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West Coast Notebook

December 19, 2002 Conference Notes No Comments



West Coast Notebook

by James Burns

Prime Time Matchups

Several West Coast Conference schools squared-off against some of the nation’s top college basketball programs, albeit with little success.

Gonzaga vs. Georgia

Behind All-American candidate Jarvis Hayes’ game-high 29 points, Georgia upended Gonzaga 95-83 in the Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl Classic.

Hayes sparked the Bulldogs in the first half, pouring in 14 points, as Georgia opened up a 35-24 halftime lead. Georgia led by as many as 22-points in the first half.

Even in defeat Gonzaga found a silver-lining.

Relying heavily on the perimeter production of leading scorer Blake Stepp in its last few games, Gonzaga needed its role players to keep things close against Georgia. Georgia’s quick guards and poor shooting negated Stepp, who leads the West Coast Conference in scoring averaging 20 points a game. Stepp shot just 2-of-7 in 26 minutes, notching a season-low seven points.

In his absence, sophomore forward Ronny Turiaf and Richard Fox had breakout games. Turiaf posted a team-high 20 points, while Fox chipped in with a season-high 15 points.

The tandem helped Gonzaga erase its first-half woes. Gonzaga shot 52 percent from the field in the second half, after shooting just 40 percent in the first.

St. Mary’s vs. Stanford

Playing its first game in almost two weeks, Stanford routed an upstart St. Mary’s bunch.

Guards Julius Barnes and Josh Childress led the Cardinal. Barnes and Childress combined to score 33 points for the Cardinal, who shot 47 percent from the field.

Tyler Herr (13 points) and Daniel Kickert (11 points) led St. Mary’s, which had won three of its last four contests.

Portland vs. UCLA

When it comes to playing PAC-10 schools, Portland has no luck.

After being beaten by interstate rivals Oregon and Oregon State last week, Portland found itself standing across the court from a hungry UCLA squad.

UCLA, which opened the season with two losses (one of which was to San Diego), manhandled the Pilots, 105-67. Dijon Thompson pumped in a career-best 23 points.

PAC-10 3. Portland 0.

Pepperdine vs. Oregon

Pepperdine tried to keep pace with the Oregon Ducks, but even a career-high 27 points from Jimmy Miggins wasn’t enough to curb the high-flying PAC-10 school. Oregon used a 23-11 run late to pull away from the Waves, 105-90.

The Waves played without center Will Kimble and guard Devin Montgomery.

Amazing Streaks

With the Christmas season upon us and the basketball season heating up, several WCC teams and players have various things they can be thankful for – and consistency is one many throughout the conference share.

This basketball season has been full of surprises and amazing streaks. Listed below are several streaks and accomplishments WCC teams can be proud of and talk about around the Christmas tree this winter:

1. Gonzaga has become synonymous with long-range shooting in the last couple of years. The Bulldogs recently extended their streak of games with a 3-pointer to 306. The streak, largely built by Dan Dickau, has been sustained this season by 3-point specialist Blake Stepp.

2. St. Mary’s Daniel Kickert can shoot. Of all his shots – the 3-pointer, the mid-range jumper, and the lay-up – Kickert enjoys free throwing shooting the most. And his enthusiasm shows. By nailing all five of his free throw attempts against Stanford, Kickert extended his career-best streak to 21 straight.

3. Who would have thought the Loyola Marymount Lions would be 4-0 at home at this stage of the season? The Lions, who were picked to finish in the cellar of the WCC, have upstaged some pretty stiff competition at home, including the Big Sky’s Sacramento State Hornets and the Big West’s Long Beach State.

Our Thoughts and Prayers

Pepperdine’s Will Kimble has played just one game this season. And the junior isn’t likely to play in many more. Ever.

Kimble didn’t suit up in Pepperdine’s recent 105-90 loss to the Oregon Ducks because of a heart problem. According to a report on the West Coast Conference web site, it is likely Kimble’s career is over.

The 6-10 center, widely considered one of the more improved Waves on the roster, averaged 5.4 points, 3.7 rebounds and .8 blocks per game last season as a back up.

     

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