Feb. 27, 2008
WCC WEEK EIGHT PREVIEW
West Coast Conference men's basketball teams head into the final stretch of the regular season. No. 24 Gonzaga and No. 23 Saint Mary's remain tied for first place in the conference standings with 11-1 records and are guaranteed of finishing 1-2 in the final regular season standings. By finishing in the top two in the regular season standings, the Zags and the Gaels have locked up the top two seeds in next weeks WCC Tournament and earn byes until the semifinals on Sunday, March 9th. San Diego, which is currently in third place, has locked up the No. 3 seed in the WCC Tournament and will receive a first round bye in the conference tournament, held at the Toreros' Jenny Craig Pavilion. With one more win, or a loss by Pepperdine in one of its final two games, Santa Clara can clinch the No. 4 seed and also receive a first round in the WCC Tournament.
NO. 24 GONZAGA HOSTS NO. 23 SAINT MARY'S WITH WCC TITLE ON THE LINE
Gonzaga, ranked No. 24 in the latest AP poll, hosts No. 23 Saint Mary's this Saturday with the WCC regular season title on the line. The game will mark the first contest between ranked WCC opponents in the conference's history. The Gaels defeated Gonzaga, 89-85, in overtime at home on Feb. 4. The Zags have won seven straight WCC titles and nine of the last 10. Saint Mary's last captured the WCC regular season title in 1997, sharing the crown with Bay Area rival Santa Clara.
*Saint Mary's at Gonzaga - 5:00 PM #
*Pepperdine at San Diego - 6:00 PM
*Loyola Marymount at San Francisco - 7:00 PM
*Santa Clara at Portland - 7:00 PM !
*Loyola Marymount at San Diego - 7:00 PM %
*Pepperdine at San Francisco - 7:00 PM
*Saint Mary's at Portland - 7:00 PM !
*Santa Clara at Gonzaga - 8:30 PM $
* Denotes WCC games; ! Televised on CSN; # Televised on FSN; % Televised on ESPNU; $ Televised on ESPN2; All times PST
WCC TEAM NOTES
Gonzaga Bulldogs (22-6 / 11-1 WCC)
- The Bulldogs improved to 22-6 overall and 11-1 in WCC play with a 73-51 win over Portland on Monday. With the win over the Pilots, the Zags have guaranteed themselves at least a second place finish in the regular season standings and a bye until the semifinals of the upcoming conference tournament.
- Junior Jeremy Pargo and senior David Pendergraft tied for game-high scoring honors with 13 points each. Pargo also added a game-best six assists and grabbed six rebounds. His six assists give him an even 400 for his career, making him just the fourth player in Gonzaga history to hand out 400 assists. Pargo trails former GU standouts Matt Santangelo (668), Blake Stepp (640) and John Stockton (554). The Gonzaga co-captain is seventh in career steals with 119.
- Freshman Austin Daye is shooting a WCC-best 62.8 percent during conference play.
- The Zags close out the regular season by hosting Saint Mary's (3/1) and Santa Clara (3/3).
Loyola Marymount Lions (5-23 / 2-10 WCC)
- Loyola Marymount fell to rival Pepperdine, 72-63, on Saturday to fall to 5-23 overall and 2-10 in league play.
- The Lions had four players in double figures versus Pepperdine as juniors Quentin Turner and Marko Deric had 12 each, while freshman Tim Diederichs and junior Corey Counts added 10 each.
- Freshman forward Brad Sweezy hauled in a team-high seven rebounds against the Waves as eight Lions grabbed at least four rebounds.
- Sophomore Shawn Deadwiler leads the Lions and ranks seventh in the WCC in three-point field goals with 48.
- The Lions close out the regular season at San Francisco (3/1) and at San Diego (3/3).
Pepperdine Waves (10-18 / 4-8 WCC)
- The Waves improved to 10-18 overall and 4-8 in conference play with a 72-63 win over rival Loyola Marymount on Saturday.
- Freshman guard Tyrone Shelley scored 17 points and grabbed 12 for his fourth double-double of the season to lead the Waves past LMU.
- Freshman forward Malcolm Thomas had seven points and 11 rebounds against the Lions. It marked the 11th time this season Thomas has reached double-digits in rebounds. The San Diego, CA native leads all freshmen and ranks third in the WCC with 8.8 rpg.
- Thomas is one of the top offensive rebounders in the WCC, ranking second in the league with 3.14 offensive boards per game.
