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WCC Men's Basketball Weekly Notes

Dec. 11, 2007

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WCC PLAYER OF THE WEEK: Saint Mary's Tron Smith Earns Weekly Honor
Smith came off the bench to score a game-high 20 points in the Gaels' 69-64 win over San Diego State in the John Wooden Classic. Smith, who's 20 points marked a season-high, also added five rebounds, two assists, and two steals. The win kept the Gaels unbeaten and improved their record to 7-0. Saint Mary's is off to its best start since opening the 1988-89 season with a 9-0 record. The Gaels also moved into the top 25, checking in at No. 24 in both the AP and the ESPN/USA Today Coaches top 25 polls.

UPCOMING SCHEDULE

Dec. 11
Saint Mary's at Southern Illinois - 5:00 PM

Dec. 12
San Diego at Nevada - 7:00 PM
Pacific at Santa Clara - 7:00 PM

Dec. 15
Stephen F. Austin at San Diego - 1:00 PM
Portland at Washington - 3:00 PM
Pepperdine at BYU - 6:00 PM
Loyola Marymount at UC Riverside - 7:00 PM
San Francisco at UC Irvine - 7:00 PM

AROUND THE WCC

Two WCC Teams Ranked In the Top 25
For the first time in 34 years, two West Coast Conference men's basketball teams are ranked in the top 25 at the same time. The undefeated Saint Mary's Gaels, coming off of a 69-64 win over San Diego State, join the Gonzaga Bulldogs in both the Associated Press and the ESPN/USA Today Coaches top 25 polls. The Gaels enter this week's rankings at No. 24 in both polls, while the Zags check in at No. 19 in the AP poll and No. 23 in the Coaches poll. The last time that the WCC had two teams ranked at the same time in the top 25 was during the 1973-74 season. San Francisco and UNLV, then a member of the WCC, formerly known as the West Coast Athletic Conference (WCAC), were ranked in the top-25 at the same time. Both San Francisco and UNLV earned preseason rankings and both were ranked in the AP's December 4, 1973 poll.

Saint Mary's No. 1 In The RPI; WCC Ranked No. 9
The undefeated Saint Mary's Gaels enter the week ranked No. 1 in the RPI, according to the Collegiate Basketball News RPI Report. The Gaels are off to their best start since the 1988-89 season when the team posted a 9-0 record to open the year. The Gaels have already notched some very impressive non-conference wins. The Gaels' resume includes wins over then-No. 11 Oregon (99-87), San Diego State (69-64), Seton Hall (85-70), and Drake (72-66). Led by Saint Mary's, the WCC is ranked No. 9 in the latest RPI report. The No. 9 ranking marks the fourth consecutive season that the WCC has been ranked in the top 10 of the RPI, including a conference-best No. 7 ranking to end the 2004-05 season.

WCC TEAM NOTES

Gonzaga Bulldogs (8-2 / 0-0 WCC)
- The Zags fell to No. 6 Washington State, 51-47, before bouncing back to take an 85-59 decision versus Cal State Northridge.

- Senior forward David Pendergraft tossed in a game-high 15 points versus the Cougars, knocking down 3-for-4 from the three-point line. Pendergraft leads the Zags in three-point accuracy with a .464 clip.

- Sophomore guard Matt Bouldin bounced back from a scoreless outing against WSU to drop in 18 points and grab six boards versus Cal State Northridge. Bouldin leads the Zags in scoring at 13.3 ppg.

- Freshman Austin Daye blocked five shots last week to up his WCC-leading total to 22.

- The Zags have the week off before hosting Northern Colorado (12/17) next Monday.

Loyola Marymount Lions (3-7 / 0-0 WCC)
- The Lions split their games last week, falling to Long Beach State, 77-52, before bouncing back to defeat Boise State, 76-74.

- Junior walk-on Corey Counts, who earned his first start of the season versus Boise State, and just the second of his career, hit a bank three-pointer with 17.1 seconds in regulation to lift the Lions past the Broncos. Counts, who scored nine points in the win over the Broncos, is the Lions most accurate three-point shooter at .435 percent from beyond the arc.

- Freshman guard Orlando Johnson notched his first career double-double in the Lions' win over Boise State with 16 points and 11 rebounds. Johnson, who also added six assists, is one of the top freshmen in the WCC, leading the Lions in scoring with 11.5 ppg, while ranking second on the team in rebounding with 5.2 rpg.

- The Lions travel to UC Riverside (12/15) for their lone game this week.

Pepperdine Waves (5-6 / 0-0 WCC)
- The Waves fell to UC Santa Barbara, 68-57, before bouncing back to defeat Pacific, 83-65. Pepperdine has now won five of its last seven games.

