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WCC Men's Basketball Recaps

Dec. 22, 2007

Saint Mary's - 70
Ohio - 63

Honolulu, HI - In its first ever trip to the Outrigger Hotels Rainbow Classic, Saint Mary's posted a 70-63 win over the Ohio Bobcats to capture the tournament title. Patrick Mills, who was named the tournament Most Valuable Player, led the Gaels with 23 points and played the entire 40 minutes against Ohio. Mills helped SMC finish the eight-team tournament with a 3-0 record, while averaged 19.0 points in the tournament

On a night when free throw shooting was a struggle for Saint Mary's, the Gaels made 6-of-8 free throws in the final 1:28 to keep the Bobcats at bay, and a dunk by Diamon Simpson, who was named to the all-tournament team, with three seconds left, put the exclamation point on the game. The tournament victory was the first away from home for SMC since winning the Hawaii Powerbar Invitational in 1996.

After scoring nine points on 3-of-12 shooting in the first half, Mills scored 14 in the second half on 5-of-7 shooting from the floor and made both his 3-point attempts. The 23-point effort for Mills was the second of the tournament for the freshman and his third 20-point performance of the season.

Todd Golden was the only other Gaels to score in double figures as he scored a season-high 13 points. Golden was 4-for-7 from the field, which included three 3-pointers. Golden made two threes in the first half, but his biggest of the game came to start the second half, which evened the score at 28-28, but more importantly it sparked an 11-0 Saint Mary's run to start the half.

Both Simpson and Omar Samhan had double digit rebound games and both just missed notching a double-double. Simpson had 10 rebounds for his sixth double digit rebound game of the season, while Samhan finished with 11 boards for his third double-digit rebound game of the season. Both Simpson and Samhan had nine points.

The Gaels shot 47.1 percent from the field for the game, but connected in just 37.5 percent of their shots in the first half, making just 3-of-12 from behind the arc, and a dismal 33.3 percent (3-9) from the free throw line. SMC shot 55.6 percent over the final 20 minutes, making 15-of-27 shots overall, 4-of-9 from downtown and 11-of-17 from the line.

With the Gaels leading 13-11 following a Carlin Hughes 3-pointer at the 11:47 mark, Ohio went on a 9-0 run over the next four minutes to take a 20-13 advantage. The run by the Bobcats was capped by four free throws following a technical foul call on Todd Golden. The four-and-a-half minute scoring drought by SMC ended with an Omar Samhan jumper with 7:20 left in the first half.

After Saint Mary's cut the deficit to 24-20, Ohio extended its lead to 28-20 with 1:31 left in the half. SMC scored the final five points on a 3-pointer by Golden and a put-back by Diamon Simpson with 34 seconds left to play. The SMC trailed by as much as seven points before trailing by three (28-25) at halftime.

Saint Mary's opened the second half with a blast, scoring the first 11 points of the half, which extended SMC's run to 16 straight points including the last five of the first half. The second half run included threes by Golden, Ian O'Leary and Mills, followed by a fast break lay-in by Golden following a Simpson block on the defensive end.

The 24-5 run over the first 6:30 of the second half had the Gaels leading 49-33 with 13:30 left to play. After Saint Mary's held a 16-point lead, Ohio got as close as 52-39 following a basket by Jerome Tillman at the 9:31 mark. From there Ohio went on a 10-2 run to cut the SMC lead to single digits (57-49) following a 3-point play by Jerome Tillman with 3:23 left to play.

Ohio got as close a six points (62-56) when Bert Wittington made a steal and converted a lay-up with 1:49 left to play. After Carlin Hughes made two free throws, Mills hit two foul shots as well to give SMC a 66-56 lead with 54 seconds left to play.

Following five straight games away from home, Saint Mary's will return to action and McKeon Pavilion on Friday, December 28 in the 5th Annual Shamrock Office Solutions Classic. The Gaels will open the tournament against Howard University, with tip-off scheduled for 7:30 p.m. The game between the Gaels and Bison will follow the opening game of the tournament between the Furman Paladins and the Cal State Fullerton Titans, which is scheduled to tip-off at 5 p.m.