- The Waves travel to San Diego (3/1) and San Francisco (3/3) this week.
Portland Pilots (8-20 / 2-10 WCC)
- The shorthanded Pilots gave No. 24 Gonzaga a scare on Monday night, leading the Zags at the half before the Bulldogs pulled away down the stretch for a 73-51 victory.
- The Pilots played without leading scorer Nik Raivio, who suffered a right knee contusion in practice over the weekend and did not suit up for the game. Raivio, whose brother Derek was the WCC Co-Player of the Year last season for Gonzaga, leads the Pilots and ranks eighth in the conference in scoring with 13.1 ppg.
- Junior guard Walter Thompson provided the Pilots with a big offensive boost off the bench in the first half versus Gonzaga, scoring eight of his 10 points in the period. Thompson knocked down 4-of-5 shots from the field, including 2-for-3 from beyond the arc.
- Portland hosts Santa Clara (3/1) and No. 23 Saint Mary's (3/3) to end the regular season.
Saint Mary's Gaels (24-4 / 11-1 WCC)
- Saint Mary's bounced back from its setback versus Kent State with a 61-54 win over third place San Diego. With the win over the Toreros, the Gaels have guaranteed themselves at least a second place finish in the regular season standings and a bye until the semifinals of the upcoming conference tournament.
- Junior Diamon Simpson continued his stellar play, scoring a team-high 15 points and grabbing 11 rebounds in the win over USD. Last week, Simpson became just the fifth player in school history to score at least 1,000 points and grab 700 rebounds. His 713 career boards ranks sixth on the Gaels' all-time list, while his 1,048 career points is 19th on the school's all-time charts.
- SMC leads the WCC in seven categories (scoring margin, 3-pt FG pct defense, offensive rebounds, blocks, assists, assist-to-turnover ratio, and 3-pt FG), the most in the conference.
- Saint Mary's closes out the regular season at Gonzaga (3/1) and at Portland (3/3).
San Diego Toreros (16-13 / 9-3 WCC)
- The Toreros dropped a tough 61-54 decision at No. 23 Saint Mary's to fall to 16-13 overall and 9-3 in WCC play. The Toreros have already guaranteed themselves a top three finish in the regular season standings and a bye in the conference tournament, held at the Jenny Craig Pavilion. The last time the WCC Tournament was held in San Diego was in 2003, with Toreros earning the league's automatic bid with a 72-63 win over Gonzaga in the championship game.
- Junior guard Brandon Johnson scored a team-high 15 points versus the Gaels. Johnson connected on 3-of-8 from beyond the arc and now leads the WCC with 61 three-point field goals.
- Johnson also leads the WCC in steals with 65. He's looking to become the first Torero since Alex Davis (1996-97) to pace the conference in steals.
- San Diego closes out the regular season by hosting Pepperdine (3/1) and LMU (3/3).
San Francisco Dons (7-20 / 3-9 WCC)
- San Francisco dropped an 87-55 decision to Bay Area rival Santa Clara on Monday to fall to 7-20 overall and 3-9 in conference play.
- Sophomore forward Dior Lowhorn turned in his 15th 20-point game of the season, scoring a game-high 22 points versus Santa Clara. Lowhorn's 15 20-point games is the most in the conference. Lowhorn, who leads the WCC in scoring with 20.6 ppg, is looking to become the first Don to pace the conference in scoring since former USF standout John Cox (1999-05) accomplished the feat during the 2004-05 season.
- Senior Danny Cavic ranks third in the WCC in three-point percentage (.432) and three-point field goals made (51).
- San Francisco closes out the regular season at home as the Dons host Loyola Marymount (3/1) and Pepperdine (3/3) this week.
Santa Clara Broncos (14-13 / 6-6 WCC)
- Santa Clara improved to 14-13 overall and evened its conference record at 6-6 with an 87-55 win over Bay Area rival San Francisco on Monday.
- Santa Clara can clinch a top four finish in the final regular season standings with one win in its last two games or a loss by Pepperdine in one of its final two games. A fourth place finish in the regular season standings would give the Broncos a first round bye in the WCC Tournament.
- Senior Brody Angley handed out 10 assists against USF to give him 495 career assists. With just five more assists, Angley will become just the third player in Santa Clara history to hand out 500 or more assists.
- Junior John Bryant notched his WCC-leading 14th double-double in the win over USF.
- Santa Clara travels to Portland (3/1) and No. 24 Gonzaga (3/3) to close out the season.