If weeknight college hoops from the Pacific Time Zone takes place just too late for you, worry not. We’ve got you covered. Here are the three biggest stories from Thursday night’s West Coast Conference action.
Surprise, Gonzaga’s still undefeated
Don't expect people to stop asking if Mark Few’s fourth-ranked Zags (18-0, 6-0) can enter the big dance undefeated. After Thursday’s dominating 88-57 win at Santa Clara (10-10, 4-3), Gonzaga is yet another blowout road win closer to a perfect season. No other team in Division I boasts an unbeaten record.
Santa Clara senior Jared Brownridge led all scorers with 23 points in Thursday’s game. In eight career games against Gonzaga, Brownridge is averaging 18.1 points. Baller.
Przemek Karnowski led Gonzaga with 19 points. Four Zags scored in double figures.
A home date with Portland awaits on Saturday before the Zags travel to Portland to make up a weather-cancelled game on Monday, Jan. 23.
Cougars get back to scoring, and winning, against Pepperdine
Last Saturday’s loss to San Diego was BYU’s 14th regular season conference loss to teams not named Gonzaga or Saint Mary’s since joining the WCC in 2011. Marty Wilson’s Pepperdine Waves (5-14, 1-6) were responsible for four of those losses, taking down the Cougars in four of their previous six meetings.
But Thursday, the injury-depleted Waves were blown out by the Cougars, 99-70, in Provo.
Eric Mika led the way with 22 points and 10 rebounds, giving him a sixth straight double-double and 12 on the season. Elijah Bryant, a major spark since returning from injury on Jan. 5, came off the bench to add 15 points.
BYU (14-6, 5-2) ranks eighth in the nation with an average of 76.8 possessions per 40 minutes. Yet, somehow, they’ve still yet to hit triple-digits in a win. Their lone 100-plus game this season was an inexplicable 114-101 home loss to Utah Valley on Nov. 26. Worth noting: that was the first game BYU played without Bryant. He played well on Thursday and they came literally as close to triple digits as you can get.
No. 23 Saint Mary’s recovers against Pacific
The Gaels (16-2, 6-1) had no problem against the Tigers (8-12, 2-5) in a 62-50 win at home Thursday night.
Calvin Hermanson knocked down four of his 10 shots from three-point range en route to a game-high 17 points. Point guards Joe Rahon and Emmett Naar combined for 15 assists as the Gaels helped each other out on 83 percent of their made baskets.
Saint Mary’s got destroyed, 79-56, last week in Spokane. The Gaels are a clear cut below Gonzaga, but still light years ahead of the rest of the WCC. Their position at No. 23 in the rankings is not only deserved, but for this two-loss team, perhaps an undervaluation.
Next up for this brilliant offensive squad are back-to-back home games against Pepperdine and San Francisco.