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WCC Men's Basketball Weekly Notes

Feb. 18, 2009

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WCC REGULAR SEASON NEARING HOME STRETCH

With just two weeks remaining in the regular season, WCC teams begin their final push before the conference tournament. Gonzaga can clinch the regular season title outright with one more win or a loss by Portland. Gonzaga, which hosts Loyola Marymount and Pepperdine this week, will be looking to lock up its ninth consecutive regular season conference crown, easily the longest active streak in the nation, and tie Kentucky (1944-52) for the fourth longest streak in NCAA history (UCLA has the longest streak, winning 13 straight regular season titles from 1967-79).

Upcoming Schedule

All Times PST

THURSDAY, FEBRUARY 19
TEAMS LOCATION
TIME
NETWORK/RECAP
Loyola Marymount at Gonzaga Spokane, WA 6:00 PM
KHQ/FSNNW
Pepperdine at Portland Portland, OR 7:00 PM
San Diego at Saint Mary's Moraga, CA 8:00 PM
ESPNU
SATURDAY, FEBRUARY 21
TEAMS LOCATION
TIME
NETWORK/RECAP
Utah State at Saint Mary's Moraga, CA
2:00 PM
ESPN2
Pacific at San Diego San Diego, CA
6:00 PM
Loyola Marymount at Portland Portland, OR
7:00 PM
Santa Clara at San Francisco San Francisco, CA
7:00 PM
CSNCA
Pepperdine at Gonzaga Spokane, WA
8:30 PM
ESPNU

AROUND THE WCC




Diamon Simpson and the Saint Mary's Gaels host No. 23 Utah State this Saturday in a BracketBusters showdown.


WCC Player of the Week: Pepperdine's Keion Bell Earns Weekly Honor
Keion Bell averaged 16 ppg, 7.5 rpg, 4.5 apg, and 3.5 spg in leading the Waves to victories over Santa Clara and San Diego. Against SCU, Bell helped the Waves rally back from a second-half 15-point deficit and sunk two free throws to give Pepperdine the lead for good. He then recorded his third double-double of the season in the game against USD, scoring 12 of the Waves' 15 final points and ending the Waves' nine-game losing streak to the Toreros. Pepperdine now has five WCC wins, its most since the 2005 season.

Saint Mary's Hosts No. 23 Utah State In BracketBusters Showdown
With the announcement of the match-ups for the ESPNU BracketBusters on Feb. 2, Saint Mary's will host the No. 23 ranked Utah State Aggies on Feb. 21 in a nationally televised game. The game between SMC and Utah State will tip-off at 2 p.m. from McKeon Pavilion, and will be televised on ESPN2.

Saint Mary's Diamon Simpson Tops 1,000 Career Rebounds; Joins Santa Clara's John Bryant
Saint Mary's senior forward Diamon Simpson collected 24 rebounds over the week to top the 1,000 career rebounds plateau, becoming just the 15th player in WCC history to accomplish the feat. Simpson joins Santa Clara's John Bryant, who cleared the rebounding milestone earlier this season. The WCC is the only conference in the country with two active players who have grabbed over 1,000 career rebounds. Simpson needs just 42 more points to become just the 13th player in WCC history to reach 1,500 career points and grab 1,000 rebounds.

Gonzaga Clinches Top Two Seed For WCC Tournament
Gonzaga improved to 10-0 in conference play with its road sweep through the Bay Area, clinching at least a top two finish in the regular season standings and earning one of the top two seeds for the upcoming WCC Tournament held at the Orleans Arena in Las Vegas. With one of the top two seeds locked up, the Zags will have a double bye until the semifinals of the WCC Tournament. This marks the 12th straight season that Gonzaga has finished either first or second in the WCC regular season standings.


WCC TEAM NOTES

SCHOOL TEAM NOTES

Overall Record: 19-5
WCC Record: 10-0
  • Gonzaga improved to 10-0 in conference play with a thrilling 72-70 win at Saint Mary's and a 78-73 victory over San Francisco.

  • With the win over USF, the Bulldogs assured themselves of finishing no lower than second in the regular season standings, and earned one of the top two seeds in the WCC Tournament, giving them a double bye into the conference tournament semifinals.

  • Matt Bouldin (1,020) became the 31st Zag in program history to top 1,000 career points.

  • The Zags can clinch the regular season title outright with one more win or a loss by Portland. Gonzaga, which hosts Loyola Marymount (2/19) and Pepperdine (2/21) this week, will be looking to lock up its ninth consecutive regular season conference crown, easily the longest active streak in the nation, and tie Kentucky (1944-52) for the second longest streak in NCAA history (UCLA won 13 straight regular season titles from 1967-79).
  • Overall Record: 2-24
    WCC Record: 1-9
  • LMU earned its first WCC win of the season, defeating San Diego, 65-57, before dropping a hard-fought 69-64 decision versus Santa Clara.

  • Sophomore Vernon Teel turned in a great all-around performance in both games, averaging nearly a triple-double for the weekend with 19.5 ppg, 8.0 rpg, and 8.0 apg. Teel is one of the top newcomers in the WCC, averaging 16.6 ppg, 6.0 rpg, and 3.1 apg during conference play.

  • Freshman guard Jared Dubois scored 28 points against SCU, the third highest single-game scoring total by a freshman in program history. Dubois set the LMU freshman record earlier this season with 39 points in the Lions' win over CS Bakersfield on 1/4/09.

  • According to statsheet.com, LMU has the 24th youngest roster in the country.

