The WCC is a hard beast to predict this year. Looking past the Gonzaga loss to Portland, Saint Mary's suffered a rare loss at home and the BYU Cougars continued their Jekyll and Hyde season with two convincing wins last week.
First, the standings.
Second, the weekly recap.
def. Pepperdine, 84-72; def. LMU, 91-68
It is weeks like this that make the Cougars one of the most dangerous teams in the conference. Problem is, no one really has any idea who is going to show up. Tyler Haws scored a season high 35 points against the Waves and then followed it up with 31 points against the Lions. If BYU is rolling offensively like they did last week, they are the best team in the conference hands down. They have four straight games on the road coming up and that will determine whether or not BYU is legitimate WCC contenders.
lost @ San Diego, 74-67; lost @ BYU, 91-68
Poor LMU. They started the season off so promisingly with a win over BYU. Then they were forced to hit the road and are now in a four-game losing streak. Anthony Ireland and Evan Payne had solid games against San Diego, and Ireland continued his strong play against BYU the second go-round. Unfortunately for him, it is looking like the Lions have very few options outside of Ireland to provide any sort of consistent offense. In both games, only two players scored in double-figures for LMU.
lost San Francisco, 81-72 (OT); def. Santa Clara, 80-68
Pacific opened conference play at 0-4 before finally picking up their first WCC conference win of the modern era. Sama Taku had 19 points and Andrew Bock added 16 for the Tigers to pick up their first win. They shot 53 percent in the win and clamped down on the Broncos, limiting Santa Clara to 35.2 percent shooting.
lost @ BYU, 84-72; def. @ San Diego, 69-65
Stacy Davis had a monster night against San Diego and Pepperdine needed every bit of it to stay in the upper reaches of the WCC standings. Davis scored 28 points and added 10 rebounds, at one point scoring 11-straight points, to actually put the game in striking distance.
def. Gonzaga, 82-73
We all know what happened here. Portland won and Gonzaga lost.
lost Santa Clara, 57-55; def. San Francisco, 88-73
If the Bulldogs hadn't lost to Portland on Thursday, we would have had the bizarro loss of the season in Moraga. Stephen Holt hit a three with 23 seconds left to give Saint Mary's the lead, but Jared Brownridge was determined to pull out the win and hit the game winning three with two seconds left. The well-oiled Gaels machine was a downright mess in the process, shooting just 37.5 percent from the floor and handing out eight assists total. They rectified the situation against the Dons, and even though the Dons had four starters with double-digit points and shot above 50 percent, they still lost. Every Saint Mary's starter scored in double-digits, led by Holt's 21 points, and the Gaels shot 57 percent from the floor.
def. LMU, 74-67; lost Pepperdine, 69-65
Christopher Anderson had 20 points and Duda Sanadze attacked the rim to the tune of 22 points to give the Toreros their only conference win of the season. San Diego were the more aggressive of the two teams, going to the free throw line 29 times compared to just 15 trips for LMU. Johnny Dee, who a week ago was dropping 20-plus points at will, had a total of 14 points in two games last week.
def. @ Pacific, 81-72 (OT); lost @ Saint Mary's, 88-73
It was almost a really good week for the Dons. They scored 18 points in overtime against Pacific to come away with the win. Against Saint Mary's it really looked like the Dons played great basketball. But then if you look at the Saint Mary's portion of the box score you'll see the defense was non-existent, and that has been one of the bigger problems with the Dons all season. They are ranked dead last in opponents field goal percentage in the WCC this season.
def. @ Saint Mary's, 57-55; lost @ Pacific, 80-68
One thing is true about the Broncos, they have plenty of late game options to take over. This time around it was Jared Brownridge whose game-winning three with two seconds left sent Saint Mary's to a rare loss at home. Brandon Clark added 20 points in the contest. Against Pacific, the team that locked down one of the better offenses completely fell apart. Clark once against scored 20 points and Evan Roquemore added 19, but Brownridge was an afterthought. Like most games for the Broncos this year, two out of the three pistons are working. If they could get all three going, they have a good chance to knock off anyone in the conference.