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WCC Men's Basketball Mid-Week Report

Jan. 30, 2008

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WCC WEEK FOUR PREVIEW
Heading into the fourth week of conference play, the top four teams have begun to separate themselves from the rest of the pack. Gonzaga is the lone undefeated team in conference play with a 5-0 record. The Zags unblemished WCC record will be put to the test this week as they travel to Santa Clara, which is in fourth place at 3-2, and No. 20 Saint Mary's, one game behind the Zags at 4-1 in WCC play. Also tied for second place is San Diego with a 4-1 record. The Toreros upset the Gaels, 63-55, on Monday down in San Diego.

UPCOMING SCHEDULE

Feb. 2
*Gonzaga at Santa Clara - 4:00 PM ! #
*Portland at Saint Mary's - 7:00 PM !
*San Diego at Loyola Marymount - 7:00 PM
*San Francisco at Pepperdine - 7:00 PM

Feb. 4
*San Diego at Pepperdine - 7:00 PM #
*San Francisco at Loyola Marymount - 7:00 PM
*Gonzaga at Saint Mary's - 8:00 PM $
*Portland at Santa Clara - 8:00 PM %

* Denotes WCC games; ! Televised on CSNW; # Televised on FSN; $ Televised on ESPN2; % Televised on ESPNU; All times PST

WCC PLAYER OF THE WEEK: San Diego's Brandon Johnson Earns Weekly Honor
San Diego junior guard Brandon Johnson was selected as this week's WCC Player of the Week after guiding the Toreros to wins over Santa Clara and No. 20 Saint Mary's. Johnson averaged 22.0 ppg to go along with 3.0 apg and 2.0 spg, while shooting a solid 50.0 percent from the field (16-for-32). Johnson started the week by scoring a game-high 19 points in the Toreros' 53-51 win over Santa Clara. Two nights later, he scored 20 of his game-high 25 points in second half as USD knocked off No. 20 Saint Mary's, 63-55.

WCC TEAM NOTES

Gonzaga Bulldogs (16-5 / 5-0 WCC)
- Gonzaga moved into sole possession of first place in the conference standings with a convincing 79-41 win over Portland.

- Freshman Austin Daye led the Zags versus the Pilots with game-highs of 19 points and 13 rebounds. It marked the seventh time this season that Daye has led the Bulldogs in scoring and the fourth time he has paced the team in rebounding.

- Daye blocked two shots against the Pilots, increasing his team-leading total to 35. Daye needs just seven more blocks to tie for 10th on Gonzaga's single-season list.

- The Zags lead the WCC in field goal percentage defense, holding opponents to a .390 clip.

- The Bulldogs travel to the Bay Area to take on Santa Clara (2/2) on Saturday, before taking on Saint Mary's (2/4) in a contest televised on Big Monday.

Loyola Marymount Lions (4-17 / 1-4 WCC)
- The Lions suffered an 87-64 setback at rival Pepperdine on Saturday.

- Freshman Orlando Johnson scored a team-high 17 points and grabbed a game-best 11 rebounds for his third double-double of the season. Johnson now ranks 10th in the WCC in both scoring (13.0 ppg) and rebounding (5.5 rpg), and is one of only three freshmen to rank in the top 10 in both categories, joining Pepperdine's Tyrone Shelley and Malcolm Thomas.

- Johnson continues to move up the Lions' career record book for scoring and rebounds, as his 272 points and 115 rebounds on the season already ranks seventh and sixth for freshman at LMU.

- Junior Corey Counts is tied for second in the WCC with 11 treys in conference play.

- The Lions return to Gersten Pavilion to host San Diego (2/2) this weekend.

Pepperdine Waves (7-14 / 1-4 WCC)
- The Waves earned their first win under Interim Head Coach Eric Bridgeland, defeating rival Loyola Marymount, 87-64.

- Freshman forward Malcolm Thomas tossed in a game-high 18 points, grabbed six rebounds and blocked five shots against the Lions. Thomas has been one of the most impressive freshmen in the conference, ranking in the top 10 in scoring (9th-13.7 ppg), rebounding (3rd-8.8 rpg), field goal percentage (2nd-.556), and blocks (3rd-1.76 bpg).