San Diego - 69
Texas-San Antonio - 54

San Diego, CA - The USD Toreros (6-8) snapped their 3-game skid with an all-around solid 69-54 victory over visiting Texas San Antonio (5-5). Junior guard Brandon Johnson scored a game-high 18 points, and was followed by Gyno Pomare (15 points, 3 blocks), Rob Jones (13 points, 8 rebounds), and Trumaine Johnson (10 points). The Toreros converted 57.1% of their shots (28-49) and outrebounded UTSA, 28-24. Following Christmas the Toreros will close out the month of December with road games at Kentucky (Dec. 29) and Marshall (Dec. 31).

"I'm really pleased with the guys in the way they responded after being off with finals, and coming off a tough loss to Stephen F. Austin," stated head coach Bill Grier. "Today we got good guard play, especially in the first half, and Gyno continues to be very efficient. We did a good job spreading things out and driving to the basket."

In the first half UTSA jumped out to a 7-point lead at 11-4 with 14:42 to go. USD took its first lead of the game at 19-18 on a Gyno Pomare dunk with 8:38 to go. With the game tied at 26-all with 5:50 left in the first half, USD closed out the half on a 14-2 run led by Brandon Johnson's 8 points including at three-pointer with 00:31 seconds left.

In the 2nd half USD extended their lead to as many as 16 points at 46-30, then saw the Roadrunners battle back to within 6 points at 49-43 with 9:27 to go. Rob Jones scored 5 of the team's next 7 points that gave USD a 12-point cushion, and that would be as close as UTSA would get. UTSA was led by Melvin Smith off the bench with 14 points.

Wagner - 82
Loyola Marymount - 79

Los Angeles, CA - For the second straight Saturday the Loyola Marymount men's basketball team found heartache in the form of overtime, falling to Wagner 82-79 in an extra frame at Gersten Pavilion on Saturday. The heartache had a familiar tone as the Lions turned the ball over 21 times equating into 25 Wagner points.

Just like last Saturday in an overtime setback to UC Riverside, the Lions held a three-point lead in the final seconds but Wagner's leading scorer Mark Porter hit a desperation three-pointer to tie it with 17 seconds left. This came after the Lions erased an eight-point deficit to take the lead.

Wagner jumped out to a seven-point lead in the overtime frame and the Lions could get as close as two. After Porter went one-for-two at the free throw line with 21 seconds remaining, junior Corey Counts had his three-point attempt blocked by Justin Drummond to end it.

Freshman Orlando Johnson had another stellar effort fall short in overtime. After going for a career-high 25 points against UCR to rank third all-time in points by a freshman, he did one better with 26 points as he and Chris Haney (1985) are the only two players in LMU history to have two games in the freshman top-five in scoring. He went 8-for-12 from the field with six rebounds and three assists.

Fellow freshman Tim Diederichs was the only other player in double digits with 14 points and sophomore Max Craig had a career-high nine points as the Lions fall to 3-10 on the season. Porter had 26 points for Wagner and Joey Mundweiler added 20 to lead Wagner to an 8-3 record.

The Lions did not help themselves with the 21 turnovers and a 21-for-34 effort from the free throw line. The Lions finished 61.6 percent from the charity stripe to Wagner's 58.3 percent (14-for-24). Wagner finished the game shooting 49.2 percent, going 51 percent in the second half and 71.4 percent in overtime. LMU shot 44.6 percent for the game, 50 percent in the second half and 66 percent in the overtime.

"We are not learning how to take care of the ball. I am not sure what to say anymore. It is the same thing every game. It is killing us," said Head Coach Rodney Tention. "We had another chance to win a game and failed to do so. Turnovers are killing us."

The Lions trailed 51-43 after Porter hit a pair of free throws with 10:53 remaining in regulation. Throughout the next 10 minutes the Lions got the lead to as low as two and trailed 65-62 with 2:57 to play. They finally drew even on a Johnson three-pointer with 2:13 to play and took a 68-66 lead on another three-pointer by Johnson.

Junior Marko Deric was fouled grabbing an offensive rebounded and hit just one of two free throws. The miss hurt the Lions as Porter would drain the three-pointer to send it to overtime.

The Lions have eight days off over the holiday break and will close their home portion of the non-conference schedule when they host undefeated Sam Houston State on Dec. 30 at 3 p.m.

Notre Dame - 84
San Francisco - 76

NOTRE DAME, Ind. (AP) - Luke Harangody scored 16 of his 23 points in the second half as Notre Dame survived seeing its 23-point lead cut to five points, beating San Francisco 84-76 Saturday.

