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WCC Thursday Night Recap 1/16/14

Do you live on the West Coast? Statistically, probably not. So for all of you who don't stay up late enough or live in the right TV market to catch West Coast Conference action, we've got you covered. Disclaimer: this is not a healthy replacement for live, visual consumption of WCC games.

The Pilots held off LMU to keep their roll going.
The Pilots held off LMU to keep their roll going.
Mike Carter-USA TODAY Sports

The preseason coaches poll had BYU finishing in second place. That's exactly where the Cougars sit now, despite a disastrous 0-2 start to conference play.

Doctor Geeves wrote a full recap of the Cougars gradual throttling of San Fran, so I won't go into detail here.

Gonzaga and Pepperdine met in Malibu with first place on the line. The Waves were hoping to exploit the Zags just as Portland did last Thursday. The Zags were hoping to make a statement that their loss to Portland was a fluke, not a blueprint for other teams. Gonzaga was much more successful than Pepperdine.

Coming off last week's season defining victory over Gonzaga, Portland traveled to Los Angeles to take on the Lions of LMU. The Pilots were in control but the Lions tried their best to make it interesting.

Fantastic freshman Evan Payne scored 10 points for the Lions in the first half. He was the main reason the Lions, which shot just 32% from the field in the game, managed to remain close. The Lions only managed to take one lead during the half, 24-23 at the 6:43 mark, but they never let the Pilots get out of reach.

Then the second half happened and Portland pulled away. Balanced offense led Pilots to multiple 14 point cushions. Four players scored in double figures, led by Bobby Sharp's 14 points and Ryan Nicholas' double double of 12 and 10. In addition, each of the ten Pilots to see the floor scored at least two points.

This may well have been the best game of the night, so of course it was the only WCC game not televised. An underachieving San Diego team visited the overachieving Broncos of Santa Clara. After 40 minutes of back and forth basketball, it's clear these teams are on the same level.

Santa Clara did not trail for the first 24:57 of the game, but also never managed to pull ahead by more than seven points. Jared Brownridge continued his successful first season, scoring 11 points on 4-5 shooting (3-4 from three). The Broncos also managed to control super-scorer Johnny Dee, who had just two points on 1-4 shooting in 17 minutes.

The second half was a different story. San Diego got hot, shooting 62% from the floor and going six of eight from beyond the arc. Duda Sanadze scored 15 points in the half and Dennis Kramer added 10 on a perfect 4-4 from the field (2-2 from three). For his part, Johnny Dee contributed six points to finish well below his average of 17 per game.

Lead changes dominated the middle of the second half before the Toreros' hot shooting pushed them out to a comfortable lead. In the final minute, Santa Clara tried to mount a second straight Thursday comeback. Evan Roquemore's end of game three wasn't true, and the rally fell short.