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WCC weekly men's basketball notes, Feb. 1, 2011

Feb. 1, 2011

Watch this week's "WCC Weekend Rewind" | Listen to WCC Live on Wednesday night!

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AROUND THE WCC

WCC'S Second Half Begins
With the calendar flipping to February, the second half of the West Coast Conference season is upon us. At the halfway mark, just one game separates the WCC's top three teams in the standings.

Portland's Tim Douglas and Saint Mary's Mickey McConnell named WCC Co-Players of the Week
Saint Mary's senior guard Mickey McConnell and Portland freshman guard Tim Douglas share WCC Player of the Week honors. McConnell hit the game-winning jumper with 1.2 seconds left at Gonzaga, giving the Gaels their first win in Spokane since 1995. He averaged 29.5 points over two games, including a career-high 32 at Portland Saturday. Meanwhile, Douglas, making his first two starts at point guard, averaged 15 points and five assists per game, while shooting 6-of-8 from beyond the arc in a pair of Pilots victories - including a convincing triumph over previously-unbeaten Saint Mary's.
Also nominated: Sam Dower, Gonzaga; Joshua Lowery, Pepperdine; Marc Trasolini, Santa Clara.

WCC Quick Hits...

  • Saint Mary's and Loyola Marymount learned their BracketBusters fate on Monday. The Gaels will host No. 21 Utah State, and the Lions will travel to Portland State on Feb. 19. The SMC-USU game will be televised live on ESPN2.
  • The three Bay Area teams occupy the top spots in the WCC standings. The last time a regular season ended with these three teams atop the standings came in 1997.
  • Don't miss an all-new "WCC Live" on Wednesday night. The live weekly talk show is the only one of its kind devoted to West Coast Conference hoops. On this week's show, live interviews include ESPN Bracketologist Joe Lunardi and Portland senior guard Jared Stohl. For more details, including where to listen, see below.
  • Saint Mary's and Portland are a combined 23-0 on their home floors this season. Portland hosts Gonzaga on Thursday (ESPN2), and Saint Mary's welcomes Pepperdine Thursday and LMU on Saturday (ESPN2).
  • "The Road to Las Vegas," the WCC's weekly web video show, is available on-demand. This week's show features game highlights, and a sit-down interview with Portland sharpshooters Nemanja Mitrovic and Jared Stohl. For more on the show, see below.
  • This season marks the 25th anniversary of the Zappos.com WCC Men's Basketball Championship.

Saint Mary's Loyola Marymount Discover BracketBusters Opponents
Both Saint Mary's and Loyola Marymount learned their BracketBusters fate on Monday. The Gaels will host No. 21 Utah State on Saturday, Feb. 19 at 6 p.m. (ESPN2). Later that night, LMU will visit Portland State. By participating in the BrackBusters event, Saint Mary's will play a return game at Utah State, and Portland State will travel to Loyola Marymount within the next two seasons. Since BracketBusters began in 2003, West Coast Conference teams are 6-2 in the event. For more, visit espnbracketbusters.com.

WCC Live is On the Air Each Week
The West Coast Conference is proud to announce the return of its weekly Internet radio show, WCC Live. The hour-long show is hosted by Jeff Lampe and features interviews with WCC coaches and student-athletes throughout the basketball season. WCC Live premieres with a new live stream every Wednesday at 8 p.m., with an archive available on-demand and for free download. Listeners can call in to the show as it airs live each week, and can also interact with guests through e-mail and Twitter. The show can be found at: http://www.blogtalkradio.com/WCCsports.Fans can call in and chat live with the host and guests by calling (877) 779-6383 or by e-mailing their questions to radio@westcoast.org .
Feb. 2 show (live):

  • ESPN Bracketologist Joe Lunardi
  • Portland senior guard Jared Stohl
  • Pepperdine junior women's guard Jazmine Jackson
  • "The Road To Las Vegas" Returns
    The start of WCC play marked the return of the WCC's "The Road to Las Vegas" weekly web video show, "The Road to Las Vegas." Each Wednesday, a new "Road to Las Vegas" show will premiere on WCCsports.com, leading up to the Zappos.com West Coast Conference Basketball Championships in March. Join host Ted Robinson and various WCC TV correspondents as they present WCC coaches and student-athletes up-close in a fun setting. New episodes can be found on WCCsports.com each week, and are available for viewing on-demand.
    On this week's show:

    • West Coast Conference weekly highlights
    • A chat with Portland sharpshooters Nemanja Mitrovic and Jared Stohl
    • 60 Seconds With San Francisco's Bailey Barbour and Ashley Boggs

    A New Look
    The West Coast Conference has teamed with CBSSports.com College Network, its web site host and multimedia partner, to re-launch WCCsports.com. Among the new features on the site are front-and-center video content, larger images and graphics, campus updates, fan polls, and integration with other West Coast Conference social media platforms - such as Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube. Visitors to WCCsports.com can also find additional features such as a WCC insider blog, and interactive results.

