March 1, 2008
Gonzaga - 88
Saint Mary's - 76
SPOKANE, Wash. (AP) - Jeremy Pargo scored all 18 of his points in the second half and No. 24 Gonzaga beat No. 25 Saint Mary's 88-76 on Saturday night to break a tie for first place in the West Coast Conference.
Gonzaga avenged its only league loss this season and also won the first matchup between two ranked WCC teams in the league's 55-year history.
Matt Bouldin led Gonzaga (23-6, 12-1 WCC) with 21 points as the Bulldogs won for the 13th time in the past 16 games. The losses were to No. 1 Tennessee, No. 2 Memphis and Saint Mary's.
Daimon Simpson led Saint Mary's (24-5, 11-2) with 25 points, while Patrick Mills added 20.
Gonzaga is in first place heading into the final regular season games Monday. The regular season champion gets the top seed in next week's league tournament in San Diego, but both teams are already guaranteed a bye all the way to the tournament semifinals.
In a fast-paced game with 17 lead changes, the Gaels were undone by making only three of their first 16 3-point attempts, although they recovered to finish 7-of-23.
Gonzaga shot 51 percent in the game, making 8-of-15 3-pointers to maintain the 10-point lead they built during a run midway through the second half.
Eight lead changes in the opening five minutes of the second half left Saint Mary's with a 48-47 lead. Then Bouldin and Pargo hit consecutive 3-pointers, Josh Heytvelt completed a three-point play and Pargo made a layup for an 11-0 run that opened a 58-48 lead for Gonzaga with 13:24 left.
After Mills' 3-pointer closed the Saint Mary's deficit to 61-55, Pargo hit a pair of short jumpers to rebuild a 65-55 lead.
Tron Smith hit a 3-pointer and two free throws to cut Gonzaga's lead to 77-71 with 3 minutes left. But Pargo hit a pair of free throws and a field goal and Abdullahi Kuso had a stuff to rebuild the lead to 83-73.
In the first, Simpson scored 10 of Saint Mary's first 12 points, but Gonzaga bolted to a 20-12 lead. Gonzaga hit 3-pointers on three straight possessions for a 33-24 lead.
Then Saint Mary's went on a 10-0 run, with Omar Samhan's short jumper giving the Gaels a 34-33 lead with 1:21 left.
Bouldin's 3-pointer in the final seconds lifted Gonzaga to a 38-36 halftime lead, and gave him 14 points in the half.
Saint Mary's won the first game, 89-85 in overtime, on Feb. 4 in Moraga, Calif.
Gonzaga has won seven straight WCC titles and made nine straight trips to the NCAA tournament. Saint Mary's last made the NCAAs as an at-large team in 2005, and last won a league title in 1997, which it shared with Santa Clara.
Gonzaga is 51-2 at home since the McCarthey Athletic Center opened in 2004.
Portland - 64
Santa Clara - 58
PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) - Center Luke Sikma came off the bench to score nine points, including a clutch 3-pointer late in the second half, as Portland held off a strong Santa Clara rally for a 64-58 victory in West Coast Conference action on Saturday.
The Pilots (9-20, 3-10) seemingly had the game in control with a 56-46 lead with 7:47 remaining. But the Broncos (14-14, 6-7) scored 12 unanswered points over the next five minutes, a string that was capped by Mitch Henke's driving basket, to take a 58-56 lead with 2:40 left.
It was the last time Santa Clara scored.
Portland then turned to Sikma, who started for most of the season but has now become an effective player off the bench. He was scoreless for the first 18 minutes of the second half before hitting his 3-pointer that gave Portland the lead for good at 59-58 with 1:47 left.
A minute later, Taishi Ito pushed Portland's lead to 61-58 with a pair of free throws, then Sherrard Watson hit one of two foul shots 10 seconds later to make it 62-58. After a miss at the other end, Santa Clara was forced to foul and Sikma hit two more free throws to account for the final score.
