edge on the glass.

"Ziri played a really solid game for us," said Tention. "We have been teasing him all year that it has been his mask keeping him from really playing the way we know he can. Well the mask was gone tonight. We did a really good job of rotating the ball on offense and staying patient. We have all the confidence in Matty and wanted to keep getting him the ball. He can't go scoreless all game."

The Lions will be back in action on Saturday, Dec. 2 at 6 p.m. when they travel to USC to take on the Trojans. The game can be seen on FSN Prime Ticket.

Saint Mary's - 78
San Jose State - 60

MORAGA, Calif. (AP) - Diamon Simpson and Wayne Hunter each had 15 points to lead Saint Mary's to a 78-60 victory over San Jose State in a nonconference game Wednesday night.

Brett Collins added 14 points, and John Winston contributed 10 - all in the first half - as the Gaels (5-3) overcame an early eight-point deficit with a 20-0 first-half run and later scored 16 straight in the second half.

Menelik Barbary had a game-high 18 points for San Jose State - 17 coming in the second half - and seven rebounds, while Jamon Hill added 10.

San Jose State (0-6) built a 10-2 lead as Saint Mary's had as many turnovers - five - as it had shots. The Spartans led 14-6 on Lance Holloway's reverse layup with 13:42 to play in the half.

Then Hunter hit a basket to start the Gaels on a 20-0 run that lasted seven minutes. Hunter scored 10 of his 13 first-half points during the run, hitting a pair of 3-pointers as Saint Mary's connected on four 3-pointers. Collins' 3-pointer put Saint Mary's ahead 17-14 during the streak, and the Gaels never trailed after that.

Saint Mary's used a 25-0 first-half spurt to win its previous home game against TCU.

The Gaels built a 33-point lead in the second half. They dominated inside and outrebounded the Spartans 46-29.

The victory tied the all-time series between the two schools at 37. It was the 90th career victory for Saint Mary's coach Randy Bennett, tying him for second among Saint Mary's coaches with Ernie Kent with 90 victories

Santa Clara - 68
Hawai'i - 59

SANTA CLARA, Calif. (AP) - Brody Angley scored 14 points and his backcourt partner Danny Pariseau added 11, leading Santa Clara to a 68-59 win over Hawaii on Wednesday night.

Josh Higgins added 11 points and eight rebounds while Mitch Henke also scored 11 points for the Broncos (4-2), who had lost their last four games against the Rainbows. This was the first game between the two teams played in Santa Clara since the 1961-62 season.

Matt Lojeski scored 16 points for Hawaii (4-3), which went nearly eight minutes without a basket in the second half.

Angley scored 10 of his points in the second half, eight coming in the final 6:30 after Hawaii pulled within 52-47.

The Broncos' 5-foot-11 guard drove past three Hawaii defenders to score on a layup, then added a 3-pointer and a free throw during a 13-4 run that gave Santa Clara a 65-51 lead with 2:18 left to play.

The loss dropped Hawaii to 5-23 in its last 28 road games.

The game marked the end of an 11-day road trip for the Rainbows, who were coming off a third-place finish in the Great Alaska Shootout. Hawaii hosts UNLV on Dec. 5 and won't leave home again until a Jan. 4 game at New Mexico State.

Lojeski, who scored in double figures in each of the Rainbows' first four wins, already reached that mark by halftime against Santa Clara. The 6-foot-6 guard, Hawaii's leader in both scoring and assists this season, made five of his seven shots in the first half but was just 6-for-11 for the game.

Santa Clara won despite committing 23 turnovers, 13 in the first half.

Washington State - 62
Portland - 50

PULLMAN, Wash. - The Washington State Cougars remained unbeaten with a 62-50 victory over the Portland Pilots Wednesday night at Friel Court. The Cougars (7-0) shot an opponents' season high 48 percent from the field. The Pilots (2-7) have lost four straight and fall to 0-7 away from home.

Ivory Clark led the Cougars with 12 points, six rebounds, four blocked shots and three steals. Daven Harmeling added 10 points.

Sophomore forward Jamie Jones was a rebound shy of his third double-double of the season, finishing with 12 points and nine boards to pace Portland.

Turnovers put the Pilots in a bind, as the Cougars turned 22 Portland giveaways into 16 points.

The Cougars closed the first half with a 17-5 run to go into the break with a 32-20 lead. Portland committed 15 first-half turnovers, but hung around as Jones had eight points and five rebounds in the period.

WSU used a 9-1 run to open the second half to gain a 39-22 lead and led by as much as 21 points after the break.

