If you like me were somewhat impressed by both LMU and Santa Clara’s men’s teams, tonight’s results won’t be a surprise.
In an exciting contest, 5th seeded Loyola-Marymount defeated 8 seed San Francisco 70-66 in a game that was in question until the last few seconds. The Dons and the Lions battled back and forth all evening, ending the first half knotted at 31. The biggest lead of the contest was USF up by five at the 7:11 mark in the second half. With 42 seconds left in the game, Eli Scott made a layup to give LMU a 65-64 lead. 10 Seconds later, Jamee Bouyea put USF back on top with a layup of his own. With 24 seconds left to play, Scott completed a three-point play to put LMU on top for good. Khalil Shabazz committed a late turnover and a foul allowing LMU to seal the win.
The Lions were led by Eli Scott with 24 on an impressive 9 for 11 from the field. LMU’s Mattias Markusson added 17 on 5 for 6 shooting coupled with a perfect 7 for 7 from the line. USF was led by forward Dzmitry Ryuny with 19 points with Bouyea scoring 12 with team highs 6 rebounds and 7 assists.
In the final game of the evening, 7th seed Santa Clara held on against 6th seed Pacific 81-76. Santa Clara took a double-digit lead with six minutes left to play in the first half, led 47-31 at halftime and maintained a double digit lead until the last two minutes of the game. The Broncos got sloppy with the Tigers cutting the lead to nine points with 1:56 left to play. Pacific stated fouling and Santa Clara missed the front ends of consecutive one and ones. Pacific could have closed the gap to four with 55 seconds left when their forward Jamie Bell seemingly made a successful steal under the Broncos basket. Instead of making a easy lay-up, he was called for a foul by the official at the other end of the court. The offcial two feet away from the play didn’t blow his whistle
Pacific had problems containing the Santa Clara bigs throughout the contest. Josip Vrankic led all scorers with 24 points with center Gugliemo Caruso adding 14 and 6 rebounds. Pacific was led by sophomore guard Daniss Jenkins with 16 points.
Two mini upsets in the Women’s bracket as the higher seed wins both games.
In the first game of the day, defending WCC Champions Portland, the 5th seed fell to 8th seeded LMU 74-56. LMU was led by their sophomore starting center Khari Clark who scored a career high 22 points and pulled down 8 boards. Portland’s WCC First-Team Forward Alex Fowler led all scorers with 26 points. The game was competitive until the midway point of the 3rd quarter, when Portland guard Haylee Andrews was benched after picking up her fourth four. Portland then went 16 straight possessions with scoring. Portland couldn’t overcome their terrible 3rd quarter, 2 for 13 from the field 0-6 from deep, as LMU outscored them 33 to 21 in the 2nd half.
In the second game, 7th seed St. Mary’s defeated 6th seed Pacific 69-55. The Lady Gaels entered the tournament having lost eight of their previous nine games including a 19-point blowout by Pacific just last week. Pacific went completely cold at the end of the first quarter for the rest of the half as St. Mary’s went on a 30-3 run to take a 41-22 lead into the locker room. Pacific could never recover. St. Mary’s was led by guards Taycee Wedin and Madeline Holland who scored 21 and 17 points respectively. Pacific was led by forward Brooklyn McDavid who dropped 15 and First Team All-WCC guard Valerie Huggins with 13.
Both Men’s games this Saturday will be on the ESPN Network. St. Mary’s and LMU will be on at 6:00 p.m. PST on ESPNU and the Pepperdine/Santa Clara game will be on at 9:00 p.m. PST on ESPN 2.