Bowl eligibility on the line for SJSU this weekend

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Bowl eligibility on the line for SJSU this weekend

If there were one game on SJSUs schedule it could write off as a win at the beginning of the the season, it would be this weekends game on the road against Idaho. As recent events would suggest, a win for the Spartans is looking even more likely.About 10 days ago, the Idaho football program fired its head coach, Robb Akey, in part due to the teams 1-7 record this season. Offensive coordinator Jason Gesser was named interim head coach upon Akeys firing. Then on Monday, the team dismissed its starting quarterback, Dominique Blackman, and linebacker Conrad Scheidt from the squad for violating team rules.Regardless of whatever particular state of shambles the Idaho football program may be in, SJSU head coach Mike MacIntyre said the team must focus on its own game and only that.We have to be ready for an intense game, he said. But the main things we have to do is take care of ourselves, being intensely ready and prepare like we have been. How we prepare and how we are focused throughout the week will make the difference on Saturday.MacIntyre said he was planning on addressing a somewhat similar situation to Idahos that played out in the struggling programs favor. Last season, UCLA hosted Arizona State while many Bruins supporters called for the removal of head coach Rick Neuheisel after a string of losses averaging deficits of 30 points. UCLA defeated favored Arizona State that night 29-28, despite its off-the-field troubles.That sort of bottled-up fire is what MacIntyre is expecting from the Vandals this Saturday at the Kibbie Dome in Moscow, Idaho.We have to take care of ourselves and not worry about them but we do have to understand that theyre going to come riled up and ready to go, he said.SJSU is also just one win shy of bowl eligibility and has to think there is no better shot at locking in that seventh win than this weekend SJSUs win over UTSA did not qualify toward bowl eligibility. MacIntyre, though, said no discussion of a possible bowl situation has been had between he and his coaches or the players.Truthfully, we havent talked about the bowl one time and we wont, MacIntyre said. Were going to take the game one play at a time, one quarter at a time, one game at a time and that is not cliche, that is the truth.Idaho senior quarterback Logan Bushnell will get the start Saturday over junior Taylor Davis, who helped beat the Spartans last season with 162 passing yards and a go-ahead fourth-quarter touchdown pass the final lead change of the 32-29 Idaho win. Bushnell will be sent in to lead a Vandals offense that ranks 123rd in the nation in scoring averaging 16 points per game.Both their quarterbacks can throw well theyre not guys that just got off the bus, MacIntyre said. I think they can make plays. What theyve done with their quarterbacks in the past, looking at these guys, they can do exactly what (Blackman) was doing. I dont see it being that drastic of a change.Nationally, Idaho ranks 62nd in passing yards, 120th in points against, and 122nd in rushing yards per game. Nonetheless, MacIntyre believes Idaho is more than capable of beating the Spartans and used last years defeat as a prime example.Our kids remembers getting beat in Idaho a couple years ago and losing the heartbreaker last year, he said. Idaho is a good football team and they definitely think they can beat us and we know they can. So that will help fuel our guys this weekend to prepare to play.So the Spartans have two items on their agenda: Avenge last seasons loss to Idaho and capture that all-important seventh win to advance their hopes of a possible postseason bowl. A win would accomplish both goals.

No. 20 Saint Mary's holds off Santa Clara in WCC finale

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No. 20 Saint Mary's holds off Santa Clara in WCC finale

BOX SCORE

MORAGA — Jock Landale scored 17 points and No. 20 Saint Mary's beat Santa Clara 70-56 on Saturday night in the West Coast Conference regular season finale for both teams.

Emmett Naar and Calvin Hermanson scored 13 points apiece and Dane Pineau added 10 points to help the Gaels (26-3, 15-3) complete a season sweep of the Broncos.

Saint Mary's will get a week off before playing in the WCC tournament as the No. 2 seed in Las Vegas next week.

The Gaels will go in at full strength after suffering a brief scare midway through the second half. Joe Rahon, the team's emotional leader and workhorse in the backcourt, limped off the court with an apparent knee injury and was taken into a tunnel to be examined. He returned to the court a few minutes later wearing tape around his right leg below the knee. He then later got his entire knee wrapped.

Saint Mary's led by as many as 20 in the second half despite coming out of halftime missing six of seven shots with two turnovers.

Landale, as he has much of the season, got the Gaels back on track with a short hook over Henrik Jadersten to start a 10-0 run. Landale later scored on consecutive trips down the floor to push Saint Mary's lead to 66-47.

Jared Brownridge and Matt Hauser scored 15 points apiece for Santa Clara. The Broncos (16-15, 10-8 WCC) lost for only the second time in the last five games.

