NCAA

Gaels going dancing after beating Gonzaga in WCC tourney

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Gaels going dancing after beating Gonzaga in WCC tourney

BOX SCORE
LAS VEGAS (AP) With the score deadlocked in overtime and the ball bouncing free, opposing guards Matthew Dellavedova and Kevin Pangos collided near the scorer's table.The guy who grew up around Aussie Rules Football made sure he got there first, and it proved critical as Saint Mary's pulled out a 78-74 OT victory Monday night over Gonzaga in the West Coast Conference tournament championship."I was trying to get my body in front of it," said Dellavedova, who led the Gaels with 22 points. "It goes back to Australia Rules footy. I was pretty happy they called the foul on him, but I guess it could have gone either way."Dellavedova would get the call and sink the free throws, and later add two more to secure the win over No. 24 Gonzaga and an NCAA bid.It was Saint Mary's second WCC tourney title in three years. But it was the first time the Gaels (27-5) have won the regular-season title outright and claimed the tourney championship the same year."I'm just a bit relieved that we finally got it done," Dellavedova said. "We'll enjoy this but once we get back (to California), we're going to focus, work hard again to get ready for the (NCAA) tourney because we want to do some things there."The Bulldogs, despite some big wins and a 25-6 overall record, will have to wait for the selection committee to find out if they'll make the NCAA field."It was a great ball game, two high-level tournament teams going at it and battling," Gonzaga coach Mark Few said. "Forty minutes wasn't enough so we needed another five, and in the end they stepped up and made big shots."Elias Harris led Gonzaga with 22 points, including a 3-pointer with 2 seconds left in regulation to force the extra period.Dellavedova, the WCC player of the year, had a chance to win it at the buzzer in regulation but his runner bounced off the rim.The junior point guard also gets plenty of credit for forcing Pangos into a miserable shooting night, just two days after the WCC newcomer of the year lit up Brigham Young for 30 points.Pangos finished with seven points on 3-of-18 shooting. He was just 1 of 10 from 3-point range. Center Robert Sacre finished with 17 points for Gonzaga while Sam Dower added 14 off the bench."Pangos had a really good night the other night and he hurt us up at Gonzaga," Saint Mary's coach Randy Bennett said of a Feb. 9 loss in which Pangos scored 27 points and hit five 3-pointers."He won't go 1 of 10 very often, but Matt did a good job of making him take tough shots."Saint Mary's also got help from Clint Steindl defending Pangos, and had post players rotate over as well.Rob Jones was just as valuable for the Gaels, adding 18 points and nine rebounds, while Jorden Page, another Aussie, added 16 points and Brad Waldow had 13 and eight rebounds."The stars showed up tonight," Bennett said. "It was fun, a little too exciting down the stretch. ... but I'm really pleased."He said it was important no one panicked after Harris forced overtime with the huge 3."People ask what did we say after they hit that shot? We didn't say anything," Bennett said. "We played good defense and they hit a tough shot. I don't have to coach leadership. The leadership is already there."Despite having to go another five minutes, Jones said Saint Mary's players knew they were still the tougher team."In the end, we got it done," Jones said.The teams were meeting for the 12th time in four years in a rivalry that is perhaps the fiercest on the West Coast right now.At least one player called it a "hate-hate" relationship before the game, with Sacre saying it was personal and a matter of pride.It lived up to its billing.There were 14 lead changes and nine ties.Saint Mary's led by as many as eight points early in the second half, but Gonzaga hung tight, pulling within 63-62 on Pangos' only 3-pointer with 3:58 left.The Gaels still led 68-63 with 31 seconds left, but Harris hit a driving layup with 15 seconds remaining then sank the game-tying 3-pointer.Both teams had chances to take command in the overtime.In addition to the collision between Pangos and Dellavadova with 39 seconds left in OT, Page grabbed a key rebound for Saint Mary's then sank two free throws to put the Gaels up 76-72. Dower's layup cut it to two again, but Dellavedova was fouled breaking through Gonzaga's full-court press and converted the free throws for the final margin.Delly Dazzles read the sign in the crowd."He's got it all," Bennett said of Dellavedova, who was born outside Melbourne, Australia, but learned basketball from his father in a Friday night league. "I don't know if I've ever coached a guy's who's as good a leader. He studies it, cares about it. He knows in game like this, he's supposed to step up."Now it's on to the NCAAs, and Bennett believes a game like Monday's can only help the Gaels."We haven't played many close games," Bennett said. "You get confidence playing close games by having success. We probably had 3 all year. ... I think our guys will be even more resilient and tougher and harder to beat."

From feeding homeless to doing the splits, Stanford's Phillips a rare find

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From feeding homeless to doing the splits, Stanford's Phillips a rare find

Stanford has a penchant for recruiting the overachieving student-athlete. Even among those standards, Harrison Phillips is a rare find. The senior defensive tackle helps feed the homeless every Friday morning at a local shelter. He often visits the kids in the oncology ward at Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital. He was named to the Pac-12 All Academic First Team and will graduate in December with a double major and a minor. He is a team captain and heir apparent to Solomon Thomas, the 49ers third overall pick in this year’s NFL draft.

“One thing you love about Harrison is, every day he’s going to get something done,” head coach David Shaw told NBC Sports Bay Area. “On the field, off the field, in the community, he’s always got a million things going on. But nothing ever suffers.

"He does everything at a high level.”

At 6-foot-4, 290 pounds, Phillips is a mountain of a man. His skill set is different than that of Thomas, but he can be just as disruptive. He plays over the center. He plays over the guards. His self-proclaimed job is to eat as many blocks as possible to keep the linebackers free.

