No. 21 SMC faces BYU looking to stay perfect in WCC


No. 21 SMC faces BYU looking to stay perfect in WCC

BYU (18-5) vs.SAINT MARY'S (20-2)6 p.m.

BYU and Saint Mary's are the top scoring teams in the West Coast Conference, so it's no surprise their first meeting turned into a high-scoring affair.

Lately, though, each has been winning with solid defensive efforts.

The conference-leading and 21st-ranked Gaels look for a regular-season sweep of the third-place Cougars when the teams meet Saturday night in Provo, Utah.

St. Mary's (20-2, 9-0) has won 10 straight after defeating Loyola Marymount 71-64 on Thursday, marking the fourth time in five games it held the opposition to less than 65 points.

The Gaels are allowing a WCC-low 60.1 points per game.

Stephen Holt scored in double figures for a sixth straight game with 19 points, raising his season average to 10.8, and Rob Jones posted his fourth consecutive double-double. Leading scorer Matthew Dellavedova (15.7 ppg) had a season-low four field-goal attempts and finished with 13 points.

"That's just the kind of team we are," Holt said. "(Thursday) just happened to be my night but we have a lot of veterans on this team who can step up. I'm really proud of my teammates."

BYU (18-5, 6-2) is coming off a 70-68 non-conference win at Virginia Tech on Wednesday, as Brock Zylstra hit the go-ahead 3-pointer with 26 seconds left.

Noah Hartsock had 22 points and Brandon Davies added 17 for BYU, which averages 79.6 points to lead the WCC.

"(The game) should give us a lot of confidence in our ability to be able to rely on each other and trust each other as we continue to try and be more competitive," coach David Rose told the team's official website.

The Cougars have rebounded from an 82-68 home loss to Loyola Marymount on Jan. 19 by winning back-to-back road games, holding each opponent under 70 points. They'll likely need a better defensive effort against St. Mary's this time around.

The Gaels won the first meeting 98-82 on Dec. 29 as Jones had 24 points and 15 rebounds, Holt scored 21 and Dellavedova added 18 with 12 assists.

It marked the most points BYU has allowed since a 110-104 win over Nevada on Dec. 22, 2009, and far more than the 65.3 points per game it currently allows. The Cougars are 13-0 when holding teams to 65 or less.

Davies scored a career-high 28 points last month against the Gaels, though Rose must hope the defense improves in this matchup.

"You challenge your guys to go and compete. When things aren't going well right now we still have to defend and this thing will turn," Rose said. "And when it turns we all have to be on the same page and just try to do everything we can do to win."

St. Mary's also allowed a season high for points in the first meeting, though it has held 17 of its 22 opponents to 70 or fewer.

The Gaels rank second in the WCC in scoring at 76.5 points per game. Their only two losses came when they were held below 60.

"We have a veteran group with really, really solid leadership," assistant coach Rick Croy said. "These guys understand what it takes to win in this conference."

St. Mary's is 5-1 in true road games, with the only blemish being a 70-58 loss at Denver on Nov. 23.

BYU is looking to avoid suffering back-to-back home losses for the first time since 2005.

Pac-12 basketball teams near Barcelona terrorist attack safe


Pac-12 basketball teams near Barcelona terrorist attack safe

Men's basketball teams from Oregon State, Clemson and Arizona were staying at a hotel in Barcelona, Spain, near where a van drove into pedestrians on Thursday, but team officials said everyone was safe.

Spanish police have confirmed they are investigating the bloodshed in Barcelona's historic Las Ramblas district as a terror attack. The area is a popular summer tourist spot.

Tulane also was playing in Barcelona, but it was unclear if they were staying in the same hotel as the other teams.

Oregon State assistant coach Gregg Gottlieb posted to Facebook: "We are all luckily ok. Our hotel/restaurant is located right on Las Ramblas. This tragedy happened right in front of us as our team just sat down for pregame meal. Thoughts and prayers for all those that are were hurt."

The Beavers' game Thursday night was canceled. It was supposed to be the first of a five-game tour.

Clemson was scheduled to play Thursday night against a Spanish All-Star team.

"We've been in contact with our men's basketball program currently in Barcelona and the entire travel party is safe and secure. Their exhibition game for tonight has been cancelled and the team will return to Clemson as previously scheduled tomorrow morning. Our thoughts are with the people of Barcelona," the South Carolina school said in a statement.

Clemson coach Brad Brownell confirmed in a text to The Associated Press that the three teams were staying in the same hotel.

"We are fine. Thankful to be safe and together," Brownell wrote.

Tulane athletic director Troy Tannen confirmed via social media that the Green Wave players and staff were safe.

Replying to a Twitter inquiry from a Portland television about whether the team was OK, Oregon State head coach Wayne Tinkle responded: "Yes we are, happened directly in front of our hotel while we were having a team meal in the restaurant, so senseless and sad! All accounted4."

Oregon State said it has not yet determined the remaining schedule for the team, which was supposed to be on the exhibition tour until Aug. 25.

A spokesman for Arizona said the Wildcats have canceled their third and final exhibition of their tour and "are currently working on travel plans to return home."

The future of Cal athletics, or lack thereof


The future of Cal athletics, or lack thereof

Your education dollars are always at work, so it is with pride and bewilderment that we report that the University of California’s incoming class (2021, for those few who can get out in four years) marched to Memorial Stadium and formed the world’s largest human letter.
It was . . . wait for it . . . a “C.” A 7,196-person-strong “C.”
But the school, as it occasionally does, missed a golden opportunity to seize a golden opportunity. All they needed to do was have a quick whip-round, get $55,586.44 from each and every one of the captives . . . er, students, and they could have wiped out their entire athletics deficit in one night.
You see, while forming gigantic letters is always fun (or as the kids used to say when double negatives didn’t mean voting, never not fun), Cal is staring at quite possibly the bleakest future a major athletic university ever has. The athletic department, whose chief officer, Mike Williams, has just announced his intention to quit, is over $400 million in debt between construction costs, ambition, shrinking allegiance and the absence of a Phil Knight-level sugar daddy to buy the pain away.
And before you blame Williams, he inherited this indigestible planetoid from his predecessor, Sandy Barbour, who grew it from her predecessor, Steve Gladstone, and hastened it from . . . well, you get the drift. 
Cal’s been blowing through money it hasn’t been taking in for years upon years, didn’t realize the deficit-cutting benefits of the Pac-12 Network (because they largely don’t exist), and the day of reckoning looms closer and closer, especially now that new chancellor Carol Christ (no apparent relation) described the deficit as “corrosive” and has insisted that the athletic department have a balanced budget by 2020.
In short, the school may only be able to afford a lower-case “C” before too long. Maybe in comic sans.