- Freshman forward Malcolm Thomas and freshman guard Tyrone Shelley, high school teammates at Crawford HS in San Diego, scored nearly half the Waves' points (41 of 83) against UOP. Thomas scored 21 points on 9-of-13 shooting, which included five dunks. Shelley added 20 points on 7-of-9 shooting. On the season, Shelley (16.7 ppg, 5.9 rpg) and Thomas (14.5 ppg, 9.3 rpg) account for 31.2 ppg and 15.2 rpg.

- Freshman guard Mychel Thompson, son of former NBA standout Mychal Thompson, leads the Waves and ranks second in the conference with 22 made three-pointers, while ranking 10th in the conference in three-point accuracy at .400 percent.

- The Waves travel to BYU (12/15) in their lone game this week.

Portland Pilots (3-6 / 0-0 WCC)
- The Pilots downed Montana, 58-57, in their lone game last week.

- Sophomore point guard Taishi Ito returned to the starting lineup after missing the last four games while in Japan to be with his family after his father passed away last week. Ito played 34 minutes and finished with six points.

- Sophomore Nik Raivio drilled a three-pointer with 5.4 seconds left to lift the Pilots to the win. Raivio, who tossed in a game-high 17 points against Montana, leads the Pilots with 11.2 ppg.

- Freshman Luke Sikma leads the WCC in rebounding with 10.0 rpg. He also ranks in the top 10 in field goal percentage (4th-.569), assists (9th-3.11 apg), steals (7th-1.67 spg), and blocks (6th-1.56 bpg).

- The Pilots travel to Washington (12/15) in their lone game this week.

Saint Mary's Gaels (7-0 / 0-0 WCC)
- Saint Mary's remained unbeaten and improved to 7-0 following a 69-64 win over San Diego State in the John Wooden Classic.

- The Gaels, off to their best start since the 1988-89 campaign when they posted a 9-0 record to open the season, own the No. 1 RPI in the country, according to Collegiate Basketball News. Saint Mary's also earned their first national ranking in 18 years, checking in at No. 24 in both the AP and the ESPN/USA Today Coaches polls.

- Junior forward Diamon Simpson had a double-double versus SDSU with 13 points and a season-high 16 rebounds. Simpson ranks second in the WCC in rebounding with 9.6 rpg.

- Freshman guard Patrick Mills added 15 points on 4-of-6 shooting from beyond the arc.

- The Gaels travel to Southern Illinois (12/11) in their lone game this week.

San Diego Toreros (5-6 / 0-0 WCC)
- San Diego posted a 1-1 record last week, defeating San Jose State, 60-40, before dropping a 57-47 decision at New Mexico.

- Junior guard Brandon Johnson finished with 13 points, 7 rebounds, 6 assists and 6 steals, one shy of school record, in the Toreros' win over SJSU. Johnson now has 313 career assists and is in sole possession of fourth place on the Toreros' all-time assists chart. He needs just 12 more assists to tie Dana White (1997-01) for third place on USD's career list.

- Johnson ranks third in the WCC in scoring with 16.8 ppg and second in steals at 2.45 spg.

- Junior forward Gyno Pomare is just seven rebounds shy of 500 career boards. Pomare needs 48 caroms to move into the 5th spot all-time among USD Division I records (1979-present).

- USD hosts San Jose State (12/5) before traveling to New Mexico (12/8) this weekend.

San Francisco Dons (4-5 / 0-0 WCC)
- The Dons fell to Pacific 84-57, before bouncing back to defeat Weber State, 67-65.

- Freshman guard Myron Strong turned in a standout week for the Dons, dropping in 19 points to go along with five assists versus Pacific before scoring a game-high 16 points on 7-of-13 from the field with seven rebounds, five assists and a pair of steals in the win over Weber State.

- Strong has been one of the most impressive freshmen in the WCC this season, ranking ninth in the conference in scoring (13.7 ppg), fifth in assists (3.67 apg), and third in steals (2.44 spg).

- Sophomore forward Dior Lowhorn continues to pace the conference in scoring with 22.8 ppg. Lowhorn's 22.8 ppg rank him 12th in the nation in scoring average.

- The Dons travel to UC Irvine (12/15) in their lone game this week.

Santa Clara Broncos (6-2 / 0-0 WCC)
- The Broncos downed Bay Area rival San Jose State, 73-63, in their lone game last week.

- Junior center John Bryant notched his third double-double of the season with 21 points and 12 rebounds versus the Spartans. Bryant continues to post impressive numbers, ranking second in the conference in scoring (21.6 ppg), fourth in rebounding (8.8 rpg), first in field goal percentage (.657), and second in blocks (2.25 bpg).

- Bryant is the only player in the country to rank in the national top 20 in scoring and field goal percentage.

- Led by Bryant, the Broncos lead the nation in field goal percentage at .541.

- Santa Clara hosts Pacific (12/12) in its lone game this week.