    Rackin' Up the Frequent Flyer Miles
    Already this season, WCC teams haven't been afraid to hop on a plane to face the nation's best. West Coast Conference teams have played games in 18 states this season: California, Colorado, Hawaii, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Massachusetts, Missouri, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, North Carolina, Oregon, South Dakota, Texas, Utah, and Washington.

    Coaches Tab Gonzaga For Top Spot in Preseason Poll
    Gonzaga was selected as the favorite to win the 2010-11 West Coast Conference Championship after receiving six first place votes and 48 of a possible 49 points from conference head coaches in the annual WCC preseason poll. Loyola Marymount, which reached the College Insider.com Tournament last year for its first postseason appearance in 20 years, was picked to finish second. The Lions return 13 players from last year's 18-win team. Saint Mary's, which was picked third, is coming off the first NCAA Sweet 16 appearance in school history and the 2010 Zappos.com WCC Men's Basketball Tournament Championship. Santa Clara was picked to finish fourth by the coaches, followed by Portland, San Francisco, Pepperdine and San Diego.

    2010-11 WCC Men's Basketball Preseason Coaches Poll
    Team - points (first place votes)
    1. Gonzaga - 48 (6)
    2. Loyola Marymount - 42 (1)
    3. Saint Mary's - 39 (1)
    4. Santa Clara - 28
    5. Portland - 25
    6. San Francisco - 18
    7. Pepperdine - 14
    8. San Diego - 10

    2010-11 WCC Preseason All-Conference Team
    The preseason All-WCC team, as selected by the conference's head coaches, features representatives from six of the eight schools. In addition, Gonzaga, Loyola Marymount, Saint Mary's, and Santa Clara each had two preseason all-conference selections apiece.

    2010-11 WCC Men's Basketball Preseason All-Conference Team
    Keion Bell, PEP
    Matthew Dellavedova, SMC
    Kevin Foster, SCU
    Steven Gray, GON
    Elias Harris, GON
    Mickey McConnell, SMC
    Jared Stohl, POR
    Vernon Teel, LMU
    Marc Trasolini, SCU
    Drew Viney, LMU

    What'd He Say?
    For the latest scores and news, follow the West Coast Conference on Twitter @WCCSports.

    Did you know that WCC Commissioner Jamie Zaninovich is on Twitter, too? See what The Commish has on his mind. Follow him @WCC_Commish.

    Four WCC Teams See Postseason Action
    For just the second time in conference history, four West Coast Conference men's basketball teams advanced to the postseason following the 2010 WCC campaign. Saint Mary's, the 2010 Zappos.com West Coast Conference Tournament champion, made an appearance in the Sweet 16 after knocking off Richmond and Villanova in the NCAA Tournament.

    Zappos.com Named Title Sponsor of the WCC Championships
    The West Coast Conference (WCC) and its multi-media rights partner, IMG College, announced Zappos.com as the official title sponsor of the WCC Men's and Women's Basketball Championships. The deal represents the WCC's first-ever title sponsorship. In addition, the WCC and Zappos.com have partnered with Soles4Souls to challenge each West Coast Conference campus to collect the most shoes from December to the end of the conference basketball season. The gently used shoes will be distributed internationally through Soles4Souls to individuals in need. Last year's shoe drive resulted in over 5,200 shoes being donated to Soles4Souls by West Coast Conference institutions.

    WCC Tournament to Remain at the Orleans Arena Through 2012
    On July 22, 2009, the WCC and the Orleans Arena announced a three-year contract extension that will keep the WCC Men's and Women's Basketball Championships in Las Vegas through 2012. The extension comes after the WCC sold out the Orleans Arena for the 2009 WCC Basketball Championships. The 2009 championship, which was the WCC's first-ever at a neutral site, set conference records for both total championship attendance (33,320) and single session championship attendance (7,845). Tickets for the 2010-11 event are available by visiting www.orleansarena.com or calling 1-888-234-2334.

