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WCC Men's Basketball Mid-Week Report

Jan. 17, 2008

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WCC WEEK ONE RECAP

Three teams went undefeated in the first week of conference play in Gonzaga, Saint Mary's, and San Diego. The Zags jumped out to a 2-0 WCC record after sweeping Loyola Marymount and Pepperdine, while Saint Mary's defeated Bay Area rival Santa Clara, and San Diego edged San Francisco. Gonzaga sits atop the standings with a 2-0 record, followed by Saint Mary's and San Diego at 1-0. Loyola Marymount and Portland are tied for fourth with 1-1 league records. The Lions fell to Gonzaga, but bounced back to defeat Portland. The Pilots earned a road split, defeating Pepperdine before falling to the Lions. LMU and Portland are followed in the standings by Santa Clara (0-1), San Francisco (0-1), and Pepperdine (0-2).

UPCOMING SCHEDULE

Jan. 19
*San Diego at Gonzaga - 1:00 PM
*Loyola Marymount at Santa Clara - 7:00 PM
*Pepperdine at Saint Mary's - 7:00 PM
*San Francisco at Portland - 7:00 PM

Jan. 21
*Loyola Marymount at Saint Mary's - 7:00 PM
*San Diego at Portland - 7:00 PM
*Pepperdine at Santa Clara - 8:00 PM !
*San Francisco at Gonzaga - 9:00 PM $

* Denotes WCC games; ! Televised on ESPNU; $ Televised on ESPN; All times PST

AROUND THE WCC

WCC Co-Players of the Week: Gonzaga's Bouldin And Saint Mary's O'Leary Share Weekly Honor
Gonzaga sophomore Matt Bouldin and Saint Mary's junior Ian O'Leary share this week's WCC Player of the Week honor after guiding their respective teams to 2-0 records. Bouldin turned in spectacular all-around numbers in leading the Bulldogs to a WCC-opening road sweep of Loyola Marymount and Pepperdine. The Highlands Ranch, CO native averaged 16.5 ppg on 54.2 percent shooting from the field. In addition, Bouldin grabbed 5.0 rpg, handed out 6.0 apg, and swiped 5.0 spg. O'Leary was just as impressive, leading the Gaels to wins over Fresno State and Santa Clara. O'Leary averaged 16.0 ppg and 8.0 rpg, while shooting 52.9 percent from the field and 60 percent from beyond the arc.

Pepperdine Head Coach Vance Walberg Resigns
Citing personal and family reasons, Pepperdine men's basketball coach Vance Walberg resigned from his position, effective immediately. Walberg was hired in April 2006 after an extremely successful stint as the head coach at Fresno City College. As he attempted to rebuild the Waves to suit his own attacking, high-pressure style, his 2006-07 squad went 8-23 overall, and a freshman-filled 2007-08 squad currently stands at 6-12 overall and 0-2 in the West Coast Conference. Eric Bridgeland, in his second year as an assistant coach at Pepperdine, will take over as interim head coach. Bridgeland was a head coach for seven seasons at the Division III level and posted an overall record of 115-65 (.639).

WCC TEAM NOTES

Gonzaga Bulldogs (13-4 / 2-0 WCC)
- The Bulldogs opened WCC play with a Southern California road sweep, downing Loyola Marymount, 91-68, before dropping Pepperdine, 92-57.

- Junior forward Josh Heytvelt had a season-high 19 points to lead four Bulldogs in double figures versus the Lions. Heytvelt, who made his first start of the season, also grabbed five rebounds in 21 minutes of action.

- Sophomore guard Matt Bouldin earned his second consecutive WCC Player of the Week honor after averaging 16.5 ppg, 5.0 rpg, 6.0 apg, and 5.0 spg in the Zags' wins over LMU and Pepperdine. Bouldin has been on a tear the last five games, averaging 20.2 ppg to go along with 4.8 rpg and 4.2 apg.

- The Zags return home to take on San Diego (1/19) before playing host to San Francisco (1/21) on ESPN's Big Monday.

Loyola Marymount Lions (4-14 / 1-1 WCC)
- The Lions dropped a 91-68 decision to Gonzaga to open conference play, before bouncing back to defeat Portland, 73-68.

- Junior guard Corey Counts tossed in a career-high 21 points and handed out seven assists versus Gonzaga. Counts, who earned a spot on the LMU squad as a walk-on in 2005-06, has started seven games at point guard for the Lions, leads the team in assists with 3.2 apg and is the team's top three-point threat at 44.4 percent.

- Freshman Orlando Johnson scored 16 points and grabbed 11 boards in the Lions' win over Portland for his second career double-double. Johnson is one of the top freshmen in the WCC, ranking 11th in the conference in both scoring (13.3 ppg) and rebounding (5.3 rpg).