The Irish (8-2), playing for the first time after two weeks off for finals, jumped to a 36-13 lead with 7:24 left in the first half and appeared headed for a blowout. But the Dons (4-8) closed to five points five times in the second half.

Danny Cavic hit a 3 with 9:24 left to cut the Irish lead to 58-53. Harangody scored the next eight points, putting the Irish ahead 66-53 on a basket inside with 6:59 left. After making just 2-of-7 shots in the first half, Harangody was 6-of-10 in the second half.

Dior Lowhorn stopped Harangody's scoring streak with a basket inside for the Dons to cut the lead to 11. Then Tory Jackson, who had a season-high 15 points and 10 assists for the Irish, added another basket on a rebound, and Ryan Ayers hit a 3 to extend the lead to 71-55.

The Dons cut the lead back to five points again when Manny Quezada, who had 21 of his 25 points in the second half, scored inside with 11.5 seconds left. The Dons had a chance to cut the lead to three points, but Lowhorn missed a 3 with 5 seconds left.

Lowhorn finished with 20 points and Cavic scored 10 of his 13 points in the second half. The Dons shot 50 percent in the second half after shooting 36.7 in the first half. The Dons outscored the Irish 40-38 inside, including 28-18 in the second half.

Kyle McAlarney added 14 points for the Irish and Rob Kurz added 12 points and eight rebounds. Harangody also added 10 rebounds to lead the Irish to a 41-35 rebounding advantage. Jackson also had a double-double, the first of his career.

The Irish took a quick 8-0 lead to start the game and quickly extended it to 18-6 by making seven of their first 11 shots. Behind Jackson scoring 12 points in the first half by repeatedly driving inside, the Irish opened a 36-13 lead when Kurz scored inside on a pass from Jackson.

But the Dons, who fell to 0-6 on the road this season, closed the half on a 16-7 run and trailed 43-29 at intermission after Quezada scored on a layup at the buzzer.

The victory was the sixth straight for the Irish and their 26th straight at home.

Minnesota - 68
Santa Clara - 50

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) -- Dan Coleman had 20 points and a career-high six steals as Minnesota beat Santa Clara 68-50 Saturday night for its fifth-straight win.

Lawrence McKenzie added 11 points for the Gophers (8-1), who are off to their best start since the 2000-2001 season, when Minnesota entered the Big Ten season with an 12-1 record. These Gophers have the chance be 11-1 heading into conference play if they can win all three games in next week's Duel in the Desert in Las Vegas.

The Gophers entered the game after a 10-day layoff, while Santa Clara was playing its third game this week and second straight game on the road. SCU beat Montana 60-49 on Dec. 17 before losing to Stanford 74-48 on Dec. 19.

Brody Angley had 15 points and Bryant and Calvin Johnson each had 10 for Santa Clara (7-5), which has lost two in a row.

The Gophers -- who finished their home non-conference schedule undefeated -- looked far more impressive than in their last outing, a lackluster 6-point win over South Dakota State. Minnesota made only six more shots than the Broncos but had 18 steals.

Coleman, who had four breakaway dunks, scored 20 points for the third-straight games, and Minnesota took control early with a 23-4 spurt spanning most of the first half.

Coleman sparked the Gophers to 15 unanswered points early in the game. Trailing by two to start the game, Coleman had a pair of free throws, a breakaway dunk, a blocked shot, a forced turnover and a short jumper to help give Minnesota a lead it would not relinquish.

Coleman was part of another highlight-reel breakaway later in the half when Jamal Abu-Shamala picked up an errant Broncos pass and heaved it down the court to a streaking McKenzie. McKenzie whipped the ball behind his back to Coleman, who finished with a two-handed jam to make it 26-9 with 5:50 left in the half and bring the crowd to its feet. However, the Broncos chipped away at the lead and cut it to 32-21 at halftime.

Santa Clara pulled to within 38-28 early in the second half following a three by Johnson and a drive by Angley. But Minnesota responded with a 12-2 run and the Broncos didn't seriously challenge again.

Santa Clara is off until Dec. 28 when the team begins play in the 41st Cable Car Classic. The Broncos take on the Denver Pioneers on Friday, Dec. 28 at 6 p.m. PT, followed by Niagara and Morgan State at 8 p.m. PT. The Cable Car concludes on Saturday, Dec. 29 with the Consolation Game at 6 p.m. PT and the Championship Game at 8 p.m. PT.