March 1, 2006
WCC Tournament Begins This Friday
With the regular season in the books, WCC teams now turn their attention to the conference tournament, which begins on Friday, March 3 at Gonzaga University's McCarthey Athletic Center. Gonzaga secured the top seed, posting a perfect 14-0 record in WCC play for the second time in the last three seasons. LMU is the No. 2 seed followed by Saint Mary's with the No. 3 seed and San Francisco with the No. 4 seed. Rounding out this year's bracket is San Diego at No. 5, Santa Clara at No. 6, Portland at No. 7 and Pepperdine at No. 8.
FRIDAY, MARCH 3 - FIRST ROUND
No. 5 San Diego vs. No. 8 Pepperdine - 6:00 PM
No. 6 Santa Clara vs. No. 7 Portland - 30 min. after game 1
SATURDAY, MARCH 4 - QUARTERFINALS
No. 5/No. 8 winner vs. No. 4 San Francisco - 6:00 PM
No. 6/No. 7 winner vs. No. 3 Saint Mary's - 30 min. after game 1
SUNDAY, MARCH 5 - SEMIFINALS (Both Games On ESPN2)
Quarterfinal No. 1 winner vs. No. 1 Gonzaga - 5:00 PM
Quarterfinal No. 2 winner vs. No. 2 Loyola Marymount - 7:00 PM
MONDAY, MARCH 6 - FINAL (On ESPN)
Championship Game - 6:00 PM
WCC Player of the Week: J.P. Batista, Gonzaga
Gonzaga's J.P. Batista is this week's WCC Player of the Week for his performance in the Zags season-ending sweep of San Diego and San Francisco. Batista was a force in the paint and on the boards, posting a pair of double-doubles. Versus San Diego, Batista poured in 26 points and hauled in 11 rebounds. He followed that up with 17 points and 11 rebounds as the Zags put the finishing touches on a perfect 14-0 WCC season with a 75-72 win over USF. On the week, he averaged 21.5 ppg to go along with 11.0 rpg, while shooting .692 from the field.
WCC Team Notes
Gonzaga Bulldogs (25-3 / 14-0 WCC)
- Gonzaga capped a perfect WCC season with a weekend sweep of San Diego (75-59) and San Francisco (75-72).
- The regular season title is the Zags' record sixth consecutive league crown, breaking the previous record of five straight held by San Francisco (1977-1981).
- Gonzaga is 40-2 in the WCC the past three seasons, with both losses last year. The last team other than Gonzaga to go undefeated in the conference was Pepperdine in 1982 and 1992.
- Junior Adam Morrison is the sixth consecutive Bulldog to earn WCC Player of the Year honors. Morrison has scored 1,747 career points, ranking fourth on the Bulldogs' all-time scoring charts.
- Gonzaga, the No. 1 seed, hosts the WCC Tournament for the first time in school history.
Loyola Marymount Lions (11-17 / 8-6 WCC)
- The Lions dropped their final two games of the season, falling to Santa Clara, 81-70, and Saint Mary's 82-70.
- Despite ending the regular season on a four-game skid, the Lions 8-2 WCC start secured a second place finish in the regular season standings and a No. 2 seed in the conference tournament. Under first-year head coach Rodney Tention, it is the best finish in WCC play since 8-6 records in 1992 and 1996.
- Senior Wes Wardrop and juniors Matthew Knight and Brandon Worthy are the only trio of players in the WCC to rank in the top-15 in scoring and are the only three teammates to earn All-WCC honors this season. Gonzaga was the only other squad with more than one selection.
- With the No. 2 seed in the WCC Tournament, the Lions will have a bye until the semifinals on March 5th.
Pepperdine Waves (7-19 / 3-11 WCC)
- Pepperdine dropped its final two games of the regular season, falling 76-66 at Saint Mary's before suffering a 62-56 setback versus Santa Clara.
- Senior forward Tashaan Forehan-Kelly received honorable mention All-WCC honors and rookie guard Michael Gerrity was named to the All-Freshman team. Forehan-Kelly led the Waves in scoring with 15.3 points a contest, including 16.5 points in WCC action. Gerrity, who immediately stepped into the role of Pepperdine's point guard enjoyed an impressive rookie season as he averaged 14.8 points, 2.8 rebounds, 3.5 assists and 1.9 steals a contest.