“He’s such that hard point for us. He’s that guy up front that’s getting knock back, that force in the run game that you gotta have,” defensive coordinator Lance Anderson explained. “You have to have that strong solid point in the middle of your defense, and he provides that.”

Phillips had a game-high 11 tackles, five of them solo, in the Cardinal’s loss to USC. No other defensive lineman on the field had more than three.

“He’s outstanding against the run. He’s a very good pass rusher,” Shaw added. “He’s got a lot of tools that can work inside.”

Phillips main instruments of domination are strength, knowledge of leverage and abnormal flexibility for a man of his size.

“He can do the splits on command,” Thomas said laughing from in front of his locker after a recent 49ers practice. “He loves showing it off. We get on him for it. But he loves doing it.

And, according to Thomas, his former Stanford teammate loves to bench. So it comes as no surprise that Phillips’ upper body strength stands out.

“He’ll be really low in a position that you think he’d get knocked over in,” Thomas explained. “Because of how flexible he is, it’s not a problem for him to get in that position and stay there and move on from there. It definitely shows up on his film.”

No doubt, Phillips says, that ability comes from his wrestling experience. His high school curriculum vitae includes, “Nebraska State Wrestling Champion, Heavy Weight Division, Sophomore, Junior and Senior years.”

Phillips first year on The Farm, he vividly remembers his Stanford coaches testing him. Just a mere 245 pounds at the time, they put him up against Joshua Garnett and Andrus Peat, two offensive linemen now in the NFL and each well over 300 pounds.

“They’d double team me, almost 700 pounds on you, and I would somehow find leverage and be able to sit on some of those double teams,” Phillips said. “I think the violence that wrestling brings, and balance and being comfortable in weird positions, wrestling has a ton of scrambling, as it's called, you just know your body and know what you can do. I have tremendous flexibility, and I use everything to my advantage.”

One thing Phillips is not allowed to do is use his explosiveness away from the football field. At one time, Phillips could do a back flip off the wall, but he no longer attempts it.

“I’m not a big fan of the back hand springs,” Shaw said. “I’d like for him to stay on his feet.”

Phillips doesn’t argue. He lost his entire sophomore year to a knee injury, and doesn’t want to risk another. He has NFL aspirations and put himself in position to graduate in three-and-a-half years should he choose to enter the 2018 draft. But just as he has done at Stanford, he is looking to be more than just a name on a jersey should he play on a professional level.

“I want to build something that is really lasting,” Phillips said of his life goal, “and put my name on something to touch people’s lives and change people’s lives, pay it forward as much as I can.”

No. 6 USC routs No. 14 Stanford for 11th straight win

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USASTI

No. 6 USC routs No. 14 Stanford for 11th straight win

LOS ANGELES  — Steven Mitchell and Deontay Burnett caught two touchdown passes apiece from Sam Darnold, and No. 6 Southern California extended its winning streak to 11 games with a bruising 42-24 victory over No. 14 Stanford on Saturday night.

Darnold went 21 of 26 with 316 yards passing for the Trojans (2-0, 1-0 Pac-12), who snapped their three-game losing streak in this California private-school rivalry. USC racked up 623 total yards and won the first Pac-12 game of the new season by beating the hard-nosed Cardinal (1-1, 0-1) at their own physical game.

Ronald Jones II rushed for 116 yards and scored a touchdown in his ninth consecutive game as USC excelled at Stanford's traditional strengths, running the ball for 307 yards and controlling both lines of scrimmage. Turnovers and penalties by the Trojans kept it fairly close, but freshman Stephen Carr added 119 yards rushing, and Jones cartwheeled into the end zone with a clinching 23-yard TD run with 4:15 to play.

Keller Chryst passed for 172 yards and two touchdowns, while Bryce Love had a 75-yard TD run among his 160 yards rushing for the Cardinal, who hadn't played since their season-opening win over Rice in Australia last month.

After a scoreless third quarter, USC made a 90-yard scoring drive capped by Mitchell's second TD on a feathery 11-yard TD pass by Darnold with 9:42 to play. Stanford stayed close with J.J. Arcega-Whiteside's TD catch with 6:41 to play, but Jones' incredible second TD run capped a smooth 75-yard drive in USC's 11th consecutive win at the Coliseum.

Stanford had won eight of its last 11 meetings with USC in a dominant stretch that began with its historic 2007 upset victory at the Coliseum.

After USC scored 49 points in its season opener, Darnold's offense again was in fine form from the start. USC scored four touchdowns on five lengthy drives in the first half, with Darnold hitting Burnett for two of his three TD passes.

USC moved 74 yards on two plays late in the half to take a 28-17 lead on Burnett's leaping 25-yard TD grab.

THE TAKEAWAY

Stanford: That 62-point performance in the season opener Down Under was impossible to replicate against a top Pac-12 defense, and the Cardinal's offense will know it must add versatility to the attack. Stanford's defense also had big problems at the line of scrimmage, and that isn't a problem with which the Cardinal have much experience.

USC: This talent-laden offense has appeared to have the makings of a juggernaut so far. Darnold returned to 2016 form with a smooth, poised performance against a vaunted conference opponent, while the Trojans' receivers appear to be much more reliable than coach Clay Helton feared. USC's defense also stepped up after halftime and shut down one of the Pac-12's best.

UP NEXT

Stanford: The Cardinal's three-game stretch away from home to open the season concludes at San Diego State.

USC: The Trojans welcome Texas to the Coliseum for a meeting of two powerhouse programs.