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WCC Men's Basketball Recaps

Dec. 16, 2006

Pepperdine - 101
Northern Arizona - 86

MALIBU, Calif. - Behind 22 points from senior guard Marvin Lea, thePepperdine men's basketball team turned in its best all-around performance of the season as it cruised to a relatively easy 101-86 victory over Northern Arizona Saturday night at Firestone Fieldhouse.

Lea was joined in double figures by senior guard Chase Griffin (18),sophomore guard Tomas Pranciliauskas (17), junior guard Kingsley Costain(15) and senior guard Gregg Barlow (14) as the Waves (3-9) snapped athree-game losing streak and recorded their first home win of the season.Pranciliauskas' 17 points were a career-high.

Northern Arizona (5-5) was led by Ruben Boykin, Jr., who scored 19 pointsand grabbed 10 rebounds.

Lea, who had five steals, hit a lay-up to give Pepperdine a 25-point lead, 101-76, with 4:10 remaining.

The Waves reached the century mark for the first since December 2002 whenPepperdine beat Arkansas-Little Rock 116-110 in the Comcast LoboInvitational in Albuquerque, New Mexico.

Following a made basket by Tyrone Bazy that gave the Lumberjacks a 14-12lead at the 14:12 mark of the first half, the Waves scored the next fivepoints on a basket by Griffin and three-pointer from Pranciliauskas thatgave Pepperdine a 17-14 lead.

From that point on the Waves would never trail as they led by as many as 15 points in the first half and went into halftime with a 53-38 lead.

The 53 first-half points were a season-high for Pepperdine, which connected on 56.3 percent of its shots from the field, including nine of 16 (56.3) from behind the three-point arc.

The Waves finished the game shooting 54.7 percent from the field and forced 28 turnovers.

After losing seven of their previous eight games, the Waves avoided theirworst start since the 1996-97 season, when they opened 2-10.

Pepperdine returns to action on Wednesday when it faces nationally-rankedConnecticut at the Hartford Civic Center in Hartford, Conn. Tip-off isscheduled for 4 p.m. (PST) and will be televised live on ESPNU.

San Diego - 81
Furman - 70

San Diego, CA - The USD Toreros (8-4) won their sixth straight game,and improved to 5-0 at the Jenny Craig Pavilion, with today's 81-70 win over the Furman Paladins (5-5). Sophomore point guard Brandon Johnson matched his career-high of 24 points, and Gyno Pomare came off the bench to total 17 points and 8 rebounds in just 24 minutes of action. USD shot 50.9% from the floor for the game and outrebounded Furman, 41-28. The six straight wins match USD's streak from early last season, and the Toreros are off now until Dec. 22nd when they host a very good UC Santa Barbara club in a 7 pm contest at the JCP.

"Nineteen short days ago we were 2-4, and now we are 8-4," stated a happyBrad Holland. "This is a confident team. I told our kids that we are really proud of them. To get on a roll, 6 in-a-row, shows how far they have come since our San Antonio trip. Furman is a very good and balanced team, and this felt like a conference win. Brandon had a real good all-around game. He penetrated their defense at will and put pressure on them. That opened it up for a lot of our guys."

In the first half the Toreros found themselves down 11-8 three minutes into the game, but rallied to go up by eight at 23-15 on a three-pointer by Daniel Fleming with 9:23 to go. Furman answered with a 7-0 run to get within one, but a Chris Lewis layup ended their streak. The Paladins kept battling and tied the game at 27-27 on a Stanley Jones layup, but a traditional three-point play by Brandon Johnson pushed USD back up 30-27 with just over 2 minutes left. Furman ended the half on a 8-3 run for a 35-33 lead.

In the 2nd half Brandon Johnson scored the first five points to put USD up 38-35 and the Toreros never trailed again. USD would go up by as many as 12 points at 57-45 with 12:09 to go, but Furman would get within 6 points on two occasions. Each time Gyno Pomare answered; the first time with back-to-back baskets, and the last time with two free throws for a 71-63 edge with 2:31 left. From there USD closed out the game with a 10-7 point differential.

For the game USD also got double digit scoring from Ross DeRogatis (12points) and Chris Lewis (11 points), while Theo White also contributed some key minutes (6 points, 7 rebounds, 3 steals). Furman was paced by center Moussa Diagne with 16 points.

Santa Clara - 62
Stanford - 46

STANFORD, Calif. - Danny Pariseau had 16 points, nine rebounds andfour assists Saturday night to lead Santa Clara past Stanford 62-46 for its third straight victory.

Brody Angley and Sean Denison added 10 points apiece for the Broncos, whosnapped the Cardinal's four-game winning streak with their sixth win inseven games.

Santa Clara (8-3), which had won its last two games against Pacific andEastern Washington by a combined 41 points, outhustled the rusty Cardinal(6-2) to match its second-biggest margin of victory at Stanford since a20-point win on Feb. 23, 1946. The Broncos also won by 16 on the Cardinal's home floor on Jan. 26, 1957.

