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WCC Men's Basketball Recaps

Dec. 29, 2007

Portland - 72
Cascade College - 46

PORTLAND, Ore. - The Portland Pilots used their best defensive effort of the season to rout Cascade College by a 72-46 margin Saturday evening at the Chiles Center. Portland held the Thunderbirds without a field goal for more than nine minutes to open the game and another nine minutes to start the second half in the victory, which was Portland's second consecutive following a 70-63 win over Northern Colorado last week.

Sophomore forwards Ethan Niedermeyer and Robin Smeulders led four Pilots (5-8) in double figures with 13 points each. Senior Sherrard Watson added 12 while freshman Jared Stohl chipped in 10.

Erving Adams paced the Thunderbirds (5-9) with 13 points, but shot just 4-for-17 from the field.

Portland limited Cascade to 26 percent shooting for the game and held a 50-23 rebounding margin. The Pilots shot 53 percent from the field, but committed 21 turnovers.

Cascade missed its first 13 field goal attempts before Kenan Powell broke the string with 10:32 remaining in the period, cutting the Portland lead to 18-4.

The second period proved just as difficult for the Thunderbirds as they did not connect from the field again on their first 13 attempts. Adams ended the skid with 10:47 remaining, but the Pilots held a 50-18 lead at that point.

"Cascade competed all night and presented some problems for us," Portland head coach Eric Reveno said. "It was a good experience for us as we still have a lot of areas to improve.

"We keep banging our head against that same wall," continued Reveno, regarding a high amount of turnovers. "We have got to find ways to get better at taking care of the ball."

Portland will take its show on the road and look to continue its winning streak with games at Yale and Army next week. The Pilots and Bulldogs face off on Wednesday at 4 p.m. (Pacific), while Army and UP are set for Saturday at 10 a.m. West Coast Conference play begins the following weekend on the road at Pepperdine on Saturday, Jan. 12.

"I think the return on our investment of work is pretty good right now," Reveno stated, regarding his young team's progression. "We are seeing improvement, even with mistakes, and it is exciting."

Saint Mary's - 69
Cal State Fullerton - 59

MORAGA, Calif. (AP) -- Ian O'Leary and Diamon Simpson both had double-doubles as host Saint Mary's rallied from a five-point second-half deficit to defeat Cal State Fullerton 69-59 to win the championship game of the Shamrock Office Solutions Classic on Saturday.

O'Leary had 14 points and 10 rebounds for the second straight night, while Simpson overcame a slow start to finish with 12 points and 15 rebounds for the Gaels (12-1). He also had four blocked shots and two steals. The four blocks gave him a career total of 153 tying Brad Millard for the Saint Mary's career record.

Fullerton (7-4) extended a two-point halftime lead to five points at 44-39 before Yusef Smith scored on a 3-on-1 break and tied the game with a 3-pointer. After Frank Robinson's two free throws reclaimed the lead for Fullerton, Smith powered in a game-tying basket from the post.

O'Leary hit a 3-pointer, which gave the Gaels the lead for good and followed Josh Akognon's only second-half basket with another 3-pointer as Saint Mary's went on a 12-3 run to break the game open.

Akognon led Fullerton with 16 points. Robinson and Marcus Crenshaw each added 13 for Fullerton, which got 11 rebounds from Marcus Morgan and nine from the 5-foot-11 Akognon.

Yusef and Tron Smith both had 10 for Saint Mary's, while tournament MVP Patty Mills was held to eight points, only the second time he has failed to reach double figures in scoring.

Although Saint Mary's had 16 turnovers to Fullerton's 12, the Gaels had nine steals, leading to 16 points, and seven blocks. Fullerton had only four steals and no blocks. Saint Mary's defense limited Fullerton to 25.7 percent shooting in the second half after Fullerton hit 40.5 percent in the first half.

Fullerton was 5-of-10 from 3-point range in the first half but only 1-for-11 after intermission.

San Diego - 81
Kentucky - 72

LEXINGTON, Ky. (AP) - Brandon Johnson led San Diego with a career-high 27 points to stun Kentucky 81-72 on the Wildcats' home floor on Saturday before 23,756 fans at historic Rupp Arena. Walk-on guard Devin Ginty, getting his second straight start, gave USD a huge boost by making 4-of-4 three-pointers and totaling 18 points.

"Wow. I don't know if I have ever been more proud of our guys," said an ecstatic Bill Grier. "I'm proud of the way we competed and battled. It's something we have been stressing to our kids all season. And today our kids came out with that look in their eye. I'm also proud of the way we finished off the game and made our free throws."

The Wildcats (5-6) were again led by freshman forward Patrick Patterson, who had 20 points. Patterson and Perry Stevenson had five rebounds each to lead the Wildcats.

The loss was the fifth in Kentucky's last six games.

Sophomore guards Jodie Meeks and Derrick Jasper returned from injuries to play for the Wildcats.

Jasper had not played this season and Meeks had played in one of Kentucky's last eight games. Jasper had four assists.

The Toreros (7-8) and Wildcats traded leads twice early in the second half but San Diego took the lead for good on a free throw by Gyno Pomare, making the score 44-43 with 13:49 to play in the game. Pomare led San Diego with 12 rebounds. He also became USD's 21st player to score 1,000 career points, and is now just the 12th Torero to join the 1,000 point/500 rebound club. He needed 5 points to reach 1,000 and finished the game with his fourth double-double with 13 points and 12 rebounds.

The Toreros led most of the first half and led at the break, 35-33.

