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WCC Men's Basketball: Five For Friday

Jan. 30, 2009

No. 20 Gonzaga Edges No. 18 Saint Mary's To Remain Unbeaten In WCC Play
No. 20 Gonzaga stayed unbeaten in WCC play with a thrilling 69-62 win over No. 18 Saint Mary's in one of the most highly anticipated conference games in the country this season. With the win, Gonzaga moved into sole possession of first place with a 6-0 record, while Saint Mary's dropped just its second game of the season. The Zags once again used their patented balanced scoring, led by Matt Bouldin's 17 points, while the Gaels were paced by Patrick Mills, who tossed in a game-high 18 points in just 17 minutes of action. Mills, who knocked down 6-of-8 from the three-point line, left the game for good in the first half after spraining his right wrist (shooting hand).

Portland Off To Best WCC Start In School History
The Portland Pilots defeated San Diego, 69-55, on Thursday to improve to 14-7 overall and 5-1 in WCC play. The Pilots 5-1 record to open conference play is the best in school history. In addition, the win pushed the Pilots into a second place tie with No. 18 Saint Mary's in the conference standings. Portland, which has earned wins over No. 23 Washington and Nevada at home, hosts the Gaels on Saturday.

WCC Coaches "Sneaker-Up" Against Cancer
During this Saturday's conference games, all eight men's basketball head coaches will wear sneakers with their suits as they take part in this year's "Coaches vs. Cancer Suits and Sneakers Awareness Weekend." By lacing up sneakers instead of dress shoes, coaches hope to remind the public that while cancer still remains a major health concern, all can take minor steps to reduce the risk. "Coaches vs. Cancer" is a nationwide collaboration that was adopted in 1993 by the American Cancer Society and the National Association of Basketball Coaches (NABC) to empower basketball coaches, teams, and local communities to make a difference in the fight against cancer. For more information on "Coaches vs. Cancer" and the events that surround its efforts, please visit www.cancer.org/coaches.

Bryant's Big Night
Santa Clara senior John Bryant continued his campaign to be considered arguably the most prolific rebounder in the country. Bryant pulled down a career-high tying 22 boards in the Broncos' 82-56 win over Loyola Marymount. Bryant now leads the nation in total rebounds with 306, passing Oklahoma's Blake Griffin who has 295. Bryant is now just nine rebounds shy of 1,000 career rebounds. The San Pablo, CA native is looking to become just the third player in school history and the 14th in WCC history to reach the rebounding milestone. Bryant is looking to become the 10th player in Bay Area history to reach 1,000 career rebounds, and the first since Stanford's Tim Young accomplished the feat in 1999.

WCC Freshmen Making Big Impact
Several WCC teams have received outstanding play from freshmen this season, and last night was no different. Pepperdine freshman Keion Bell connected on 13-of-14 shots from the field en route to a career-high 32 points in the Waves' 69-67 win at San Francisco on Thursday. Bell wasn't the only freshman to lead his team in scoring last night. Santa Clara's James Rahon equaled his career-best with 25 points in the Broncos' win over LMU, while classmate Kevin Foster tossed in 20 points in the win. On the other side, LMU's Kevin Young hauled down six boards to set the school freshman record for most rebounds in a season. LMU freshman Jared Dubois scored 12 points against the Broncos to move into seventh place on the Lions' freshman single-season scoring charts with 295 points.