Friday night in Vegas can only mean one thing...scintillating WCC basketball at the Orleans Arena. Right? Maybe not.
Pepperdine once again led off the evening and picked up the tournament’s first upset with a 68-65 win over 6th-seeded Loyola Marymount. Colbey Ross shot the ball much better in this game than he did the previous night, culminating with a game-winning 3-pointer with 30 seconds left in the game to help the Waves advance to a quarterfinal matchup against San Francisco. The winner of that game will play Gonzaga on Monday night in the semifinals.
Pepperdine and LMU exchanged blows evenly through the game’s first 10 minutes, but the Lions were able to get to halftime with a 7-point lead thanks to some of their most efficient offensive play of the season. LMU continued to control the game through the opening minutes of the second half, but then the Waves replicated the blue print that served them well in the opening round by winning the final 10 minutes of the game to squeak by their PCH rivals. Ross had 20 points (including 4-5 from the arc) to lead all scorers, while Victor Ohia Obioha turned in another strong performance off the bench.
The second game of the evening between San Diego and Santa Clara was tough viewing. The Toreros held Santa Clara without a field goal for the game’s first seven minutes, but only managed to score seven points themselves during that span. Nevertheless, Santa Clara never really recovered from that brutish start and USD was never threatened en route to a 62-45 win. Only three players scored in double figures between the two teams...and I really have nothing else to say about this game. San Diego will play BYU in the quarterfinals with the winner moving on to face Saint Mary’s on Monday night.