- The Lions travel to the Bay Area to take on Santa Clara (1/19) before heading to Saint Mary's (1/21) on Monday.

Pepperdine Waves (6-12 / 0-2 WCC)
- The Waves dropped their first two conference games, falling to Portland, 82-78, and to Gonzaga, 92-57, on Monday.

- Pepperdine Head Coach Vance Walberg announced that he will resign effective immediately, citing personal and family reasons for his resignation. Eric Bridgeland, in his second year as an assistant coach at Pepperdine, will take over as interim head coach.

- Freshmen are providing most of the Waves' scoring, with 65.4 percent of the points thus far. They have also scored at least half of the Waves' points in 17 of 18 games this season.

- The Waves lead the WCC in steals with 10.11 spg.

- Pepperdine travels to the Bay Area to take on Saint Mary's (1/19) before facing Santa Clara (1/21) in a contest televised on ESPNU.

Portland Pilots (6-11 / 1-1 WCC)
- The Pilots earned a road split on their WCC-opening Southern California swing, defeating Pepperdine, 82-78, before dropping a 73-68 decision at Loyola Marymount. The 82 points scored against the Waves was a season high for the Pilots.

- Senior forward Sherrard Watson led the Pilots with a season-high 22 points versus the Waves, while sophomore forward Robin Smeulders led the Pilots with 16 points and nine rebounds against the Lions.

- Despite not having a single post player with Division I game experience entering the season, Portland has a +5.6 rebounding margin to rank second in the WCC. The Pilots have out-rebounded 13-of-17 opponents thus far this season.

- The Pilots return to the Bluff to host San Francisco (1/19) and San Diego (1/21).

Saint Mary's Gaels (14-2 / 1-0 WCC)
- Saint Mary's opened WCC play with a 76-45 win over Santa Clara.

- Last week, junior forward Diamon Simpson became the school's all-time leader in blocked shots, moving past Brad Millard for sole possession of first place on the school's all-time list. Simpson, who has 159 career blocks, is tied with Santa Clara's Nick Vanos (1981-85) and needs 21 blocks to pass Gonzaga's Ronny Turiaf (2001-05) for fifth.

- With a 14-2 record, SMC is off to its best 16-game start since 1988-89 when the team posted a 15-1 record.

- Over the last five games, junior Ian O'Leary this week's WCC Co-Player of the Week, is averaging a team-best 13.2 ppg to go along with 7.6 rpg and shooting 57.9 percent from the floor.

- Saint Mary's hosts Pepperdine (1/19) and LMU (1/21) this week.

San Diego Toreros (8-10 / 1-0 WCC)
- The Toreros edged San Francisco, 46-41, to win their WCC-opener.

- Junior center Gyno Pomare, who has pulled down 547 career rebounds, moved past former teammate Corey Belser (2001-06) into sole possession of fifth place on the Toreros' all-time chart. Pomare needs just 27 more rebounds to pass another former teammate, Nick Lewis (2001-06) for the fourth spot.

- Junior guard Brandon Johnson, enters the week with 973 career points. He needs just 27 more points to become the 20th player in program to reach the 1,000-point plateau. Johnson and Pomare would be the only active teammates in the WCC to reach the scoring milestone.

- Johnson currently ranks 3rd on USD's career assists list with 327.

- The Toreros travel to Gonzaga (1/19) and Portland (1/21) this week.

San Francisco Dons (4-12 / 0-1 WCC)
- The Dons dropped their conference-opener, falling at San Diego, 46-41.

- Sophomore forward Dior Lowhorn paced the Dons with a game-high 18 points and also pulled down a game-best nine rebounds. Lowhorn leads the WCC and is tied for 22nd in the country in scoring with 20.7 ppg.

- Freshman guard Myron Strong leads the conference in steals with 35 steals overall and 2.19 spg.

- Senior Danny Cavic is establishing himself as the top long-range shooter in the WCC, leading the WCC with 35 three-point field goals and ranks second in three-point percentage (.461).

- The Dons look for their first WCC win at Portland (1/19) and Gonzaga (1/21) this week.

Santa Clara Broncos (8-8 / 0-1 WCC)
- Santa Clara dropped a 76-45 decision to Saint Mary's in its conference opener.

- Junior center John Bryant blocked five shots last week, increasing his season total to 31. Bryant, who ranks second in the WCC in blocks with 1.94 bpg, ranks third on Santa Clara's all-time list with 118 career blocks. Bryant needs 15 more blocks to tie Jens Gordon (1985-89) for second place.

- Bryant is tied with SMC's Diamon Simpson for the WCC lead in double-doubles with six.

- Senior Brody Angley ranks seventh on Santa Clara's all-time assist charts with 420 career assists. He needs just two more to tie John Woolery (1990-94) for sixth place with 422.

- Santa Clara hosts Loyola Marymount (1/19) and Pepperdine (1/21) this week.