Kentucky tied the game at 31 and 33 but a pair of free throws by Pomare with 3.7 seconds to play gave the Toreros their halftime margin.

The Wildcats' only lead of the first half was 3-2 after a 3-pointer by Ramel Bradley.

Added Grier, "Devin Ginty, who is just a walk-on, had the game of his life. He stepped up and hit some really big shots for us."

"Coach told us to come out swinging," said junior guard Brandon Johnson. "We gave the game ball to Devin (Ginty), he really stepped up. The team's been looking for me to step up and I'm glad I was able to come through for us. The entire team played hard and everyone contributed"

The Toreros now head to West Virginia to face Marshall on New Year's Eve (11 am PST).

Tennessee - 82
Gonzaga - 72

SEATTLE (AP) - JaJuan Smith remembered what he learned at camp last summer.

Smith scored 18 points and played great defense on Gonzaga star Jeremy Pargo, leading No. 11 Tennessee to an 82-72 victory over the Bulldogs.

Tennessee's first trip to the state of Washington turned into its best start in seven seasons. The Volunteers are 12-1 for the first time since the 2000-01 team started 16-1.

"Our best defensive effort," Smith said proudly. "We were told to press them really hard, to try to see if they could handle our pressure."

Smith led the defensive effort with a solid job on Pargo, who burned Oklahoma for a career-high 28 points in his previous game. Pargo shot 1-for-7 and finished with eight points, six from the foul line. Hounded by Smith as far as 70 feet from the basket, the Bulldogs' leading scorer missed two 3-pointers in the first 14 minutes and then didn't shoot again until midway through the second half - when Tennessee led by 14.

Smith said his experience playing with Pargo at a basketball camp helped.

"I had the advantage playing with him this summer, knowing his moves," Smith said. "I knew if I could keep him frustrated, we had a great chance of winning."

Pargo told a different story.

"I don't think it was so much him knowing what I was going to do," he said. "Their entire team was waiting on me to make a move, not just him."

Matt Bouldin scored 21 points for Gonzaga (9-4), which lost for the third time in five games.

"Our athleticism was definitely on display. We were quick to the ball," said Volunteers coach Bruce Pearl, whose team went 5-0 in December with four of the wins coming away from Knoxville.

Tennessee's relentless, trapping defense from three, ultra-quick guards kept it in front for all but 30 seconds - and Gonzaga from getting into most of its halfcourt plays.

"They are an aggressive, athletic, opportunistic team," Few said. "They take every opportunity you give them - and they create opportunities.

"High-octane. Every pass, every dribble challenged."

Bouldin's 3-pointer with 1:15 remaining cut Tennessee's lead to 76-71. That briefly had the "home" crowd roaring in Gonzaga's annual game in Seattle.

But J.P. Prince, playing his fourth game since becoming eligible following a transfer from Arizona, made a free throw and Jordan Howell grabbed a deep tip out by Wayne Chism off a miss to set up two more free throws from Prince. That put the Vols back up comfortably, 79-71.

"You can't give up an offensive rebound on a free throw. You have to make those plays," Few said.

Chris Lofton, Tennessee's career leader in 3-point shooting, missed seven of his first eight shots - all from behind the arc and some from behind the NBA line. He finished with 11 points on 4-for-13 shooting. After he missed his first three tries, Pearl pulled him from the game.

But Lofton's drive and runner high off the glass, his first shot attempted inside the 3-point arc, gave Tennessee an 11-point lead 3 minutes into the second half. And when he finally made consecutive 3-pointers with 9:52 left, on his eighth and ninth tries, the Volunteers had their biggest lead at 64-46.

Gonzaga's Josh Heytvelt scored 12 points in 24 minutes, his second game of the season following surgery that inserted pins in his ankle Nov. 12. Few said former leading scorer is "not even close yet," to being at full condition.

Niagara - 56
Santa Clara - 53

SANTA CLARA, Calif. (AP) -- Charron Fisher scored 26 points, including a pair of free throws in the final six seconds, and Niagara held off Santa Clara 56-53 to win the Cable Car Classic title on Saturday night.

Fisher scored 19 of his points in the second half as the Purple Eagles (9-3) won their fourth straight. Fisher, named tournament MVP, just missed his fifth consecutive double-double as he also had nine rebounds.

Tyrone Lewis added 17 points for Niagara, which advanced to last year's NCAA tournament after winning the MAAC tournament championship.

Ben Dowdell scored a career high 22 points for the Broncos (8-6), who lost for the third time in four games. Brody Angley, the hero of Friday night's overtime victory, added 10 points and matched his career high with 11 rebounds.

Fisher, the nation's leading scorer, recorded Niagara's first 10 points of the second half and the Purple Eagles raced to a 36-29 lead. After missing seven of his first 10 shots, Fisher made five of his first seven attempts of the second half.

The Broncos eventually rallied to tie the score at 47-all when Dowdell converted a three-point play with 6:26 remaining to play.

Niagara held Santa Clara scoreless over the next four minutes and rebuilt its lead to 54-47.

Dowdell ended that with an emphatic dunk and later hit another basket as the Broncos drew within 54-51. That's the way it remained until Angley hit a pair of free throws with eight seconds left to make it 54-53.

The Purple Eagles scored first, which they have done every game. Santa Clara answered with five consecutive baskets, including three 3-pointers, while Niagara missed eight in a row.

Santa Clara held the advantage at halftime, 28-26.

Earlier, Denver beat Morgan State 54-44 in the consolation game.