    West Coast Conference to Welcome BYU in 2011-12
    The West Coast Conference announced that Brigham Young University has formally accepted an invitation to join the WCC with competition to begin in the 2011-12 academic year. BYU has been consistently recognized as one of the top-rated academic institutions in the nation and is home to an athletic program that has enjoyed success at both the conference and national levels. BYU, which will become an independent in FBS football, will compete in the West Coast Conference in baseball, men's and women's basketball, men's and women's cross country, men's and women's golf, women's soccer, men's and women's tennis and women's volleyball. This is the first time the West Coast Conference has formally invited an institution as a full member since Gonzaga University and the University of San Diego began competing in the WCC in 1979.

    Zappos.com WCC Championships Tickets Going Fast
    Tickets for the 2011 Zappos.com WCC Men's and Women's Basketball Championships are on-sale, and are going fast. The 2011 West Coast Conference Basketball Championships will once again be held March 4-7 at the Orleans Arena in Las Vegas for the third consecutive season. The previous two tournaments were sellouts. Tickets can be purchased by logging on to www.orleansarena.com or by calling 1-888-234-2334. All-session tickets are $135 - less than $10 per game for the 14-game tournament.

    Shining on the National Stage
    The West Coast Conference will once again be a major player on the national television scene with a 24-game package on the ESPN family of networks. A total of seven non-conference games involving WCC teams will air on an ESPN property. There will be a total of 17 conference games on ESPN, ESPN2 or ESPNU in 2010-11, including the Zappos.com WCC Basketball Championship semifinals on ESPN2 on Sunday, March 6 and the championship game on ESPN on Monday, March 7. The West Coast Conference will once again be a centerpiece to ESPN's Thursday night coverage with weekly time slots on both ESPN2 and ESPNU in January and February.

    Download the complete release (PDF) above to view the full TV schedule.

     


 
WCC TEAM NOTES

SCHOOL TEAM NOTES

Overall Record: 14-8
WCC Record: 4-3
  • Gonzaga dropped a heart-breaking 73-71 decision to No. 24 Saint Mary's in Spokane on Thursday, but rebounded to stop its three-game slide with an 86-53 triumph over San Diego on Saturday.
  • Redshirt freshman center Sam Dower scored 15 points in 16 minutes off the bench Thursday against the Gaels. Two days later, he dropped a career-high 27 on 11-of-12 shooting against USD.
  • Sophomore forward Eilas Harris scored 17 points to pace the Bulldogs against Saint Mary's. In the USD win, Harris scored nine points and pulled down nine boards in 18 minutes. He is averaging 12.3 points and 5.7 rebounds per contest this season.
  • The Bulldogs visit Portland on Thursday night (8 p.m., ESPN2) and then battle Memphis in the annual Ronald McDonald House Charities Classic at Spokane Arena on Saturday (1 p.m., ESPN).

Overall Record: 8-13
WCC Record: 1-6
  • Loyola Marymount dropped a 61-60 home decision to San Francisco on Thursday night at Gersten Pavilion, and then fell 79-72 to Santa Clara on Saturday. LMU rebounded to top Seattle, 81-64, on Monday, stopping a five-game slide.
  • Freshman guard Ayodeji Egbeyemi posted his first career double-double, with a 15-point, ten-rebound effort against the Dons on Thursday.
  • Senior guard Vernon Teel scored 21 points, doled out six assists, and came away with four steals on Saturday against Santa Clara.
  • The Lions travel south to take on San Diego on Thursday night (7 p.m., free video on usdtoreros.com), and then head to the Bay Area to visit Saint Mary's on Saturday evening in a nationally-televised game (5 p.m., ESPN2).

Overall Record: 9-15
WCC Record: 3-4
  • After falling 71-59 to Santa Clara on Thursday night at home, Pepperdine rebounded to out-gun San Francisco by a 94-88 score in Malibu on Saturday night.
  • Sophomore guard Joshua Lowery established new career highs with 15 points, seven assists, and three steals over 32 minutes in the win over San Francisco.
  • Junior guard Lorne Jackson was one of five Waves to hit for double figures in the win over USF. Jackson finished with a team-high 23 points in the victory, and his 17.4 points per game average during conference play ranks third in the WCC.
  • The Waves are on the road this week, traveling to Saint Mary's on Thursday (7 p.m., free video on smcgaels.com) and San Diego on Saturday (6 p.m., 4 SD).