- Freshman Tyrone Shelley added 16 points against the Lions. Shelley is tied for third in the WCC in scoring during conference games with 16.4 ppg.

- Junior guard Rico Tucker is tied for the WCC lead in steals with 44 overall and 2.10 spg.

- The Waves host San Francisco (2/2) this Saturday.

Portland Pilots (7-14 / 1-4 WCC)
- The Pilots dropped a 79-41 decision at Gonzaga on Monday.

- Sophomore guard Taishi Ito leads the WCC in assist-to-turnover ratio (3.7-to-1.8).

- Freshman guard Jared Stohl is proving to be one of the top long-range shooters in the conference, ranking third in the WCC in three-point field goals made per game (1.90) and seventh in three-point percentage (.413).

- Sophomore forward Robin Smeulders grabbed seven rebounds against Gonzaga to lead the Pilots. Smeulders has increased his production on the glass during conference play, ranking sixth in WCC games with 7.2 rpg.

- The Pilots play at Gonzaga (1/28) before traveling to Saint Mary's (2/2) this weekend.

Saint Mary's Gaels (17-3 / 4-1 WCC)
- Saint Mary's dropped just its third game of the season, falling at San Diego, 63-55, on Monday.

- Freshman guard Patrick Mills led the Gaels with 13 points. Mills, who ranks fifth in the conference in scoring with 15.2 ppg, has led Saint Mary's in scoring a team-high nine times this season, including the previous two games.

- Sophomore center Omar Samhan tallied his sixth double-double of the season, scoring 11 points and grabbing a game-high 10 rebounds against the Toreros. Samhan's six double-doubles on the season is tied for the third most in the conference.

- The Gaels have blocked a WCC-high 114 shots.

- Saint Mary's returns home to host Portland (2/2) and Gonzaga (2/4) this week.

San Diego Toreros (11-11 / 4-1 WCC)
- The Toreros defeated No. 20 Saint Mary's, 63-55, to improve to 4-1 in conference play, moving them into a tie for second place with the Gaels in the WCC standings.

- Junior guard Brandon Johnson earned his second WCC Player of the Week award after tossing in a game-high 25 points in the Toreros win over Saint Mary's. Johnson improved his scoring average to 17.5 ppg, moving him into second place in the WCC.

- Junior forward Gyno Pomare scored 20 points on 9-of-10 shooting from the floor against the Gaels. Pomare also added seven boards and five blocks.

- USD leads the WCC in scoring defense during league play, allowing just 57.6 ppg.

- The Toreros host Saint Mary's (1/28) before traveling to LMU (2/2) this weekend.

San Francisco Dons (5-15 / 1-4 WCC)
- The Dons dropped a 66-48 decision to Bay Area rival Santa Clara on Monday.

- Head Coach Eddie Sutton owns a career record of 799-322 and is looking to become just the fifth coach in NCAA Division I history with 800 career wins.

- Sophomore forward Dior Lowhorn led the Dons with a game-high 22 points. Lowhorn, who has led USF in scoring in 13 of their 20 games, leads the WCC with 20.6 ppg.

- Sophomore center Hyman Taylor turned in the first double-double of his career, finishing with 11 points, 11 rebounds and three blocked shots versus Santa Clara. Taylor leads USF and ranks seventh in the conference in blocks with 1.05 bpg.

- USF travels to Pepperdine (2/2) and Loyola Marymount (2/4) this week.

Santa Clara Broncos (11-9 / 3-2 WCC)
- Santa Clara improved to 3-2 in conference play with a 66-48 win over Bay Area rival San Francisco on Monday.

- Junior center John Bryant notched his WCC-leading ninth double-double of the season, scoring 22 points and grabbing 12 rebounds against the Dons. Bryant is the only player in the WCC to rank in the top three in the conference in scoring (T-2nd-17.5 ppg), rebounding (1st-9.4rpg), field goal percentage (1st-.595), and blocks (1st-2.10 bpg).

- Sophomore guard Jonathan Gunderson leads the WCC in three-point accuracy, knocking down 46.2 percent of his attempts from beyond the arc.

- Bryant's 42 blocks are already the fifth most in a single-season at SCU.

- Santa Clara hosts Gonzaga (2/2) and Portland (2/4) this week.