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West Coast Notebook

January 22, 2003 Conference Notes No Comments

West Coast Notebook

by James Burns

It’s the tale of two fates.

A year after sharing the West Coast crown, Gonzaga and Pepperdine knew something had to give. But when? These two teams had shared the glory and the spotlight for way too long. All this time, since the inception of the WCC, two teams shared a stage built for just one.

This season it looks like we’ve finally reached a breaking point.

After racing out to an undefeated start, including a 66-56 victory over San Francisco, Gonzaga made its case to remain center stage in the WCC. Pepperdine, on the other hand, with a mediocre start, has obliged and exited stage left.

Pepperdine, loser of just one game all of last year, has looked soft through four games this season. Although one of their losses has come at the hands of Gonzaga, their other blemish came from San Diego at home Saturday.

I don’t know if you read it right, so I’m going to type it once more: S-A-N-D-I-E-G-O.

Pepperdine doesn’t lose to San Diego, especially at Firestone Fieldhouse. Pepperdine hasn’t lost to San Diego in six years at Firestone Fieldhouse.

Until this season. Behind super-sub Jason Blair’s career-high 31 points, San Diego routed the Waves 88-73. The Toreros led by as many as 23 during one stretch of the contest (64-41).

Blair rounded out his weekend nailing 21-of-30 shots, including 4-of-5 from 3-point range. But better yet, his offensive production has left Pepperdine in an uncomfortable position – looking up at the Toreros in the standings.

Darrell Tucker: Thumbs Down

Darrell Tucker, San Francisco’s all-conference power forward, will be out of the line-up indefinitely with a separated right thumb. The odds-on favorite for WCC MVP has missed the last six games.

Tucker dislocated his right thumb in a Jan.2 matchup with Michigan. Unable to finish the game, the Tucker-less Dons went on to lose 74-64.

The Dons’ Athletic Department reported that Tucker will be re-evaluated next week. He has not been ruled out of Jan.31 return against Pepperdine.

During his absence, the Dons have gone 2-2. Results for Wednesday’s match-up against Santa Clara weren’t available before press time.

Weekend Roundup

Loyola Marymount snapped a five-game losing streak and a 15-game conference slide when they held on to beat Santa Clara 75-69 Saturday. The Lions led throughout the game, opening a 10-point advantage to start the game. Junior Keith Kincade paced the Lions with 19 points.

Saint Mary’s rebounded from a narrow loss to Gonzaga downing Portland 69 -54 Saturday. Daniel Kickert matched his career-high with 24 points to spearhead the Gaels attack. Kickert got good production from sub Tyler Herr, who pumped in 14 points including three 3-pointers.


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