The 2011 West Coast Conference tournament moves on to the quarterfinals today at the Orleans Arena in Las Vegas. The quarterfinals tip off with the Santa Clara Broncos and Loyola Marymount Lions at 6:00pm pacific. The second matchup will feature the San Francisco Dons and Pepperdine Waves.
Loyola Marymount came into the tournament as the bottom seed and knocked off fifth-seeded Portland last night. They enter their matchup with the Broncos as a five point underdog. Santa Clara swept the season series. Pepperdine squeezed out an 84-81 victory over San Diego last night and are a 3 1/2 point underdog today against San Francisco. The teams split their season series with Pepperdine giving the Dons a tough fight in San Francisco, losing 79-78 in overtime thanks to a last second foul.
Pepperdine (12-20) vs. San Francisco (16-13)
GAME NOTES: West Coast Conference Tournament quarterfinal action concludes tonight with a showdown between the sixth-seeded Pepperdine Waves and the third-seeded San Francisco Dons at Orleans Arena. The victor will move on to face second-seeded Gonzaga in a semifinal matchup on Sunday.
Pepperdine advanced to the quarterfinals by virtue of an 84-81 opening round victory over the San Diego Toreros. The win snapped a string of four consecutive losses to close the regular season. San Francisco earned a third-seed and a first-round bye on the strength of a 10-4 WCC clip, marking the Dons' first 10-win campaign since 1982.
The Waves and the Dons will meet for the 117th time tonight, with San Francisco holding a 67-49 lead. The two teams split the season series this year. In the most recent matchup, on Feb. 24th, it took overtime for San Francisco to dispatch Pepperdine, 79-78, as the Dons fought back from a 13- point second half deficit to earn the win.
Pepperdine barely survived an offensive slugfest with San Diego to advance in the Tournament. The Waves shot a season-high 56.4 percent for the game and held an eight point lead with 50 seconds to play before the Toreros drained four three-pointers in the final minute of action and narrowly missed a half- court shot at the buzzer in the heart-stopping conclusion. San Diego shot a healthy 51.9 percent for the game, as neither team's defense wanted to get its hands dirty. Mychel Thompson led the charge for the Waves, as he tallied 26 points, largely behind a 14-of-17 performance from the foul line. Lorne Jackson also drew contact with regularity, as he nailed 12-of-13 free throws and finished with 23 points. Corbin Moore was a perfect 3-of-3 from the field and 5-of-6 from the charity stripe for his 11 points. In all, 53 fouls we called in the game, as Pepperdine outscored San Diego 36-17 from the foul line. The Waves score 69.7 ppg on the year, as Thompson averages 14.7 ppg and Jackson puts in 13 ppg. As evident in the San Diego game, Pepperdine can be vulnerable on the defensive end, as it allows 73.9 ppg on the year.
Although it was assured of the third-seed heading into the season finale with Loyola Marymount, San Francisco still competed with vigor, pulling off a gutsy 77-75 victory. The Dons turned in a strong offensive performance, placing five players in double figures. Senior center Moustapha Diarra led the way with 16 points, seven boards, and a block. Angelo Caloiaro added 13 points and six boards, while Perris Blackwell finished with 12 points and six boards. Freshman guard Marko Petrovic also had a strong night, as he finished with 11 points, including a key late-game three-pointer, while Rashad Green added 10 points. Most of the Dons' scoring was done in the trenches, where they posted a 34-18 advantage. In reality, San Francisco is not usually as productive offensively. Williams (14.9 ppg), Green (11.4 ppg) and Blackwell (10.5 ppg) lead the Dons to 68.7 ppg. They allow 70 ppg on the defensive end of the floor.
Expect Pepperdine to earn the upset win tonight. The Waves are riding high after a shootout victory and have shown that they can hang with the Dons this year.
GAME NOTES: West Coast Conference Tournament quarterfinal action concludes tonight with a showdown between the sixth-seeded Pepperdine Waves and the third-seeded San Francisco Dons at Orleans Arena.