  • LMU plays at No. 17 Gonzaga (2/19) and Portland (2/21) this week.
  • Overall Record: 8-18
    WCC Record: 5-5
  • The Waves ran their winning streak to three straight games, defeating Santa Clara, 66-60, on Thursday and San Diego, 57-52, on Saturday.

  • The Waves' victories also give them their most conference wins since 2005. The Waves' three-game winning streak is Pepperdine's first in WCC play since February 2004. It also marks Pepperdine's first two-game weekend sweep in WCC action since January 2005.

  • Freshman guard Keion Bell averaged 16.0 ppg, 7.5 rpg, 4.5 apg and 3.5 spg in leading the Waves to the two victories. For his efforts, Bell earned WCC Player of the Week honors, becoming Pepperdine's first WCC Player of the Week honoree since February 2007.

  • According to statsheet.com, the Waves have the eighth youngest team in the nation.

  • The Waves travel to the Pacific Northwest to play at Portland (2/19) and Gonzaga (2/21).
  • Overall Record: 16-9
    WCC Record: 7-3
  • The Pilots earned a road split on their Bay Area trip, defeating San Francisco, 72-67, before falling at Saint Mary's, 77-65.

  • Portland maintains its hold on second-place in the conference standings and guaranteed its highest win total since finishing 19-11 overall in 1996 and advancing to the NCAA Tournament. Portland holds a half game lead over Saint Mary's (7-4) in the WCC standings with four games remaining. The second seed is crucial as it gets a bye to the WCC Tournament semifinals.

  • Led by junior guard T.J. Campbell, three Portland players are ranked in the top five in the WCC in three-point percentage. Campbell leads the WCC with a 54.1 percentage, while Jared Stohl ranks third (45.6 percent) and Ethan Niedermeyer is fourth (43.1 percent). As a team, the Pilots rank third in the country in three-point percentage with a 41.1 percent clip.

  • Portland hosts Pepperdine (2/19) and Loyola Marymount (2/21) this week.
  • Overall Record: 20-5
    WCC Record: 7-4
  • Saint Mary's dropped a hard fought 72-70 decision to No. 19 Gonzaga, before bouncing back to defeat Portland, 77-65.

  • Sophomore Mickey McConnell scored a game-high 20 points in leading the Gaels to the win over Portland. McConnell, one of the players called upon to fill the void until Patrick Mills returns to the lineup, knocked down 5-of-6 shots from the field, including all four attempts from beyond the arc. In addition, McConnell didn't commit a single turnover in 29 minutes of action.

  • Senior Diamon Simpson collected 24 rebounds over the week to top the 1,000 career rebounds plateau, becoming just the 15th player in WCC history to accomplish the feat. Simpson needs just 42 more points to become just the 13th player in WCC history to reach 1,500 career points and grab 1,000 rebounds.

  • The Gaels host San Diego (2/19) and No. 23 Utah State (2/21) this week.
  • Overall Record: 13-13
    WCC Record: 5-6
  • The Toreros fell to 13-13 overall and 5-6 in conference play with a 65-57 setback at Loyola Marymount and a 57-52 loss at Pepperdine.

  • The Toreros lead the conference in scoring defense, holding their opponents to just 60.5 points per game.

  • Sophomore forward Rob Jones led the Toreros with 14 points and 11 rebounds against the Lions. The double-double was Jones' third of the season.

  • It was announced last week that the Toreros will host the University of the Pacific Tigers in this year's seventh annual ESPNU BracketBusters game on Saturday, February 21st.

  • The Toreros look to get back to their winning ways as they travel to Moraga to take on Saint Mary's (2/19) this Thursday before hosting Pacific (2/21).
  • Overall Record: 9-17
    WCC Record: 1-10
  • San Francisco dropped a 72-67 decision to Portland on Thursday evening, before falling to Gonzaga, 78-73.

  • Junior forward Dior Lowhorn led the Dons with a game-high 24 points to go along with six rebounds and two blocked shots against the Pilots. Lowhorn, who tossed in a game-high 23 points against Gonzaga, leads the WCC and ranks 20th in the nation in scoring with 20.3 ppg.

  • Lowhorn matched Bill Russell as the fastest USF player to score 1,000 career points, in the Dons' game versus Portland earlier this season (1/15). Lowhorn reached the 1,000 point milestone in his 49th career game in the Green and Gold. Russell tallied his 1,000th career point in the 1955 NCAA Tournament Semifinals against Colorado. Lowhorn now has 1,393 career points (230 points at Texas Tech).

  • The Dons host Bay Area rival Santa Clara (2/21) in their lone game this week.
  • Overall Record: 14-14
    WCC Record: 6-5
  • The Broncos saw their six-game winning streak snapped by a 66-60 loss at Pepperdine on Thursday evening, but bounced back to defeat Loyola Marymount, 69-64.

  • Senior center John Bryant turned in another pair of double-doubles, tossing in a game-high 25 points, on 11-of-17 shooting, to go along with a game-best 12 rebounds against Pepperdine, before scoring 25 points and grabbing 16 rebounds versus LMU. Bryant leads the WCC and ranks second in the nation with 21 double-doubles this season. He continues to lead the country in total rebounds with 386, followed by Oklahoma's Blake Griffin (369).

  • Freshman guard Kevin Foster tossed in a team-high 26 points in the win over LMU. Foster leads all WCC freshmen and ranks sixth in the conference in scoring with 14.2 ppg.

  • The Broncos play at Bay Area rival San Francisco (2/21) this weekend.