{{ article.title }}

WCC Men's Basketball Recaps

Dec. 29, 2006

Saint Mary's - 71
Belmont - 60

Moraga, CA (AP) - Diamon Simpson had a career-high 26 points to lead Saint Mary's to a 71-60 victory over Belmont on Friday. Simpson was named the tournament most valuable player after leading SMC to its fourth straight Shamrock Office Solutions Classic championship.

Two Henry Harris free throws gave Belmont (8-5) a 58-57 lead with 2:39 to play in a seesaw game that saw eight ties and 15 lead changes in the second half. Simpson put Saint Mary's (8-8) ahead with a basket made after a pass deflected off his teammate, Brett Collins. Saint Mary's outscored the Bruins 14-2 over the final 2:24 of the game.

With the Gaels leading 61-58, SMC's 6-foot-4 guard John Winston blocked a shot by Belmont's 6-10 Boomer Herndon, leading to two free throws by Tron Smith. Smith sank the first two of six consecutive free throws he would make in the game's final 1:07.

After Saint Mary's Wayne Hunter was called for a foul, he intercepted a long inbounds pass and scored on a breakaway to give the Gaels an insurmountable lead. Smith had four more free throws and Simpson had two before Justin Hare, who finished with 16, sank two free throws for Belmont's final two points.

Collins had 16 and Smith 11 for Saint Mary's. Winston, who had only two points, had a team-high eight rebounds, three assists and a steal in addition to his pivotal block.

Herndon finished the game with 20 points to lead the Bruins. Andy Wicke had 12 for Belmont, all 3-pointers.

Saint Mary's shot 43.4 percent from the floor, making 23-of-53 shots overall. The Gaels also out rebounded the Bruins 40-34. Saint Mary's out rebounded Belmont 19-12 in the second half.

Saint Mary's will return to action on Saturday, Jan. 6 when the Gaels open West Coast Conference play on the road against Santa Clara. The game between SMC and the Broncos will tip-off at 7 p.m. from the Leavey Center in Santa Clara.

Shamrock Office Solutions Classic All-Tournament Team
Diamon Simpson - Saint Mary's (MVP)
Brett Collins - Saint Mary's
Justin Hare - Belmont
Boomer Herndon - Belmont
Morris Almond - Rice
Jeff Aldridge - Western Carolina

Akron - 92
Loyola Marymount - 52

Akron, OH - The Loyola Marymount men's basketball team fell to the University of Akron 92-52 on Friday night at the James A. Rhodes Arena in Akron, Ohio. The Lions struggled from the start as they finished the game with 30 turnovers and shot just 36 percent to fall to 8-7 on the season. Akron improves to 8-3.

The Lions trailed by as many as 28 in the first half while the Zips scored 18 points on 15 first half turnovers by LMU. Akron used a 16-0 run early to go up 20-4 in the first half as the Lions never really challenged from there. The Zips led 42-20 at the break and increased the lead to as many as 42 in the second half.

No Lion finished in double figures as the final seven minutes the Lions displayed their youth, playing three freshmen and two sophomores. Adoyah Miller, who was fifth in the West Coast Conference in three-pointers per game at more than two per contest, finished with eight points, going 0-for-4 from long range. The Lions went 0-for-8 without a three-pointer before sophomore Corey Counts hit a pair in the final two points. He finished with eight points off the bench.

Marko Deric, Damian Martin and Mason Maynard all added seven points for the Lions. Nate Linhart and Quade Milum finished with 12 each to lead Akron.

The Lions 30 turnovers led to 31 points for the Zips while the Lions managed 11 points on 19 Akron turnovers. Akron finished shooting 56.7 percent from the field and 55 percent from long range (11-for-20). The Lions finished 2-for-10 from long range.

LMU will finish the non-conference season at the east coast road trip against Monmouth on Sunday, Dec. 31 at 10:30 a.m. (PST).

New Mexico - 101
Pepperdine - 96

Albuquerque, NM - J.R. Giddens scored a game-high 26 points and Chad Toppert equaled a career-high with 20 points to lead host New Mexico to a 101-96 victory over Pepperdine in the championship game of the Comcast Lobo Invitational Friday night at The Pit in Albuquerque, New Mexico.

The loss overshadowed a gallant effort by the Waves (4-11), who let a 13-point first-half lead slip away, trailed by 14 points midway through the second half, eventually tied the game and were within four points with under a minute left before finally succumbing to the Lobos (11-3).

Senior guard Chase Griffin, who was named to the all-tournament led the Waves with 21 points, while Marvin Lea (19), Gregg Barlow (16), Kingsley Costain (15), Willie Galick (13) and Blake Wallace (11) finished in double figures. Lea was also named to the all-tournament.

