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WCC Men's Basketball Weekly Notes

Jan. 2, 2008

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WCC PLAYER OF THE WEEK: San Diego's Brandon Johnson Earns Weekly Honor
San Diego junior point guard Brandon Johnson earned WCC Player of the Week honors after leading the Toreros to a stunning 81-72 win at Kentucky. Johnson scored a career-high 27 points to go along with eight rebounds, three assists and three steals in 35 minutes of action. Johnson connected on 7-of-15 from the field, including 3-for-5 from beyond the arc. With the Toreros holding a slim 35-33 halftime lead, Johnson scored 19 of his game-high 27 points after intermission to lead USD to the win.

UPCOMING SCHEDULE

Jan. 2
Portland at Yale - 4:00 PM

Jan. 3
Loyola Marymount at BYU - 6:00 PM

Jan. 5
Pepperdine at Memphis - 10:00 AM
Portland at Army - 10:00 AM
Holy Cross at San Francisco - 2:00 PM
Saint Mary's at Texas - 3:00 PM
17Gonzaga vs. Georgia - 5:00 PM

17 Ronald McDonald House Charities (Spokane Arena); All times PST

AROUND THE WCC

Saint Mary's Jumps Into National Top 25
The Saint Mary's Gaels, riding a five-game winning streak, jumped up to No. 24 in the ESPN/USA Today Coaches top 25 poll. The last time the WCC had one team in the national rankings that wasn't Gonzaga was during the 1995-96 season, when the Santa Clara Broncos, led by two-time WCC Player of the Year Steve Nash, earned a top 25 ranking on Dec. 11, 1995.

Sutton Goes For Win No. 799 On Saturday
With the first two games at San Francisco under his belt, Eddie Sutton and the Dons return to the Hilltop looking to give the legendary coach his 799th career win. The Dons host Holy Cross this Saturday (1/5) in their final non-conference game before WCC play begins next week.

Gaels No. 3 In The RPI; WCC Ranked No. 10
The Saint Mary's Gaels are ranked No. 3 in the RPI, according to the Collegiate Basketball News RPI Report. At 12-1, the Gaels are off to one of the best starts in program history. The Gaels have already notched some very impressive non-conference wins. The Gaels' resume includes wins over then-No. 11 Oregon (99-87), San Diego State (69-64), Seton Hall (85-70), and Drake (72-66). Led by Saint Mary's, the WCC is ranked No. 10 in the latest RPI report.

WCC TEAM NOTES

Gonzaga Bulldogs (10-4 / 0-0 WCC)
- The Zags posted a 1-1 record last week, falling to No. 11 Tennessee, 82-72, before edging Utah, 61-59.

- Sophomore guard Matt Bouldin led the Zags in both games, tossing in 21 points versus Tennessee, before scoring a career-high 26 points in the win over Utah. Bouldin now leads the Bulldogs with 14.2 ppg.

- Junior forward Josh Heytvelt continued his steady improvement, scoring 12 points against Tennessee before chipping in a season-high 16 points versus Utah. In three games, Heytvelt is averaging 11.0 ppg and 3.7 rpg.

- Freshman Austin Daye leads the WCC in free throw shooting with a .903 clip

- The Zags face Georgia (1/5) in their lone game this week.

Loyola Marymount Lions (3-11 / 0-0 WCC)
- The Lions dropped their fourth straight game, falling to Sam Houston State, 83-66.

- Sophomore guard Shawn Deadwiler led the Lions in scoring with 19 points and a career-best eight rebounds against Sam Houston State. Deadwiler has made a tremendous jump from his freshman season (1.6 ppg, 1.4 apg) and enters the week ranked second on the team in scoring (10.5 ppg) and assists (2.7 apg).

- Freshman Orlando Johnson, who entered the game leading the Lions in scoring, played just 13 minutes against Sam Houston State due to foul trouble that limited him to just three minutes in the first half. He finished with just five points with five assists. Johnson leads the Lions with 12.6 ppg and ranks second on the team in rebounding with 5.1 rpg.

- The Lions travel to BYU (1/3) for their lone game this week.

Pepperdine Waves (5-9 / 0-0 WCC)
- The Waves, who were idle last week, are looking to snap a three-game losing skid.

- Freshmen have scored more than half of the Waves' points in all 14 games this season.

- Freshman guard Tyrone Shelley leads the Waves with 15.6 ppg. His scoring average ranks second among all WCC freshmen.

