BYU Cougars (5-2)
Last week: L 92-87 (2OT) vs. San Diego State, W 121-85 vs. Chaminade, L 87-85 (OT) vs. Purdue, W 97-86 vs. Eastern Kentucky
The Cougars made the trip to Lahaina for the Maui Invitational where they were heartbroken with two overtime losses. First, against No. 15 San Diego State in a game that went to double-overtime. Then, after dispatching D-II Chaminade, in just one overtime against Purdue.
Against San Diego State the duo of Tyler Haws and Kyle Collinsworth combined for 47 points in a return to last season's good form. Wake Forest transfer Chase Fischer was the hero against Chaminade, not that there needed be one. He buried 10 of his 13 three point shots with all 30 of his points coming from behind the arc. Haws, who is averaging just over 22 points per game this season, tallied a season high 32 in the loss to Purdue.
A weekend victory over Eastern Kentucky should work wonders for the Cougars' in advance of this week's trip to rival Utah State.
Gonzaga Bulldogs (6-0)
Last week: W 88-76 vs. Georgia, W 73-66 vs. St. John's
The No. 10 ranked Zags traveled east to the Big Apple for the NIT Season Tip-Off and faced their first true tests of the season en route to taking home the tournament championship.
Kyle Wiltjer led the way against Georgia with a career high 32 points. While the Zags got the win they also suffered a major loss. Georgia's Kenny Gaines committed the most obvious flagrant foul I've ever seen deemed to be simply common when he threw a kung-fu knee into the mouth of reserve point guard Josh Perkins, breaking his jaw.
Gonzaga's deep offensive attack returned against St. John's. Four starters scored in double-figures while freshman forward Domantas Sabonis led Gonzaga with 14 points off the bench. Silas Melson made his first appearance as a Bulldog. The freshman guard was going to redshirt until the Perkins injury forced him into action.
Loyola Marymount Lions (3-3)
Last week: W 66-62 vs. UC Riverside, L 80-72 vs. UC Irvine
Sophomore shooting guard Evan Payne totaled 48 points for the Lions last week. 25 of those came against UC Riverside in a game where he shot 5-15 from the field. Payne draws 9.6 fouls per 40 minutes played (fifth best nationally per KenPom) and connected on 21-24 free throw attempts this week, in case you were wondering how he scored that many points while shooting poorly from the field.
Aside from Payne the Lions are a pedestrian at best team on the offensive end — and with an equally inept defense that's a deathwish in the high-octane WCC. However, they may have found something in sophomore guard Matt Hayes. He scored 16 points off the bench against UC Riverside and was rewarded with a starting spot against UC Irvine.
Pacific Tigers (4-3)
Last week: W 71-62 vs. Alaska-Anchroage, L 75-64 vs. Colorado State, W 55-48 vs. Mercer
The Tigers traveled from California north to Anchorage, Alaska for the Great Alaska Shootout. They struggled with the non-Divison-I host Seawolves before pulling out a nine point victory. Dulani Robinson, who scored just two points against Alaska-Anchorage, poured in a career high 26 points in a losing effort against Colorado State. Alec Kobre added 14 in the loss. Those two, both coming off the bench, outscored Pacific's starters 40-24.
Thanks a seven point victory over Mercer the Tigers return to the lower 48 with a winning record. Pacific has yet to win or lose more than one game in a row this season, but now with five winnable games between them and the start of conference play this team that was picked to finish dead last by the WCC coaches may enter league play with a very pretty record.
Pepperdine Waves (3-1)
Last week: L 72-61 at Iowa
The Waves played just one game over the week. But, not to be looked down upon by most other teams which play hefty slates around Thanksgiving, traveled to the Big Ten's Iowa Hawkeye's for their lone contest. Iowa led for the duration but the Waves never let them put the game away, in what is likely the best takeaway for Marty Wilson's staff.
Pepperdine didn't shoot the ball well, from the field or the charity stripe, and only two Waves scored in double-figures. Stacy Davis (13 points, 9 rebounds) fell one board shy of his first double-double of the season.
