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WCC Men's Basketball Weekly Notes

March 3, 2008

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GONZAGA CLINCHES A SHARE OF WCC TITLE

With its 88-76 win versus Saint Mary's on Saturday, Gonzaga improved to 12-1 in WCC play, and with just one game remaining, clinched at least a share of the conference regular season title. The Zags, who have won eight straight WCC regular season crowns and 10 out of the last 11 years, can claim the title outright with a win over Santa Clara tonight.

WCC TEAMS CLOSE OUT THE REGULAR SEASON TONIGHT

All eight West Coast Conference teams take the court tonight, closing the door on the 2008 regular season. Gonzaga, who has already clinched at least a share of the WCC regular season crown, hosts Santa Clara in the WCC's final Big Monday (ESPN2) showcase of the season. In other action, Saint Mary's travels to Portland, San Diego hosts Loyola Marymount, and San Francisco battles Pepperdine.

TOP FOUR WCC TOURNAMENT SEEDS SET

With just one game remaining, the WCC Tournament bracket is becoming increasingly clear. Gonzaga and Saint Mary's have locked down the No. 1-2 seeds, respectively, and will earn byes until the conference tournament semifinals on Sunday, March 9th. San Diego and Santa Clara have secured the No. 3 and No. 4 seeds, and will have first round byes. Seeds 5-8 are still up in the air, with Pepperdine and San Francisco, which are currently tied for fifth place, going head-to-head this evening.

UPCOMING SCHEDULE

Mar. 3
*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

Mar. 7
WCC Tournament First Round: Game #1 - 6:00 PM
WCC Tournament First Round: Game #2 - 8:00 PM

Mar. 8
WCC Tournament Quarterfinals: Game #1 - 6:00 PM
WCC Tournament Quarterfinals: Game #2 - 8:00 PM

Mar. 9
WCC Tournament Semifinals: Game #1 - 6:30 PM $
WCC Tournament Semifinals: Game #2 - 8:30 PM $

Mar. 10
WCC Tournament Championship Game - 6:00 PM %

* Denotes WCC games; ! Televised on CSN; ^ Game starts approximately 30 min. after the conclusion of game #1; $ Televised on ESPN2; % Televised on ESPN; All times PST

WCC TEAM NOTES

Gonzaga Bulldogs (23-6 / 12-1 WCC)
- The Bulldogs defeated Saint Mary's, 88-76, in a matchup of WCC leaders on Saturday.

- With the win over Saint Mary's, Gonzaga improved to 12-1 in WCC play and clinched at least a share of the regular season title, its eighth consecutive league crown and 10th in the last 11 seasons. The Zags have also locked up the No. 1 seed in the upcoming WCC Tournament.

- With a 23-6 record, Gonzaga has won 20 games for the 11th straight season and for the 14th time in the last 15 seasons. The Zags have also reached double-digit wins in WCC play for the 11th straight year and for the 12th time in the last 13 campaigns.

- Junior Jeremy Pargo scored all 18 of his points in the second half versus Saint Mary's.

- The Zags look to clinch the WCC title outright when they host SCU (3/3) on Monday.

Loyola Marymount Lions (5-24 / 2-11 WCC)
- Loyola Marymount fell to San Francisco, 88-79, on Saturday.

- Four Lions scored in double figures versus San Francisco, led by freshman Orlando Johnson with 17 points and six rebounds. Junior Quentin Turner had his second straight double figure game with 15 while freshman Tim Diederichs added 15 and sophomore Shawn Deadwiler contributed 11. Johnson, who is just the sixth freshman in LMU history to score more than 300 points in his first season, has scored 345 points this season and needs just 35 more points to pass Luther Philyaw (1973 - 379 points) and become LMU's all-time freshman scoring leader.

- Diederichs has started all 29 games this season for the Lions. He is on the verge of becoming the only freshman in LMU history to start every single game of his rookie season.

- Loyola Marymount looks to close out the regular season on a high note as they travel to San Diego (3/3) to battle the Toreros on ESPNU.

Pepperdine Waves (10-19 / 4-9 WCC)
- The Waves dropped a tough 77-73 decision at San Diego on Saturday to fall to 10-19 overall and 4-9 in WCC play.

- Freshman forward Malcolm Thomas has 53 blocked shots, which ranks second most in the WCC. Thomas' 53 blocks is already a Pepperdine freshman record and is seventh on Waves' single-season records list

- Junior guard Rico Tucker ranks second in the WCC with 65 steals, which is fifth on the Waves' single-season records list.