The Gaels led nearly the entire way.

Saint Mary's came out strong from the perimeter, making five of seven shots beyond the arc in the first half. Naar had two of the 3s and was one of six Gaels players to score as part of an 11-2 run that pushed their lead to 41-29 at halftime.

BIG PICTURE

Santa Clara: Another tough night for the Broncos, who couldn't get much going despite Saint Mary's going through a pair of lulls on offense. Brownridge scored nine of his team's first 11 points, a pattern that played out much of the game. Jadersten gave Santa Clara an early lift with two 3s but picked up three fouls over a span of 1:41 minutes during the first half.

Saint Mary's: With four straight wins the Gaels have regained some of the momentum they lost after falling to No. 1 Gonzaga on Feb. 11 for the second time this season. A third showdown between the conference's two best teams appears likely.

UP NEXT

Santa Clara: The Broncos are the fourth seed for the WCC tournament and will have a bye in the first round.

Saint Mary's: The Gaels also receive a first-round bye and won't play until March 4.

Stanford falls short, can't complete upset against Oregon

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Stanford falls short, can't complete upset against Oregon

BOX SCORE

STANFORD -- Oregon survived its Bay Area trip by the slimmest of margins.

Jordan Bell scored on a putback with 14 seconds left to give the sixth-ranked Ducks their second straight nail-biting victory in a rare Bay Area sweep as Oregon beat Stanford 75-73 on Saturday.

"It stresses Coach out," guard Dylan Ennis said. "It shows us that we can just get gritty, get down and get the win. ... Hopefully if we're down like that again we can fight back and do the same thing."

Bell's game-winner followed Dillon Brooks' last-second, tiebreaking 3-pointer three nights earlier at California to give Oregon (26-4, 15-2 Pac-12) its second sweep of its conference Bay Area rivals since 1976. The other came two years ago.

Tyler Dorsey scored 15 points to lead Oregon, while Brooks added 14.

"It's been a tough road trip for us, two close games," coach Dana Altman said. "That's life on the road. We found a way."

Reid Travis had 27 points and 14 rebounds to lead the way for the Cardinal (14-14, 6-10), but committed a turnover on the final possession to end any comeback hopes on senior day that honored Christian Sanders, Marcus Allen and Grant Verhoeven.

"There's a little extra when you see guys like Christian, Marcus and Grant shedding tears when they're getting called up," Travis said. "It's the last time they get to compete on this court. ... Just looking at that, there's no choice but to be motivated."

Stanford trailed by as many as 12 points in the first half but battled back to tie the game five times in the second half. But it took until that fifth equalizer for the Cardinal to take their first lead since being up 9-8 early in the first half.

Travis' jumper in the lane made it 71-69 with less than 3 minutes left but the lead was short-lived as Brooks hit a jumper at the other end to tie it.

The game was tied at 73 when the Ducks managed four offensive rebounds on one possession before finally converting on Bell's shot with 14 seconds left. It capped a wild sequence that started when Ennis shot an airball on a 3-pointer. Payton Pritchard caught the ball in the air and shot it to the rim before the shot clock expired. Bell was there to put back the second miss for the game-winner.

"It was going so fast I don't even know what happened," Altman said.

Travis lost the ball in the paint at the other end to seal the victory for Oregon.

BIG PICTURE

Oregon: The Ducks capped a 7-1 February with just their second road sweep of the conference season as they peaking at the right time of year. Their only loss in that span came on a late 3-pointer by Lonzo Ball in an 82-79 loss at UCLA. Oregon has one more road game left to finish the regular season at last-place Oregon State, and remains in contention for a Pac-12 title and a top two seeding in the NCAA Tournament.

Stanford: The Cardinal were unable to follow up home wins against California and Oregon State when faced by tougher competition from the Ducks. That has been an issue all season for Stanford, which fell to 0-8 against ranked opponents.

THEY SAID IT

"Something hit my elbow. It might have been the wind, but I don't shoot airballs on game-winners." - Ennis.

POUND THE BOARDS

Oregon had just eight rebounds for the entire first half before getting the four offensive boards on the final possession of the game. The Ducks were outrebounded 37-25 for the game but were outscored by only four points on second-chance opportunities.

CEREMONIAL DAY

Stanford also held a halftime ceremony for former coach Mike Montgomery, who was inducted into the National Collegiate Basketball Hall of Fame this past November. Montgomery is the winningest coach in school history with 393 of his 677 wins coming for the Cardinal.

UP NEXT

Oregon: Visits Oregon State on Saturday.

Stanford: Visits Colorado on Thursday.