BYU was out for revenge against a Waves squad that sent them to 0-2 in WCC play less than two weeks ago. The Waves used the three ball to down BYU in their first meeting. Equally adept in the paint, Pepperdine figured to be more interior-minded tonight as the Cougars were without starting center Eric Mika due to a bruised hip. However, Pepperdine was also without their starting center (and leading scorer), Brendan Lane who was out with a knee injury. Fellow starter Malcolm Brooks, who led the three point attack in the last meeting, was also out.
The Cougars took advantage of the depleted Waves down low, to the tune of a 34-22 victory in points in the paint.
Kyle Collinsworth's quest for a triple-double was the story of the game. It has been over 25 years since a Cougar recorded a triple-double. With 15 points, ten rebounds and nine assists in the final minutes, Collinsworth seemed poised to pull it off. Unfortunately, since the Waves were down ten and fouling, he didn't get his chance.
The Gaels' implosion continues. After busting out to a 9-0 start, tied for their best ever, they went 0-3 a the Diamond Head Classic and now own a 2-2 conference record.
Santa Clara looked like a 9-8 team for most of the first half. The Broncos were struggling to score while also struggling to defend. They posted just 20 points in the first half, but got hot late and kept the momentum rolling in the second half. In the second, it took less than five minutes for the Broncos to score 14 points and pull even with the Gaels. It was a back and forth affair from there.
Saint Mary's had the, 55-54 lead with 20 seconds remaining. At that point the teams began the excruciating process of calling timeouts. Whatever Kerry Keating said in his timeout worked, as Jared Brownridge (23 points) hit a three with two seconds left to give him a three point cushion over teammate Brandon Clark for the game high. More importantly, he gave the Broncos a two point victory over the Gaels.
San Diego entered this game winless in WCC play at 0-3. The Toreros were picked to finish fifth in conference play, one place above the Lions. As the season has progressed it's been the Lions that have been playing like the better team. That was the case in the first half. By the end of the game, the Toreros had vindicated the coaches who put them ahead of the Lions.
Johnny Dee, who averages 17.3 points per game, was held to just three points tonight. He played just 20 minutes due to a stomach illness. Fellow junior and backcourt mate Chirstopher Anderson made up for Dee's absence with 20 points on 9-15 shooting. Duda Sanadze added 22 points, a career high, of which 21 came in the second half comeback.
The Lions started WCC play with a win over BYU, which was followed by a win over San Diego. They've not won since and now are looking back at a three game losing streak. The Toreros, who sit unexpectedly near the bottom of the WCC standings, are no longer winless.
The Tigers return to the WCC came with no housewarming gift. At 0-4, though still above .500 on the season, haven't yet acclimated to their new league.
Pacific played its game, balanced scoring offense from the starters, once again. But San Francisco did the same, and the Dons' game proved to be superior. Cole Dickerson came close to a double-double with 14 points and eight rebounds while Matt Glover and Avry Holmes forced the Tigers defense to guard the perimeter. Glover and Holmes, 16 and 18 points respectively, combined to go four of five from long range.
Pacific was the surprise WCC team during non-conference play, with a 9-2 record. They're playing more like expected --seventh in the preseason coaches poll-- now that conference play has started. San Francisco on the other hand, entered the season with expectations. The loss of Cody Doolin a few games into the season put a damper on things (I gave up on the Dons), but they now sit alongside Gonzaga atop the standings.
If you're a child in elementary school, Gonzaga likely hadn't lost to Portland in your lifetime before tonight. A brutal combination of exceptional basketball from the Pilots and lazy play from the Zags resulted in yet another case of WCC cannibalism. I wrote a recap of the game and you should read it by clicking on these words.