Mitch Johnson scored nine points and Robin Lopez had eight points and sixrebounds for a sluggish Stanford team. The Cardinal didn't exhibit the kind of energy that led to their strong start - and made only four first-half field goals (4-for-27).

It was easy to tell that Stanford took the court for the first time in 13days following a break for final exams. The Cardinal beat Bob Knight andTexas Tech on Dec. 3 in the Pete Newell Challenge.

Santa Clara led by as many as 22 points in the second half, but Stanford's 7-foot Lopez twins helped get the Cardinal back in it. Robin made a tip-in before his brother Brook scored five straight points to make it 40-27.

Santa Clara answered with Scott Dougherty hitting a tough baseline 3-pointer with 7:27 to play before Pariseau converted two free throws at 6:51 to make it 46-32.

Stanford went more than five minutes without scoring during a second-halfdrought, and the near-capacity crowd at Maples Pavilion cheered when theCardinal finally reached 20 points on Fred Washington's two free throws at 11:08. Stanford lost at home for only the second time in seven games this season.

The Cardinal have lost the last two meetings between the schools, located 20 minutes apart off Highway 101, after winning the previous seven. TheBroncos' 86-76 home victory on Nov. 28, 2004, was the first win in six tries against Stanford for longtime Santa Clara coach Dick Davey.

The Cardinal were 1-for-13 to start the game and went nearly seven minutes between their first two field goals, 3-pointers by Johnson and Lawrence Hill.

Georgia - 96
Gonzaga - 83

DULUTH, GA - Georgia (7-1) forced No. 16 Gonzaga (9-3) into a season-high 21 turnovers, four more than its previous high in a win overNorth Carolina on Nov. 22. Georgia, which turned the ball over only 11times, outscored Gonzaga 30-11 in points off turnovers.

Gonzaga coach Mark Few said his team was simply overwhelmed.

"There was no doubt today that Georgia had a stronger conviction to win the game," Few said. "They were hungrier. They were tougher, beating us to every 50-50 ball. You win games that way.

"Twenty-one turnovers...it's just guys trying to do too much," he said.

Derek Raivio led Gonzaga with 19 points but saw his streak of 20-point games end at eight as he went 3-of-7 from 3-point range. Jeremy Pargo added 17 points, 12 in the first half, and Josh Heytvelt had 15 in the matchup of Bulldogs.

Levi Stukes scored 25 points and Sundiata Gaines added a season-high 21 to lift Georgia to a 96-83 victory over No. 16 Gonzaga.

Georgia coach Dennis Felton said his team seized the opportunity to "make a statement" against a ranked team on national TV.

"This was a terrific win," Felton said. "We went in wanting to takeadvantage of the situation because we had the opportunity to make a national statement."

Georgia had 11 days to prepare for its first game this season against aranked opponent.

"This is the biggest win of my career," said Stukes, a senior. "Justfighting every day and going through the ups and downs with this team, this is the biggest win because we were playing against a team that wasnationally known and everybody thought we didn't have a chance. We came out and showed the nation that Georgia is a team to watch out for."

Gonzaga, which played so well in the win over then-No. 2 North Carolina, had difficulty matching Georgia's emotion.

"The funny thing is this team plays better when we're the underdog," Gonzaga forward Sean Mallon said. "We need to approach every game the same way. We can play great or we can play awful."

"Coach Few stresses every game we play, the NCAA tournament committee isgoing to look at it," Raivio said. "Georgia will be a Top 25 teameventually... They played like they wanted it more tonight."

Georgia averaged 91 points per game through its first seven games, and itdidn't appear fazed by the step up in competition as it led 50-45 athalftime and then scored the first 11 points of the second half.

"Georgia is a good team," Few said. "They've got a lot of offensivefirepower. They're athletic. They execute. They get good shots on theoffensive end."

Added Few of Georgia: "They're an NCAA tournament team. We knew that coming in. We tried to prepare our guys for that."

Few was critical of the reluctance of Heytvelt, a 6-foot-11 forward, toestablish an inside game. Heytvelt made three 3-pointers but spent toolittle time in the paint to satisfy Few.

"He has no conviction to get the ball inside," Few said of Heytvelt. "We're never going to get where we need to be if all he does is slide out to the 3-point line.

"We wanted to attack them inside. Josh took the easy road to shoot 3s."

Georgia had a 34-28 advantage in rebounds and outscored Gonzaga 52-36 in the paint.

Gonzaga's last lead was 35-34 with less than 6 minutes left in the firsthalf.

Georgia, picked by media to finish last in the Southeastern Conference'sEastern Division, won its sixth straight game.

Mike Mercer scored 19 points and Takais Brown added 11 for Georgia.

Raivio, who had only seven points in the first half, hit two 3-pointers in a 17-6 run that cut Georgia's lead to 67-62.

In a matchup of freshman centers, Georgia's 6-10 Albert Jackson scoredconsecutive inside baskets over Gonzaga's 7-4 Will Foster, helping Georgia push the lead back to double figures at 80-69. Foster quickly returned to the Gonzaga bench.

