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

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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.

Four players score in double figures, Stanford takes down Oregon State

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AP

Four players score in double figures, Stanford takes down Oregon State

BOX SCORE

STANFORD -- Even though Stanford has been buried in the lower half of the Pac-12 standings all season, Reid Travis isn't so sure his team is an underdog against No. 6 Oregon.

That might be a stretch considering the Ducks are making a run at the conference title but that didn't seem to matter to Travis.

"The way we're playing now is great for this time of year," Travis said following Stanford's 79-66 win over Oregon State on Wednesday. "I feel like we're really taking off. Even though our record doesn't reflect it I really do feel that we're one of the top teams so take that as you want to."

Travis had 17 points and eight rebounds to lead four players in double figures. Marcus Allen also scored 17, Dorian Pickens added 15 and Robert Cartwright had 10 as the Cardinal beat the Beavers for the 21st time in the last 23 games between the two teams at Maples Pavilion.

Stanford (14-13, 6-9 Pac-12) led by as many as 25 but had to hold on after Oregon State (5-24, 1-15) pulled within 74-63 with 3:28 left on JaQuori McLaughlin's 3-pointer.

Allen and Pickens scored back-to-back buckets for Stanford, and after Stephen Thompson's putback for Oregon State, Pickens made a 3-pointer.

"We're pointing in the right direction on both ends of the floor," Allen said. "Guys are getting good looks . and on defense we're more active. Hopefully that continues."

Drew Eubanks had 21 points and 14 rebounds for Oregon State. Gligorije Rakocevic added a season-high 16 points for the Beavers, who couldn't follow up after beating Utah last week for their first conference win of the season.

Stanford built a quick double-digit lead despite a strong start by Rakocevic. The 6-foot-11-foot center, averaging 3.8 points going into the game, matched his season high in the first half while scoring 12 points on 6 of 8 shooting.

The Cardinal countered with a more balanced attack after adjusting to the Beavers' zone defense. Travis, Allen, Cartwright and Pickens combined for 32 points in the first half to help Stanford take a 43-33 lead.

The Cardinal also controlled the boards while outscoring the Beavers 46-22 in the paint.

"For us to be at our best we're going to score from the free throw line, like we did in the Cal game, or score around the basket," Stanford coach Jerod Haase said. "Smash-mouth is a football term but if it was a basketball term I think that would be a good word for us."

Travis got Stanford going again after halftime and helped push the Cardinal lead to 69-44.

Eubanks nearly brought Oregon State back. He scored 17 points in the second half, including 13 of the Beavers' first 20.

BIG PICTURE

Oregon State: The Beavers hopes of winning back-to-back games for the first time since beating Prairie View A&M and Texas-San Antonio to open the season didn't last long. They didn't play poorly - Oregon State shot close to 47 percent most of the night - but couldn't match Stanford's run coming out of halftime and never recovered.

Stanford: The win pushed the Cardinal into a tie for seventh place in the Pac-12, still nowhere near enough to get a first-round bye in the conference tournament. The outcome was never in doubt, but Haase was concerned about Stanford's mental approach.

DOUBLE TECHS

Eubanks and Travis were both hit with technical fouls after a heated exchange in the second half. Although no punches were thrown, Eubanks suffered a bloody nose during the incident and had to be treated near the Beavers' bench.

"We're trying to go at each other as hard as possible so of course there's different plays where a lot of contact happens," Travis said. "I like that. That's how competitors act and we just moved on from it. Unfortunately they called a technical on both of us. I'd like to see us play on in that sense."

UP NEXT

Oregon State: Plays at California on Friday night.

Stanford: Hosts No. 6 Oregon on Saturday in the final regular season home at Maples Pavilion this year. The Ducks beat the Cardinal 69-52 on Jan. 21.

Cal blows huge halftime lead, dropped by Oregon on Brooks' game-winner

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AP

Cal blows huge halftime lead, dropped by Oregon on Brooks' game-winner

BOX SCORE

BERKELEY -- Dylan Brooks hit a 3-pointer with 0.2 seconds to play to cap a comeback from 16 points down and No. 6 Oregon beat California 68-65 on Wednesday night to keep its hopes alive for a Pac-12 title.

The Ducks (25-4, 14-2) trailed by 16 points early in the second half and were down 10 with just over 4 minutes left before rallying for the win that moved them a half-game behind Arizona for first place in the conference. Oregon holds the tiebreaker.

Brooks led the Ducks with 22 points and Chris Boucher added 18.

Jabari Bird scored 20 points to lead the way for the Golden Bears (18-9, 9-6), whose hopes for an NCAA Tournament berth were dealt a big blow with this loss.

Consecutive 3-pointers by Boucher, Dylan Ennis and Payton Pritchard cut Cal's 10-point lead to one with just under 3 minutes left. Boucher then gave the Ducks their first lead of the game with a layup that made it 62-61 with 1:48 to go.

Grant Mullins and Brooks traded jumpers before Bird missed a contested 3-pointer with 28 seconds to go. Tyler Dorsey hit one free throw before Ivan Rabb tied the game with a putback of his own miss with 9.7 seconds to play.

That set the stage for Brooks, who hit the 3 that set off a wild celebration for the Ducks.

BIG PICTURE

Oregon: The Ducks finished the season undefeated at home where they have a nation's best 42-game winning streak. They need to prove they can win away from home if they want to have success in the postseason. This comeback win was a start but the task will only get tougher in the Pac-12 and NCAA Tournaments.

California: The Bears had been seeking a signature win to boost their hopes for an at-large bid to the NCAA Tournament. But they blew the lead and a chance at that win as they fell to 1-6 against ranked teams with the only win coming last month at then-No. 25 USC. Cal could get another shot at a top team next month in the Pac-12 Tournament.

UP NEXT

Oregon: Visits Stanford on Saturday.

California: Hosts Oregon State on Friday.