Portland Pilots (5-1)
Last week: W 64-61 vs. Murray St., W 71-59 vs. Drake, L 70-55 vs. Valparaiso
The Pilots spent the weekend in Nashville, Tenn., for the Challenge in Music City. Portland and Valparaiso were scheduled to play each other on the final day of the round-robin tournament. Since both teams defeated Murray St. and Drake the schedule proved well made as the Pilots and Crusaders squared off for the tournament title.
Portland's frontcourt of Thomas van der Mars and Volodymyr Gerun led the Pilots to their two victories this week, much as they have all season. The loss to Valparaiso was a coming out party for reserve guard D'Marques Tyson. The 6-foot-6 guard scored a game high 25 points in the loss.
Valpo, a tall and strong rebounding team, managed to take both van der Mars and Gerun out of the game in a way no team had so far this season. While the Pilots have plenty of scoring options on the perimeter they're clearly not the same team without the post presence that duo brings.
Saint Mary's Gaels (5-0)
Last week: W 82-56 vs. Cal Poly
The Gaels played the fifth of their six straight games to open the season in Moraga, Calif and had no problem with a Cal Poly team boasting just one win over D-I competition so far this season. The Gaels' are an offensive minded team and their scoring ability is firing on all cylinders.
Brad Waldow led the way with 22 points on 9-13 shooting against Cal Poly. Three other Gaels hit double-figures. Desmond Simmons had 14 points, Kerry Carter 13 and Emmett Naar had 10. As a team they shot 15-29 from three.
San Diego Toreros (4-3)
Last week: W 77-70 vs. Western Michigan, L 82-71 vs. Xavier, W 75-65 vs. Princeton, L 68-66 vs. Western Michigan
San Diego played in the Wooden Legacy tournament at Cal State Fullerton this past week, where they ran into Western Michigan just days after hosting the Broncos in San Diego.
High scoring senior guard Johnny Dee totaled 87 points over the week including 29 against Princeton. The Toreros' backcourt will always put up big numbers but until the frontcourt can produce points they will struggle. Junior center Jito Kok is starting to look polished enough to help in that department, he scored 15 points in both games against Western Michigan.
San Francisco Dons (4-2)
Last week: W 88-73 vs. Hawai'i, L 62-47 vs. Florida Gulf Coast, L 79-72 vs. Evansville, W 76-57 vs. Montana
Rex Walters' Dons went 2-2 over the week but managed just a 1-2 record in the Gulf Coast Showcase. The typically well oiled San Francisco offense sputtered to just better than 25% shooting from the field against Florida Gulf Coast, though they improved to shoot 42.6% against a solid Evansville team but it wasn't enough. Mark Tollefsen, 23 points, and Matt Glover, 20 points, both scored career highs in the loss to Evansville.
Back at home against a rebuilding Montana Grizzlies team the Dons offense returned to its true form. Kruize Pinkins matched a career high with 26 points on 9-11 shooting. As a team the Dons shot 65% from the field but were sub-par from three, hitting three of 11 attempts.
13 Dons saw the floor against Hawai'i and FGCU. 14 played against Montana.
Santa Clara Broncos (3-4)
Last week: L 79-52 at Michigan State, L 64-57 vs. Tennessee, L 66-44 vs. Rhode Island, W 68-60 vs. Rider
Santa Clara had the most brutal schedule of any WCC team this week. The Broncos were blown out at Michigan State before heading to the Orlando Classic where they faced Tennessee and Rhode Island before getting some relief against Rider.
The Broncos' backcourt of Jared Brownridge and Brandon Clark, 58 and 67 points this week respectively, can't carry a team that can't rebound the ball. Santa Clara was outrebounded 151-105 over the week. Making matters worse is senior forward Yannick Atanga's knee injury, he's been sidelined for the past four games.
The Broncos are the only WCC team below .500 at this point in the season.