Saint Mary's vs. Gonzaga highlighted the first day of WCC action in 2014. That game was as one sided as a battle between days this year that have passed vs. days this year still to come. Yet, it deserved it's own recap. Click right here on this link if you want to read it.
The Tigers visited Portland for their first WCC road game since returning to the conference. The Pilots were not gracious hosts to the newcomers.
Portland was exceptionally well balanced in this one. Three Pilots recorded double-doubles. Thomas van der Mars led the way with 18 points and 13 rebounds, Ryan Nicholas added 17 and 12 and Bryce Pressley chipped in 12 and 10. Somehow, Kevin Bailey managed to end up with 15 points to his name. The bench accounted for just nine points, but they did so on 57% shooting from the field.
Pacific had a terrible shooting night, connecting on just 33% of their shots. Couple that with the way the Pilots were crashing the boards and it's pretty clear how this final score came to be. An 0-3 start is likely for the 9-4 Tigers, as a Saturday night date with Gonzaga is looming.
The Waves, fresh off a three pointer fueled win over BYU, showed they're no one trick pony against the Broncos. 6-9 senior forward Brendan Lane put up 26 points, 17 rebounds and 4 blocks in the win over Santa Clara. Malcolm Brooks continued his hot shooting from deep (six of nine vs. BYU, 43.1% this season), connecting on three of four attempts from behind the arc.
This is a young team that nobody expected to be performing this well. After all, they were dead last in the WCC preseason coaches poll. Now they're 3-0 with a journeyman leader in Brendan Lane who is thriving in his new home.
Santa Clara, like Pepperdine, is outperforming expectations. Just, not as much. Also, like the Waves, they're young. Freshman Jared Brownridge (14.9 PPG) had 18 points and six assists with no turnovers.
I've yet to figure these two teams out. This game did absolutely nothing to help me do so.
No WCC team has gone to Gonzaga since the opening of the McCarthey Athletic Center and scored fewer points than San Francisco did on Monday. The Dons bounced back from their 41 point output by jumping on the Lions from the opening tip. By the first media timeout they owned a ten point advantage.
LMU's star senior, Anthony Ireland, had 12 of his 18 points in the second half. Actually, the first 13 minutes of the second half. He did all he could to pull the Lions back into the game but the Dons maintained roughly a 20 point lead. With 7:04 left in the game, Ireland came out of the game for good. Head coach Max Good effectively waived the white flag. That's not like him. But, like I said, this game didn't clear anything up about these two.
Well, maybe it did with the Dons. They seem to be fairing well without retired point guard Cody Doolin. Sophomore Avry Holmes has stepped into a larger role since his departure. Holmes' 16 points tonight were second on the team, behind only all-WCC senior Cole Dickerson.