- This season marked the first time since the 1960-61 campaign that Pepperdine did not have a player named to the first or second all-conference team. The last time Pepperdine did not have a player named to the first team was in 1978.
- The Waves are the No. 8 seed in the WCC Tourney and will play No. 5 USD on Friday.
Portland Pilots (11-17 / 5-9 WCC)
- The Pilots earned a split on their final weekend of conference play, bouncing back from a 74-72 overtime loss to USF to defeat San Diego, 90-72.
- The Pilots won three of their last four games to finish in a tie for sixth place with Santa Clara in the final regular season standings.
- Senior Pooh Jeter led the Pilots with 23 points and moved into second place on Portland's all-time scroing chart with 1,682 career points. Jeter and fellow senior Donald Wilson are the second highest scoring teammates in UP history and also the first 1,000-point teammates since 1980.
- Jeter and senior backcourt mate Darren Cooper earned All-WCC honors as Jeter was named to the all-conference first team, while Cooper was named honorable mention.
- No. 7 seeded UP takes on No. 6 SCU on Friday in the first round of the WCC Tournament.
Saint Mary's Gaels (16-11 / 8-6 WCC)
- The Gaels closed out the regular season with a 76-66 win over Pepperdine and an 82-70 win over Loyola Marymount.
- The Gaels have won six straight and eight of nine with the only loss coming in the final second at league champion Gonzaga to end the regular season in a tie for second place with Loyola Marymount.
- Two SMC players earned All-WCC honors this season in senior forward Daniel Kickert and freshman forward Diamon Simpson. Kickert, who earned his third straight All-WCC first team honor, is SMC's all-time leading scorer with 1,858 career points, the most among active WCC players. Simpson, who was named to the WCC all-freshmen team, set an SMC freshman record with 40 blocks, which currently ranks as the second most blocks in a single season by a Gael.
- With the No. 3 seed, the Gaels receive a first round bye in the WCC Tournament.
San Diego Toreros (16-11 / 6-8 WCC)
- The Toreros suffered a pair of losses to close out the regular season, falling at Gonzaga, 75-59, before dropping a 90-72 decision at Portland.
- Senior Nick Lewis was named to the All-WCC first team, while senior Corey Belser and junior Ross DeRogatis were named honorable mention. Belser was also tabbed as the WCC Defensive Player of the Year, becoming the first Torero to garner the conference's top defensive honor.
- The Toreros were the only team to have two players named to the WCC all-freshmen squad in center Gyno Pomare and point guard Brandon Johnson. Pomare averaged 10.5 ppg and 5.3 rpg, while leading the WCC in field goal percentage (.630). Johnson averaged 8.7 ppg and 4.11 assists, while also finishing third overall in assist-to-turnover ratio (+1.56).
- San Diego is the No. 5 seed in the WCC Tournament and will square-off with No. 8 Pepperdine in the first round on Friday.
San Francisco Dons (11-16 / 6-8 WCC)
- San Francisco earned a 74-72 overtime win against Portland before falling at the buzzer versus Gonzaga, 75-72.
- The Dons earned the No. 4 seed in the upcoming WCC Tournament, giving them a first round bye.
- Two USF players earned All-WCC honors in juniors Armondo Surratt and Alan Wiggins, Jr. Surratt was named to the All-WCC first team and garnered Newcomer of the Year honors. Wiggins, Jr. was named All-WCC honorable mention.
- Surratt, a transfer from the University of Miami, paced the Dons with 14.5 ppg and led the WCC in assists with 5.11 apg.
- USF receives a first round bye and will face the USD/Pepperdine winner on Saturday.
Santa Clara Broncos (12-15 / 5-9 WCC)
- The Broncos wrapped up the regular season with an 81-70 win over Loyola Marymount and a 62-56 win over Pepperdine.
- Senior forward Travis Niesen was named to the All-WCC first team. Niesen, who was an honorable mention All-WCC selection as a junior last season, has moved into 14th-place on Santa Clara's all-time scoring list with 1,350 points heading into Friday's WCC Tournament first round game against the University of Portland. He is six points shy of Jens Gordon and 43 points away from Mike Gervasoni's 12th-place 1,393.
- Freshman center John Bryant, a native of San Pablo, Calif., who became the program's all-time freshman leader in blocked shots, was honored as a member of the league's all-freshman team.
- SCU will take on No. 7 seeded Portland in the first round on Friday.