- Freshmen are providing most of the Waves' scoring, with 62.4 percent of the points thus far. They have scored at least half of the Waves' points in 26 of 29 games.

- The Waves close out the regular season at San Francisco (3/3) on Monday.

Portland Pilots (9-20 / 3-10 WCC)
- The Pilots earned their third conference win of the season, downing Santa Clara, 64-58, on Saturday.

- Sophomore forward Robin Smeulders led Portland with 12 points, while freshman guard Jared Stohl added 11 to pace the Pilots. Smeulders has now led the Pilots in scoring eight times this season, including in the last two games.

- Freshman forward Luke Sikma scored nine points, grabbed a game-high 10 rebounds, and handed out a game-best five assists versus Santa Clara. Sikma ranks second among WCC freshmen and fifth overall in rebounding with 7.4 rpg.

- Stohl leads the WCC in three-pointers made during conference play (30).

- Portland hosts Saint Mary's (3/3) to end the regular season.

Saint Mary's Gaels (24-5 / 11-2 WCC)
- Saint Mary's fell to Gonzaga, 88-76, to fall to 24-5 overall and 11-2 in WCC play. Saint Mary's has locked up the No. 2 seed in the upcoming WCC Tournament and will receive a bye until the semifinals on March 9th.

- Junior Diamon Simpson continued his stellar play, scoring a game-high 25 points and grabbing a game-best nine rebounds versus Gonzaga. Last week, Simpson became just the fifth player in school history to score at least 1,000 points and grab 700 rebounds. His 722 career boards ranks sixth on the Gaels' all-time list, while his 1,073 career points is 18th on the school's all-time charts.

- The Gaels blocked eight shots versus Gonzaga to up their WCC-leading total to 157, ranking them 21st in the nation.

- Saint Mary's closes out the regular season at Portland (3/3) on Monday.

San Diego Toreros (17-13 / 10-3 WCC)
- The Toreros defeated Pepperdine, 77-73, to improve to 17-13 overall and 10-3 in WCC play. The Toreros have locked up the No. 3 seed 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.

- Freshman guard Trumaine Johnson scored a career-high 22 points in the Toreros' win over Pepperdine, while junior guard Brandon Johnson added 21 points.

- Junior Gyno Pomare (1,198 points and 632 rebounds) is one basket shy of becoming the third Torero since the program jumped to NCAA Division I status in 1979-80, to record 1,200 points and grab 600 rebounds.

- San Diego closes out the regular season by hosting Loyola Marymount (3/3).

San Francisco Dons (8-20 / 4-9 WCC)
- San Francisco earned its fourth conference win of the season, defeating Loyola Marymount, 88-79, on Saturday.

- Sophomore forward Dior Lowhorn tossed in 23 points and grabbed a game-high 11 rebounds versus LMU. Lowhorn has scored at least 20 points in 16-of-28 games and has registered 19 points six times. On the year, Lowhorn averages a team and WCC-high 20.6 ppg.

- Senior forward Vince Polakovic added a career-high 23 points in the Dons' win over LMU, while junior Manny Quezada chipped in 21 points and handed out five assists. Polakovic was forced to sit out the Dons' first 24 games by the NCAA. In four games back, he is averaging 17.3 ppg and 5.0 rpg, while shooting 55.8 percent from the field.

- San Francisco closes out the regular season at home versus Pepperdine (3/3) in a matchup between teams tied for fifth place in the conference standings.

Santa Clara Broncos (14-14 / 6-7 WCC)
- Santa Clara fell to 14-14 on the season and 6-7 in WCC play with a 64-58 setback at Portland on Saturday. Santa Clara still clinched a fourth place finish in the regular season standings, giving the Broncos a first round bye in the WCC Tournament.

- Senior Mitch Henke tied his season high with 21 points against Portland. Henke shot 6-for-9 from the floor and 4-of-6 from beyond the three-point line.

- Freshman Ben Dowdell tossed in 15 points versus Portland. Dowdell, who played at the Australian Institute of Sport (AIS) with Saint Mary's standout Patrick Mills, is one of the top freshmen in the conference, is averaging 9.7 ppg and 3.8 rpg in WCC games, while shooting 52.6 percent from the floor.

- Santa Clara travels to No. 24 Gonzaga (3/3) to close out the season.