FACTS & STATS: Site: Orleans Arena (7,471) -- Las Vegas, Nevada. Television: none. Home Record: Pepperdine 7-7, San Francisco 12-3. Away Record: Pepperdine 2-13, San Francisco 4-8. Neutral Record: Pepperdine 3-0, San Francisco 0-2. Conference Record: Pepperdine 5-9, San Francisco 10-4. Series Record: San Francisco leads, 67-49.
Saturday, March 5th, 11:30 p.m. (et)
PREDICTION: Pepperdine 76, San Francisco 73
Loyola Marymount (11-20) vs. Santa Clara (18-3)
GAME NOTES: Quarterfinal action of the West Coast Conference Tournament kicks off tonight with a bout between the eight-seeded Loyola Marymount Lions and the fourth-seeded Santa Clara Broncos at Orleans Arena. The victor will advance to face top-seeded Saint Mary's (CA) in a semifinal matchup on Sunday.
Loyola reached the quarterfinals following a 72-68 opening round victory over Portland. With the win, the Lions became the first eight-seed in the current tournament format to advance to the quarterfinals. Santa Clara posted an 8-6 WCC record to receive a first-round bye as the fourth-seed for the second time in three years. Tonight's matchup marks the 134th meeting between Loyola and Santa Clara. The Broncos currently hold an 82-51 lead, and swept this year's regular season series.
In a season of near misses and close calls, LMU finally got one to break its way in Friday's victory over Portland. With the Lions holding a slim 68-66 lead in the closing minutes, both teams hit a three minute long scoring drought. With the Lions clinging to their lead and failing to generate any offense, they crashed the boards with vigor, grabbing three offensive boards in the waning moments, forcing Portland to foul, then icing the game from the line. Drew Viney led the Lions to victory, scoring 25 points on 9-of-14 shooting to go with five boards. Vernon Teele has a strong game in a reserve role, as he rose from the pine to net 13 points and hand out five assists. The Lions' solid defensive effort down the stretch comes as somewhat of a surprise, as they give up 72.1 ppg. The strong rebounding performance was more expected, as the Lions post a plus-2.8 rebounding margin on the year. Viney leads the offensive charge, pouring in 17.2 ppg, as the team scores 70.9 ppg on the whole.
Santa Clara last played a week ago, earning a 71-68 victory over Pepperdine to claim the tournament's fourth-seed. Junior Marc Trasolini led the team to victory, pouring in 21 points, and reaching 1,000 for his career in the process. The game was tight down the stretch, but the Broncos held on, as freshman Evan Roquemore calmly knocked down four free throws in the final minute of action. Roquemore, who was recently named to the All-WCC Freshman team, finished with 15 points, while Kevin Foster, an All-WCC First Team member, tallied 16 points and five assists. He paces the Broncos on the year at 19.5 ppg. Trasolini (12.5 ppg) and Roquemore (11.3 pg) help lead the Broncos to 73.3 ppg. Troy Payne, who was recently named the WCC Defensive Player of the Year, leads the league in steals and ranks fourth in rebounding. Santa Clara allows 70 ppg on the defensive end.
Expect Santa Clara to earn the victory tonight. This year, the Broncos have already proven on two separate occasions that they have what it takes to down the Lions.
GAME NOTES: Quarterfinal action of the West Coast Conference Tournament kicks off tonight with a bout between the eight-seeded Loyola Marymount Lions and the fourth-seeded Santa Clara Broncos at Orleans Arena.
FACTS & STATS: Site: Orleans Arena (7,471) -- Las Vegas, Nevada. Television: none. Home Record: Loyola Marymount 7-7, Santa Clara 13-5. Away Record: Loyola Marymount 2-12, Santa Clara 5-6. Neutral Record: Loyola Marymount 2-1, Santa Clara 0-2. Conference Record: Loyola Marymount 2-12, Santa Clara 8-6. Series Record: Santa Clara leads, 82-51.
Saturday, March 5th, 9:00 p.m. (et)
PREDICTION: Santa Clara 76, Loyola Marymount 71