Each team shot over 60 percent from the field in the first half. Gonzaga was 8-of-12 on 3s in the first half but still trailed 50-45 at halftime, thanks to 19 first-half points by the hot-shooting Stukes.

Georgia scored the first 11 points of the second half, including a basket by Brown, followed by a field goal by Mercer set up by his steal of an inbounds pass. The play gave Georgia a 61-45 lead, forcing Few to call a timeout.

Soon after the timeout, Gonzaga's first points of the second half came on an inside basket by Mallon, who had 11 points, at the 16:39 mark.

The game, played at the Gwinnett Center near Atlanta, was sponsored byChick-fil-A.

San Diego State - 74
Loyola Marymount - 63

San Diego, CA - The non-conference match-up between San Diego Stateand Loyola Marymount looked to be a up and down battle Saturday night in San Diego. However, the Lions went over nine minutes with just three points and one field goal as they went down double digits and could not recover, falling 74-63 at Cox Arena.

Senior Brandon Worthy finished the game with 22 points and five reboundsMatthew Knight added 16 points and five rebounds while Adoyah Miller had 10 points. The Lions fall to 7-5 while SDSU improves to 10-2.

With 11:07 remaining in the first half, Worthy tied the score at 17 with a steal and transition basketball. However, the Lions would go through another scoring drought. They would hit just one field goal and score just three points in a nine-minute span as SDSU took a 33-20 lead on a 16-3 run.

Worthy ended the run with a three-pointer 1:50 remaining in the half as they trailed 35-25 at the break.

Aztec leading scorer Brandon Heath, who was held to just one field goal and six points in the first half, exploded to lead SDSU with five straight points and a 15-point lead just two minutes in to the second half. Heath would score 19 second half points to finish with a game-high 25 points.

The Lions cut the lead to nine, 47-38, on a three by Miller with 14:29remaining. SDSU would go on another run, this one 16-4 over six minutes to go up by as many as 21.

It was far from over as the Lions attempted yet another comeback. To theshock of the 6,033 in attendance, the Lions went on an 18-3 run in sixminutes to cut the lead to six. In the run freshmen Shawn Deadwiler II hit a long jumper to make it 64-52 and Worthy's three-pointer with 2:55 remaining made it a 64-57 game.

After a pair of free throws by Mohamed Abukar, who had 17 points, Worthy hit another three pointer to make it 66-60 with 2:29 remaining. They got no closer as San Diego State held on.

LMU's shooting woes continued as the shot just 32 percent for the game. In the five loses this season they are shooting 32 percent and averaging 59 points per game, while scoring 72.9 points and shooting 45 percent in the seven wins. San Diego State finished the game shooting 51 percent andoutrebounded the Lions 40-29.

The Lions return home for two straight, including Boise State on Dec. 19 at 7:05 p.m.

Weber State - 68
Portland - 51

OGDEN, Utah - The return of Portland senior guard Darren Cooper wasspoiled by the Weber State Wildcats Saturday evening at the Dee EventsCenter. Cooper had 16 points in his first game back since Nov. 11, but the Wildcats won by a 68-51 margin to complete a home-and-home sweep over the Pilots in front of 2,745.

Weber State (6-5) improves to 8-0 all-time against Portland, while thePilots (2-10) dropped their seventh straight contest.

Cooper led all Pilots with 16 points on 5-for-9 shooting in 18 minutes ofaction.

"Darren had an impressive performance tonight," Portland head coach EricReveno said. "He showed a lot of poise and toughness out there,unfortunately, he didn't get much support tonight. We look forward tocontinue to integrate him back into the team as much as possible."

Junior Sherrard Watson was the only other Pilot in double figures with 11points.

Dan Henry led WSU with 16 points and seven rebounds.

The Wildcats controlled the boards with a 38-27 rebounding advantage,including a 14-7 edge in second chance points. It marks the first time inthe last six games that the Pilots lost the rebounding battle, and only the third time all season.

Cooper, who had missed the previous nine games with a pulled hamstring, came out firing with 11 points in the first half for the Pilots, but Weber State led by as much as 19 with 5:31 remaining in the period. Portland used an 11-5 run to close the gap to 38-25 at the break.

"We had an uncharacteristic first half from a defensive standpoint," Reveno said. "We dug ourselves a hole and that allowed (Weber State's) confidence to rise. It was an even game after our early stumble, but we don't have the offensive firepower to get out of an early hole like that."

Watson came out of intermission with a layup to pull the Pilots within 11, but Portland would get no closer as the Wildcats pushed the lead back to 19 at 53-34 on a Tyler Billings layup with 9:51 remaining.

Weber State shot 48 percent from the field, while Portland struggled to 37 percent shooting. Both teams had 11 turnovers, although WSU gained an 18-7 edge in points off turnovers. The Wildcats had 13 assists to Portland's seven.

Portland next travels to South Bend, Ind. take on the No. 21 Notre DameFighting Irish on Tuesday at 4:30 p.m. (PST). The Irish (8-1) have won eight consecutive with their lone loss a season-opening defeat versus Butler. The game can be heard on KKAD 1550 AM or on the web at portlandpilots.com.