For the most part, the first day of the WCC Tournament was a thriller by the standards of basketball. Gonzaga’s 14 point win over LMU was the biggest spread of the day, and that game was even closer than the final point total will display.
But, in the end, the top four seeds advanced to the semi-finals as planned. There was still plenty of excitement until the very end, especially considering the No. 10 Pepperdine Waves felt ready to completely crash the tournament party.
Here is a quick round up of the WCC Tournament quarterfinals. Remember, all teams take a break on Sunday and will be back in action tomorrow.
No. 3 BYU Cougars 85, No. 6 San Diego Toreros 79
A huge game from Elijah Bryant and Yoeli Childs gave BYU just enough offense to push past a San Diego squad that was unwilling to go away. Isaiah Pineiro scored 21 points and Olin Carter added 20, but it wasn’t enough as turnovers played San Diego throughout the game. Bryant led all scorers with 27 points and Childs chipped in 22 points. It was a chippy game, stopped by a total of 51 fouls and 64 free throws.
No. 4 San Francisco Dons 71, No. 5 Pacific Tigers 70 (OT)
Jahlil Tripp missed a layup at the buzzer, but luckily his teammate Anthony Townes was able to put it back in as time expired in regulation for the Pacific Tigers to force overtime. The overtime wouldn’t provide nearly as many dramatics. The Dons jumped out to a five point lead, 71-66, with three minutes left in overtime. Tripp would bring Pacific within one point with nearly a minute left, but those would be the last points of the game. A series of missed shots, turnovers, and missed free throws kept the score 71-70 and a narrow victory for San Francisco.
No. 2 Saint Mary’s Gaels 69, No. 10 Pepperdine Waves 66
No, that score is not a typo. For the better part of 40 minutes, the Gaels fought for their lives against one of the worst teams in college basketball. There are zero ifs, ands, or buts about how bad a loss here would’ve been for a Saint Mary’s team whose resume is thin at best. However, the star four of the Gaels was able to put forth just enough offense to pull out a win.
Jordan Ford led the Gaels with 19 points, Jock Landale contributed 17 points (and 15 rebounds), Emmett Naar added 16 points, and Calvin Hermanson scored 14. Here is the big issue, however: those four players scored 66 of the Gaels 69 points. Randy Bennett basically ran with a five-man rotation to gut out this win, and it will be interesting to see how winded the Gaels are against BYU on Monday. Pepperdine didn’t shoot the ball particularly well, but the Gaels shot themselves in the foot time and time again with 15 turnovers. All wins are good in the sense they are wins, but Saint Mary’s is going to need a much better game or else their WCC Tournament run is going to end early.