"I thought we ran our offense all right, but you don't get points for just running it," Portland head coach Eric Reveno said. "You still have to knock down shots and make plays, and Washington State did a good job of preventing us from getting that done."

It is the second year in a row that the Cougars defeated the Pilots in Pullman. Last season, WSU earned a 61-46 win. The Cougars improve to 7-2 all-time against Portland.

The Pilots return to Portland this weekend to open a three-game homestand against the UC Santa Barbara Gauchos on Saturday at 7 p.m. Portland also hosts Weber State on Tuesday, Dec. 5 at 7 p.m. and Eastern Washington on Saturday, Dec. 9 at 7 p.m.

San Diego State - 79
San Diego - 76

SAN DIEGO (AP) - Brandon Heath hit a clutch jumper with 25.7 seconds left and finished with 21 points for the San Diego State Aztecs, who beat crosstown rival San Diego 79-76 Wednesday night for their eighth straight victory, matching the best start in school history.

It's also the best start ever for coach Steve Fisher. Until this season, his previous best start was going 7-0 in his last season at Michigan, 1996-97. That team won the NIT. Fisher was fired shortly before the start of the 1997-98 season. He was hired at SDSU in March 1999.

San Diego State's 1984-85 team also opened 8-0. That team reached the NCAA tournament, losing in the first round.

Heath scored 16 points in the second half, including the final eight for the Aztecs.

With the Aztecs leading 71-68, Heath missed a shot with just more than a minute left and USD's Chris Lewis rebounded. SDSU's Lorrenzo Wade stole Lewis' pass and the Aztecs worked the clock before Heath hit a jumper just inside the free-throw line with 25.7 seconds left for a 73-68 lead.

Heath made six free throws in the final 15.1 seconds to keep the Aztecs ahead. Lewis hit a 3-pointer for USD with 17.7 seconds left and Ross DeRogatis made his fifth 3-pointer of the game with 1.3 seconds left to pull USD to 77-76. Heath made his final two free throws with a second left, and Lewis' desperation shot from beyond half court hit the front of the rim.

Mohamed Abukar scored 22 for SDSU, Wade had 14 and Kyle Spain 12.

DeRogatis scored 23 for USD (2-4). Gyno Pomare had 17 and Lewis 16. Theo White had 12 rebounds.

SDSU led 67-57 after Wade's jumper with 6:50 left. Lewis hit a 3-pointer and Gyno Pomare scored six points to help USD pull to 71-68 with 2:42 to play.

SDSU led 41-40 at halftime.

Pacific - 79
San Francisco - 72

Stockton, CA - Steffan White scored 23 on 10-14 shooting and Michael White added 15 as the University of Pacific broke out to a double digit first half lead and held off USF late to defeat the Dons 79-72 Wednesday night in Stockton.

USF was paced by Armondo Surratt with 16 points and Alan Wiggins, Jr. who scored 14 points and Antonio Kellogg adding 13. The Dons shot 51 percent from the floor but its two top scorers, Manny Quezada and Antonio Kellogg had off shooting nights, combining for five of 21 from the floor.

The Dons, dropped to 3-4 on the year while Pacific improved to 3-3.

The Dons trailed 34-29 at the half and fell down in double digits early after intermission, but rallied to close the game to 58-54 with 5:45 remaining. Pacific center Michael White made four consecutive free-throws and an inside layup to raise the lead to 64-54 after Alan Wiggins went to the bench after being whistled for his fourth foul. Wiggins fouled out with 1:46 remaining.

"We just have to do a better job defensively," said Dons' head coach Jessie Evans. "It was great to have Johnny Dukes back. He played well in spurts. We need to play a little tougher and not so casual.

The Dons trailed 34-29 at the half after rallying from a 26-13 deficit with eight minutes remaining. USF continued its hot field goal shooting hitting 56 percent 13-23 before intermission, but eight early turnovers put the Dons into a hole. Pacific shot the ball well also hitting 14 of 28 attempts with Steffan Johnson hitting 6 of 7 shots for 15 first half points. Armondo Surratt and Alan Wiggins, Jr. each had 10 to pace USF before intermission.

It was USF's third game in five nights after playing Saturday at UNLV and defeating Northern Arizona Monday.

Johnny Dukes returned to the floor for the first time since he injured his foot against Monmouth last November 21. He suffered a hand injury in preseason practice this season.

USF gets right back on the road for a three game swing playing Southeast Louisiana on Friday and New Mexico State Saturday in the Lou Henson Classic. Before returning home the Dons will have a rematch with Northern Arizona on December 6th in Flagstaff, Ariz.