- Freshman forward Malcolm Thomas leads Pepperdine and is tied for third in the conference with four double-doubles. In just his first season, Thomas has already established himself as one of the top players in the WCC, ranking in the top 10 in scoring (7th-15.0 ppg), rebounding (2nd-9.2 rpg), field goal percentage (4th-.565), and blocks (4th-1.71 bpg).

- The Waves travel to Memphis (1/5) to take on the No. 2 Tigers.

Portland Pilots (5-8 / 0-0 WCC)
- The Pilots defeated Cascade College, 72-46, in their lone game last week.

- Sophomore forwards Ethan Niedermeyer and Robin Smeulders led four Pilots in double figures with 13 points each against Cascade College.

- Despite not having a single post player with Division I game experience entering the season, Portland has a +5.5 rebounding margin, second best in the WCC. The Pilots have out-rebounded nine of 13 opponents thus far this season.

- Freshman Luke Sikma, who collected 13 boards against Cascade College, leads the Pilots and ranks third in the WCC with 9.1 rpg.

- The Pilots travel to Yale (1/2) and Army (1/5) this week.

Saint Mary's Gaels (12-1 / 0-0 WCC)
- Saint Mary's captured the Shamrock Office Solutions Classic title with wins over Howard (97-48) and Cal State Fullerton (69-59).

- Saint Mary's owns the No. 3 RPI in the country, according to the Collegiate Basketball News RPI Report. The Gaels also boast seven wins versus the RPI top 100, the most in the country.

- Freshman guard Patty Mills, who was named the Rainbow Classic MVP, collected his second tournament MVP award, earning the honor for the Shamrock Office Solutions Classic.

- Junior forward Diamon Simpson scored 16 points and grabbed 15 rebounds against Cal State Fullerton. He also had four blocked shots and two steals. The four blocks gives him a career total of 153, tying Brad Millard for the Saint Mary's career record.

- The Gaels travel to Texas (1/5) to take on the No. 14 Longhorns this weekend.

San Diego Toreros (7-9 / 0-0 WCC)
- San Diego posted a 1-1 record on its road trip last week, stunning Kentucky, 81-72, before falling at Marshall, 76-60.

- Junior guard Brandon Johnson scored a career-high 27 points to go along with eight rebounds, three assists, and three steals in the Toreros' win over the Wildcats. Two days later, Johnson tossed in another 27 points on 8-of-15 shooting from the floor against Marshall. He now ranks third in the WCC in scoring with 17.5 ppg.

- Junior forward Gyno Pomare topped the 1,000-point plateau over the weekend, becoming just the 19th player in program history to reach the scoring milestone. Pomare, who has 525 career rebounds, also became just the 12th player in program history to score at least 1,000 points and grab at least 500 rebounds.

- The Toreros are idle this week before hosting Cal State Bakersfield (1/9) next week.

San Francisco Dons (4-10 / 0-0 WCC)
- The Dons dropped a pair of games last week to start the Eddie Sutton era, falling at Weber State, 62-54, and at Utah Valley State, 73-61.

- Sutton owns a career coaching record of 798-317 (.716).

- Sophomore forward Dior Lowhorn, who tossed in 19 points in both USF games last week, continues to lead the WCC in scoring with 20.6 ppg. Sutton is very familiar with Lowhorn's abilities, as Lowhorn was a freshman at Texas Tech during his final season at Oklahoma State (2005-06).

- Freshman Myron Strong chipped in 18 points against Utah Valley State. Strong, one of the best freshmen in a strong WCC freshman class, ranks 11th in the WCC in scoring (12.6 ppg).

- Sutton will go for win No. 799 when the Dons host Holy Cross (1/5) this weekend.

Santa Clara Broncos (8-6 / 0-0 WCC)
- The Broncos posted a 1-1 record last week, defeating Denver, 74-65, in overtime, before falling to Niagara, 56-53.

- Junior center John Bryant notched his WCC-leading fifth double-double of the season in the Broncos' win over Denver, scoring a game-high 21 points and grabbing a season-high 15 rebounds.

- Bryant is the only player in the WCC to rank in the top five in the conference in scoring (2nd-18.1 ppg), rebounding (4th-8.7 rpg), field goal percentage (1st-.591), and blocks (3rd-1.86 bpg).

- Freshman Ben Dowdell scored a career high 22 points in the Broncos' setback versus Niagara.

- SCU is idle this week and will host San Jose State (1/7) next Monday.