After trailing 66-52 with 13:25 remaining, Pepperdine went on a 15-4 run to cut the deficit to 70-67 on a lay-up by Barlow with 9:44 remaining. The Lobos would twice extend their lead to 10 points before the Waves sliced the lead once again to three points following a three-pointer by Griffin that made the score 89-86 with 2:49 remaining.

Both teams shot over 50 percent from the field and were 13 of 30 (43.3 percent) from behind the arc. The difference in the game came at the free throw line as New Mexico was 22 of 28 from the free throw line while Pepperdine was just nine of 12.

The Waves opened the game with the hot hand and built a 13-point lead on a three-pointer by Barlow that gave Pepperdine a 36-23 lead with 6:05 remaining in the half.

However, the Lobos stepped up their defensive pressure with a half-court trap, forcing the Waves into four turnovers and aiding a 19-0 run that gave New Mexico a 42-36 lead with 1:36 remaining. The Lobos closed out the first half with a 21-5 run to lead 44-41 at the half.

Lea and Griffin led Pepperdine with 10 first-half points, while Giddens, making his return from an injury, led all scorers with 18 points.

The Waves were down to just eight players for the game as they played without sophomore guard Tomas Pranciliauskas, who dislocated his shoulder Thursday night against Binghamton.

Pepperdine closes out its non-conference schedule on Tuesday, January, 2 when it hosts Manhattan at Firestone Fieldhouse beginning at 5 p.m.

Air Force - 78
Santa Clara - 48

SANTA CLARA, Calif. (AP) - Jacob Burtschi scored 16 points with four 3-pointers and No. 23 Air Force hit a season-high 16 3s on the way to its ninth straight victory, 78-48 over Santa Clara in the championship game of the Cable Car Classic on Friday night.

Andrew Henke, Matt McCraw and Nick Welch all added 13 points with three 3s. The Falcons, who had one game with 15 3s and two others when they hit 13 this season, shot 16-for-30 from long range and five players had at least two. Burtschi also dished out five assists and was named most valuable player of the classic.

The Falcons (13-1) put on an impressive show for the half-dozen NBA scouts in attendance.

Dan Nwaelele added 12 points with two 3s, seven of his team's 21 assists and five rebounds as Air Force snapped the Broncos' five-game home winning streak. Air Force finished two shy of the school record for 3s and also two short of the Leavey Center record.

John Bryant had 10 points to lead Santa Clara but the 6-foot-10 center got into foul trouble and managed only one rebound in the Broncos' worst defeat since a 93-59 loss at New Mexico on Nov. 13, 2004. Santa Clara last lost on its home floor to then-No. 21 Nevada on Nov. 25.

Air Force plugged the middle on defense and Santa Clara (10-5) had to settle for shots from the perimeter for much of the first half - and the Broncos weren't accurate, going 6-for-21 and making only two of 10 3-point tries. The Falcons connected for 12 of their 3s before the break.

"That's the best team we've played in a long time," Santa Clara coach Dick Davey said. "You give them space, they're not going to make every one, but it sure seemed like that for a while. They're a team we'd have to make tremendous strides to catch up to."

Air Force sophomore Henke faced his older brother, Santa Clara junior Mitch Henke, for the first time in their collegiate careers and it was the first matchup between these programs.

The Falcons came in shooting 54 percent from the floor and 45 percent from long range and had an easy time attacking both the Broncos' zone and man-to-man defenses with crisp ball movement. They hit eight of their first 12 shots and took control early, leading 48-21 at halftime.

"We tried to get a hand up and then they'd go back door, so all around they played really well," Broncos guard Brody Angley said. "We just didn't execute. All their guys can shoot."

Santa Clara lost by 25 or more for the third time this season, committed 16 turnovers and shot 38 percent in its final tuneup before the Broncos kick off West Coast Conference play at home next Saturday against Saint Mary's.

Santa Clara, the defending champion in its own tournament after beating Bucknell last year for its 14th title in the event, had won five of six in a stretch that featured a 74-60 loss at Kentucky on Dec. 19.

Coach Dick Davey's teams fell to 5-29 against ranked opponents. The Broncos started the game 1-for-6 and Air Force hit seven of its first 11 shots for a quick 19-5 lead.

San Francisco Giants infielder Kevin Frandsen was on hand for an award named in the honor of his late brother, D.J.

Cable Car Classic Awards

Kevin and Dick O'Connor Award: Dan Nwaelele, Air ForceD.J. Frandsen Memorial Sixth-Man Award: Andrew Henke, Air Force

All-Tournament Team
John Bryant, Santa Clara
Jacob Burtschi, Air Force
Carl Elliott, George Washington
Matt McCraw, Air Force
Dan Nwaelele, Air Force

Most Valuable Player
Jacob Burtschi, Air Force