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WCC Basketball Tournament: First Round

No huge surprises on the first night

NCAA Basketball: Portland at Gonzaga James Snook-USA TODAY Sports

On the first night of the WCC Tournament, the four lower seeds in the Men’s and Women’s bracket played some pretty entertaining basketball. The games were on BYUtv, a channel I discovered was longer available in my cable package. Luckily, it is available via a free app that was easy to download to my smart TV, membership is free.

Women’s Bracket

#9 Pepperdine 63 - #8 Santa Clara 60: After being down by 14 points midway through the third quarter, the Waves came back for a last-minute victory against the Broncos. Pepperdine was led by forward Jane Nwada who scored nine of her 17 points in the fourth quarter and guard Marly Walls who also had 17 points to go with her seven assists. The Broncos were led by Tess Heal, the WCC Newcomer of the Year who scored 29 points.

Heal made two free throws with 46 seconds left to play to give Santa Clara a 60-58 lead. 13 seconds later, the Waves Becky Obinma completed an old-fashioned three-point play giving Pepperdine the lead for good. The Broncos missed their next shot, Walls got the rebound and scored Pepperdine’s last two points on free throws.

Santa Clara was an atrocious one for 15 from deep.

Pepperdine takes on #5 BYU today at noon. The teams split their games during the regular season with both teams suffering a home loss.

#7 St. Mary’s 74 - #10 LMU 43: In a game that was essentially over at halftime, the Gaels outscored LMU 20 to five in the second quarter, cruising to an easy victory. Gael Guard Taycee Wedin led all scorers with 25 points and became just the thirteenth woman in NCAA history to drop 400 three-pointers in a career. She ended the night with five treys.

Ariel Johnson led the Lions with 11 points and Alexis Mark grabbed 11 boards.

Despite committing 23 turnovers, the Gaels won thanks to dominating the paint 34 to 14 and hitting nine three-pointers versus only three by the Lions.

Surprisingly, LMU won both regular season games against St. Mary’s.

The Gaels will take-on #6 Pacific today at 2:30 p.m. The teams split their two regular season games.

Men’s Bracket

#8 Portland 92 - #9 San Diego 74: In a game knotted at 35 at the half, the Pilots outscored the hapless Torero’s 57 – 39 in the second half for an easy victory. Portland hoisted a WCC Tournament record 36 three-pointers hitting 19 (53%) also a tourney record.

T-Rob led the Pilots with 23 points, 11 rebounds and six assists with an impressive 5 for 6 from deep. All-WCC second teamer Moses Wood added 19 points and All-WCC Freshman Juan Sebastian Gorosito’s five treys accounted for his 15 points.

San Diego’s leading rebounder Erik Williams Jr. returned to action after missing several weeks with injury, but it really didn’t help. San Diego has the worst three-point defense in the nation according to Kenpom and Pilots coach Shantay Legans had his team take full advantage. San Diego also committed 25 fouls sending Portland to the line 27 times where they made 21 shots.

The big man Marcellus Earlington, led the Toreros in scoring and rebounding with 15 and eight respectively. Wayne McKinney III led San Diego with five assists. In the meaningless stat of the night, USD dominated the paint 28 to eight.

Portland take-on #5 seed BYU at 6:00 p.m. tomorrow. BYU won their only matchup this season 71-58 at Provo.

#7 Pacific 84 - #10 Pepperdine 71: In what I assume is Lorenzo Romar’s last game as a D-1 head coach, the listless Waves played 40 minutes of completely uninspired basketball against a more motivated and victorious Pacific Tigers squad. As an unrepentant and unapologetic homer, I serious wondered how these teams dropped a combined 266 points, in three fairly close games against Gonzaga.

Pacific was led by Oklahoma St. transfer Keylan Boone who scored a game high 25 points on an impressive 11 for 15 from the field including three for six from deep. Boone also grabbed five rebounds. Moe Odum, All-WCC Freshman, was all over the place last night hitting 22 points in 26 minutes of play.

All-WCC Second Teamer and probable NBA draftee Lewis Maxwell led the Waves with 16 points and seven rebounds. All-WCC Freshman Jevon Porter added 12 points.

Continuing Portland’s hot shooting from deep in the previous game, Pacific took 20 three-pointers connecting on 10. On the other hand, the Waves took 21 shots from deep and only hit five.

Pacific will take on #6 USF tomorrow at 8:30 p.m. Pacific dropped both games against the Dons during the regular season.