If weeknight college hoops from the Pacific Time Zone takes place too late for you, worry not. We’ve got you covered. Here are the three biggest stories from Thursday night’s WCC action.
27 and 0
San Francisco (18-10, 8-7) led Gonzaga by five points with 9:30 to play in the first half. It was a shocking half, actually, because the Dons led for the majority. And this was a game played in the Kennel.
But with 9:30 left in the second half, No. 1 Gonzaga (27-0, 15-0) led by 23 points. The Zags entered Thursday with an average margin of victory of 23.4 points. That number has only risen after walloping the Dons by 35, 96-61.
Nigel Williams-Goss, who set his career high (36) last month against USF, scored a game-high 30 points Thursday night. Senior center Przemek Karnowski added 23. For such a high-scoring team (85.1 ppg, 13th nationally), this was just the second game of the season in which two Zags have scored at least 20 points.
Santa Clara scorches Pepperdine 106-55
As was discussed in this week’s WCC power rankings, there is a three team fight for third place between BYU, San Francisco and Santa Clara. That three team race was initiated when lowly Pepperdine (9-18, 5-10 WCC) picked off BYU last week in Malibu.
Santa Clara (15-13, 9-6) nearly doubled-up that same Pepperdine team Thursday night. The Broncos jumped on the Waves early and shot a blistering 75 percent from the field in the first half. Nate Kratch scored 24 of his career high 32 points in the opening stanza.
Jared Brownridge, the NCAA’s third leading active scorer with 2,184 career points, notched a double-double with 12 points and 10 assists. KJ Feagin pitched in 18, and Henrik Jadersten added 12.
This win, coupled with a loss by USF, gives Santa Clara sole possession of fourth place. The Broncos are one game back of BYU, and one game clear of the Dons, with three games remaining.
Saint Mary’s and BYU hold serve at home
No. 22 Saint Mary’s (23-3, 13-2) had no problem with Loyola Marymount (12-14, 5-10) in Moraga, winning 81-48. BYU (19-9, 10-5) saw a bit of resistance from San Diego (11-16, 4-11) but pulled away in the second half for an 82-70 victory in Provo.
And that means the Cougars are still alive in the race for second place.
Saint Mary’s faces BYU in Provo on Saturday. The Gaels won the first meeting, 81-68 back on Jan. 5th in Moraga. But the Cougars are a different team at home, where they’re 14-2 on the season. BYU needs to win to stay in the hunt for a top-two finish.