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Three thoughts from WCC Thursday: Favored teams go 5-0

Gonzaga and Saint Mary’s took care of business in trap games, BYU held its home court, and the Dons and Toreros avoided disaster.

NCAA Basketball: Gonzaga at Pacific
Gonzaga’s Killian Tillie defends Pacific’s Lafayette Dorsey.
Stan Szeto-USA TODAY Sports

Didn’t stay up late enough to take in last night’s West Coast Conference action? That’s a shame. Don’t worry though, we’ll get you caught up. Here are the scores, standings and stories from Thursday night in the WCC.

No. 11 Saint Mary’s Gaels 83 - Loyola Marymount Lions 62
No. 12 Gonzaga Bulldogs 71 - Pacific Tigers 61
Portland Pilots 63 - San Francisco Dons 65
San Diego Toreros 68 - Pepperdine Waves 66
Santa Clara Broncos 58 - BYU Cougars 80

Saint Mary’s streak now nation’s best

On Wednesday Ohio State took down Purdue, which derailed the Boilermakers’ 19-game winning streak. Then, on Thursday, the Gaels won at Loyola Marymount to pick up their 19th consecutive victory. It’s now the longest active streak in the country and tied, with Purdue’s, for the longest streak this season.

Jock Landale led the way with 21 points and Emmett Naar dished out 12 assists. Those two have been doing it all season long for Saint Mary’s, but the Gaels showed that they’re a lot more than just their dynamic duo. Jordan Ford tied his career high with 20 points. The team as a whole shot 64 percent from the field, and over 70 percent in the second half.

A week ago BYU went into Gersten Pavilion, with a Saturday date with Gonzaga looming, and lost to the Lions. Saint Mary’s found itself in the same position this week, but the Gaels meant business.

Gonzaga wins another tough one

First of all, if I’m going to mention tough I need to shout out Pacific’s Lafayette Dorsey. Late in the first half the freshman from L.A. sprinted back to stop Silas Melson from getting a breakaway dunk. As Dorsey landed he caught his left leg on the stanchion and fell to the ground screaming, which was audible over the television broadcast. It didn’t look good, and Dorsey was helped off the court unable to put any weight on his left leg.

He scored nine points on the night, all of which came after that scary moment.

Anyway... The Zags weren’t held below 70 points in a game this season until Feb. 1, at home, against San Diego. Then BYU did it to them two days later. And Thursday in Stockton it looked as if Pacific, which is known as a defensive team like the Toreros and Cougars, was going to make it three straight.

Gonzaga shot just 39.7 percent in the game. In the second half it was especially ugly, with the Zags connecting on a paltry 27.6 percent of their shots.

It took foul shots as Pacific tried to slow the game down late to push the Zags over 70 points. Josh Perkins connected on a pair with 8.9 seconds to play which gave Gonzaga a 71-61 lead.

While the offensive acumen has been lacking of late, there are still hints of the old Gonzaga team. In this one the Zags’ trademark balanced approach was on display, with five players in double-figure scoring, led by Killian Tillie’s 21.

San Diego and San Francisco avoid disaster

The Toreros have really fallen off since their program-best 12-3 start to the season. And San Francisco, which was picked to finish fourth in the conference, has been disappointing from the beginning.

On Thursday both teams managed just two-point victories over two of the league’s worst teams.

San Diego, on the road at Pepperdine, came out on top of a back and forth battle that saw the Waves lead for the majority of the game. San Francisco was at home against Portland, and while the Pilots never held a lead, they never let the Dons get out of reach.

A loss would’ve dropped San Diego below .500 in conference play. Even with the win San Francisco is still below .500, but no longer in serious danger of missing out on a first round bye in the conference tournament. At least for now.