Overall Record: 16-6
WCC Record: 4-3
  • Portland is 12-0 at the Chiles Center following wins over San Diego (79-64) on Thursday and previously-unbeaten Saint Mary's (85-70) on Saturday. Overall, the Pilots have won 19 straight at home.
  • Freshman guard Tim Douglas was named WCC Co-Player of the Week. Making his first career starts, Douglas averaged 15 points and five assists in a pair of UP wins. He was 6-of-8 shooting from beyond the three-point arc.
  • Senior guard Jared Stohl scored 21 points and was 5-of-7 from three-point range in the Saint Mary's win. He ranks among the national leaders, averaging three made three's per contest.
  • The Pilots play host to their second straight nationally-televised game, when Portland welcomes Gonzaga to the Chiles Center on Thursday night (8 p.m., ESPN2). On Saturday, the Pilots visit Seattle (7 p.m.) in a non-conference affair.

Overall Record: 18-4
WCC Record: 6-1
  • No. 24 Saint Mary's improved to 6-0 in West Coast Conference action with a thriling 73-71 comeback win at Gonzaga on Thursday. Two days later, the Gaels suffered their first WCC setback, falling 85-70 at Portland.
  • Senior guard Mickey McConnell, a finalist for the Bob Cousy award, was named West Coast Conference Co-Player of the Week. He scored 27 - including the game-winning shot with 1.2 seconds left - at Gonzaga. Two days later, McConnell went for a personal-best 32 at Portland.
  • Sophomore guard Matt Dellavedova had four assists and five steals at Portland on Saturday. For the season, the Australia native ranks among the national leaders in both assists (5.8) and assist-turnover ratio (2.65).
  • The Gaels host Pepperdine on Thursday night (7 p.m., free video on smcgaels.com) and Loyola Marymount on Saturday (5 p.m., ESPN2).

Overall Record: 4-18
WCC Record: 0-7
  • San Diego dropped a 79-64 decision to the Pilots on Thursday night in Portland. On Saturday, the Toreros fell 86-53 at Gonzaga in the first half finale.
  • Senior guard Devin Ginty scored a game-high 20 points on 5-of-6 shooting for the Toreros in their contest at Gonzaga. Ginty was 7-for-8 from the free throw line.
  • Sophomore center Chris Gabriel scored a team-high 13 points, while grabbing five boards on Thursday in Portland.
  • The Toreros play five of their final seven WCC games at home. On Thursday, USD hosts Loyola Marymount (7 p.m., free video on usdtoreros.com). On Saturday, San Diego welcomes Pepperdine (6 p.m., 4 SD).

Overall Record: 11-11
WCC Record: 5-2
  • San Francisco rallied from a 17-point second half deficit to top Loyola Marymount, 61-60, on Thursday. The Dons' four-game winning streak was snapped on Saturday, when they fell 94-88 in a shootout at Pepperdine.
  • Senior center Moustapha Diarra scored a career-high 26 points on 11-of-14 shooting at Pepperdine on Saturday. At LMU, he contributed a 15-point, four-rebound effort in 18 minutes off the bench for the Dons.
  • The Dons lead the West Coast Conference in three-point field goal percentage defense, allowing the opposition to connect on just 32.3% (155-480) of its attempts from beyond the arc.
  • San Francisco has five WCC home games remaining. In their only game this week, the Dons host Bay Area rival Santa Clara on Saturday night (7 p.m., Comcast SportsNet California).

Overall Record: 14-9
WCC Record: 5-2
  • Santa Clara has won four straight and sits in a tie for second place in the WCC standings. The Broncos ran out to a 17-1 lead and never looked back in a 71-59 triumph at Pepperdine on Thursday. Two days later, they won 79-72 at Loyola Marymount.
  • Junior forward Marc Trasolini averaged 17 points and shot better than 81% in the Broncos' two road wins last week. In WCC play, Trasolini is averaging 12.3 points per game.
  • Redshirt sophomore guard Kevin Foster was 13-for-13 from the free throw line, scoring 28 points in Santa Clara's victory at Loyola Marymount. Foster is the leading scorer in conference play at 21 points per game.
  • The Broncos host UC Santa Cruz on Tuesday in a non-conference match-up (7 p.m., free video on santaclarabroncos.com). On Saturday, Santa Clara visits USF (7 p.m., CSN California).