In addition to his nine points, Sikma had a game-high 10 rebounds. Robin Smeulders led the Pilots with 12 points, and Jared Stohl added 11 points for the winners. Henke led all scorers with 21 points and Ben Dowdell added 15 for the Broncos.
Santa Clara managed to hang close by making 25 of 36 attempts from the foul line while Portland was just 10 of 14. But the Broncos shot just 32.6 percent from the field while Portland made 46.9 percent of its attempts.
San Diego - 77
Pepperdine - 73
SAN DIEGO (AP) - Trumaine Johnson scored a career-high 22 points and Brandon Johnson added 21 to lead San Diego to a 77-73 win over Pepperdine on Saturday night.
Trumaine Johnson, a freshman, scored 14 of his points in the first half when San Diego (17-13, 10-3 West Coast) trailed 38-37 at halftime. It was only the fourth time in 17 games this season that the Toreros came back to win after they trailed at the half.
Freshman Tyrone Shelley led Pepperdine (10-19, 4-9 WCC) with 21 points. Mike Hornbuckle added 16 points, making 4-of-6 shots from 3-point range, for the Waves, who have lost seven straight to San Diego.
The Toreros made 61.1 percent of their shots from the field, including shooting 65.4 percent in the second half. The Johnsons, no relations, combined to make 18 of 26 shots and each player hit three 3-pointers.
Pepperdine trailed by eight points with 1:10 remaining before Hornbuckle hit a 3-pointer with 56.7 seconds left. Ryan Holmes then made a steal, scored on a lay-up and was fouled with 17.9 seconds left. His free throw pulled Pepperdine to within 75-73.
De'Jon Jackson then hit two free throws for the final two points of the game.
San Francisco - 88
Loyola Marymount - 79
San Francisco, CA - Vince Polakovic scored a career high 23 points to lead San Francisco to a 88-79 win over Loyola Marymount on Saturday.
San Francisco (8-20, 4-9 West Coast) won its second straight home game and tow of three overall. Dior Lowhorn, the leading scorer in the West Coast Conference also scored in 23 points and grabbed 11 rebounds for the Dons in the victory. It was the 16th time this season Lowhorn has registered at least 20 points in a contest and the double-double was the team-leading fourth of the season.
It was win no. 802 for veteran coach Eddie Sutton whose record with San Francisco is 4-12 since he replaced Jessie Evans on December 26. Sutton is two wins ahead of Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski who became the Sixth Division I coach to reach 800 victories when Duke defeated North Carolina State.
Orlando Johnson had 18 points and six rebounds for Loyola Marymount. (5-24, 2-11) The Lions are in last place in the conference having lost their last six games.
The game was tied at 66-66 when the Dons went on an 8-0 run. Polakovic drained a 3-pointer with 6:21 remaining. Manny Quezada added another from long range and Polakovic made a pair of free throws with 3:39 remaining. Quezada finished with 21 points and five assists.
Lowhorn's fast-break dunk again made it an eight point lead when Orlando Johnson answered with a layup for Loyola Marymount. Johnson made one free throw and the lead was 78-73 with 1:08 to go. It was still a five point lead when Quezada made two foul shots for a seven point lead with 35 seconds remaining. Loyola Marymount missed with consecutive airballs and Polakovic sealed the win with two more from the line.
The Dons would extend their lead to 13 points early in the second half but the Lions would respond with a 10-1 run to make it a four point game.
San Francisco could not pull away and Loyola Marymount still trailed by four with 10 minutes remaining. After a long basket by Tim Diederichs, the lead was only two points for the Dons with 8:39 to play.
Loyola Marymount trailed by three points when San Francisco went on a 6-0 run to take a nine point lead late in the first half and took a 45-36 lead into the locker room at the break.
San Francisco concludes its regular season at home against Pepperdine on Monday night. USF will celebrate the careers of seniors Danny Cavic and Vince Polakovic in a pregame ceremony prior to the 7:00 PM tip.