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WCC Men's Basketball: Five For Friday

Jan. 23, 2009

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Saint Mary's Continues Nation's Longest Winning Streak
The No. 22 ranked Saint Mary's Gaels earned a 65-42 win at San Diego on Thursday evening to extend the nation's longest winning streak to 15 straight games. With the win over San Diego, Saint Mary's improved to 18-1 on the season and is tied with Utah State (18-1) and Oklahoma (18-1) for the best overall winning percentage in the country (.947).

WCC Is The Only Non-BCS Conference With Two Teams Ranked In Top 25
With Saint Mary's moving up to No. 22 in the latest ESPN/USA Today Coaches poll and Gonzaga jumping up to No. 23 in the Associated Press poll, the WCC is the only non-BCS conference with two teams ranked in the national top 25. This marks the second straight season in which two WCC teams are ranked in the top 25 at the same time. Before last season, the last time that the WCC had two teams ranked in the top 25 at the same time was during the 1973-74 season. San Francisco and UNLV, then a member of the WCC, formerly known as the West Coast Athletic Conference (WCAC), were ranked in the top-25 at the same time. Both San Francisco and UNLV earned preseason rankings and both were ranked in the AP's December 4, 1973 poll.

Gonzaga And Saint Mary's Remain Unbeaten In Conference Play
Gonzaga and Saint Mary's earned wins on Thursday evening to remain the only unbeaten teams in conference play. The No. 22 ranked Saint Mary's Gaels sit atop the conference standings with a 5-0 record, while No. 23 Gonzaga is just a half game back at 4-0. San Diego sits one game behind Saint Mary's at 4-1, while Portland improved to 3-1 in conference play to round out the top four teams.

WCC STANDINGS (As of 1/23)
No. 22 Saint Mary's 5-0
-- 18-1
No. 23 Gonzaga 4-0
0.5 13-4
San Diego 4-1
1.0 12-8
Portland 3-1
1.5 12-7
Pepperdine 1-3
3.5 4-16
San Francisco 0-4
4.5 8-11
Santa Clara 0-4
4.5 7-13
Loyola Marymount 0-4
4.5 1-19

Santa Clara Hosts Bay Area Rival San Francisco On ESPNU
Santa Clara hosts Bay Area rival San Francisco on Friday in a contest televised nationally on ESPNU. The SCU-USF rivalry is one of the longest standing rivalries in the country as the two teams will meet for the 201st time in a series dating back to 1908. Santa Clara leads the all-time series, 106-95, and have won six straight against their long-time rival.

Three WCC Players Ranked In The Top 15 In The Nation In Overall Rebounds
Led by Santa Clara senior center John Bryant, three WCC players are ranked in the top 15 in the nation in overall rebounds. The three WCC players in the top 15 ties the Big East Conference for the most from one conference. Bryant ranks second in the nation with 251 overall rebounds, trailing Oklahoma's Blake Griffin by just eight rebounds. Joining Bryant in the top 15 is Saint Mary's Diamon Simpson and Omar Samhan. Simpson is sixth overall with 207 rebounds, while Samhan is 14th with 186 boards. Simpson and Samhan give Saint Mary's the top rebounding tandem in the nation as the duo combine for 20.7 rebounds per game, just edging Oklahoma's Griffin brothers (Blake and Tyler), who average a combined 20.0 rpg.