Ray's Top 25: Stanford takes big leap


Ray's Top 25: Stanford takes big leap

Every week, our Senior Decider votes in the Associated Press Top 25 poll, which of course makes all other opinions both superfluous and valueless.

RELATED: Stanford's standing improves in BCS chaos

1 OREGON Finally up a service break. Up next, thre meat of schedule -- Stanford and Oregon State 2 KANSAS STATE The odd one out if Notre Dame can flex its BCS muscle. Up next -- at Baylor 3 NOTRE DAME Hard on the eyes, easy on the resume. Up next -- Wake Forest, a schdudle strength problem 4 OHIO STATE If Urban Meyer enjoys hunting in January, the animals will flee in terror. Up next -- at Wisconsin 5 ALABAMA Well, ain't that a kick in the head? Up next -- Western Carolina 6 TEXAS A&M Say it slowly, Deshazor Everett . . . Deshazor Everett . . . Deshazor Everett. Up next -- Sam Houston State 7 GEORGIA Well, they won their half of the bracket. Next up -- Georgia Southern. And yes, the SEC is taking the week off 8 FLORIDA Louisnana Lafayette is a good team. Just not that good. Up next -- Jacksonville State 9 FLORIDA STATE I remember when winning at Virginia Tech was a big deal. Up next -- at Maryland 10 SOUTH CAROLINA Arkansas, feh. Up next -- Wofford. And when the SEC takes the week off, it takes the week off. 11 CLEMSON Dabo Swinney still wants to drown Steve Spurrier in a puddle. Up next -- North Carolina State 12 LOUISIANA STATE Mississippi State got the good LSU. Up next -- Mississippi, an actual SEC team. 13 STANFORD This may be a rental because . . . Up next, at Oregon 14 LOUISVILLE Syracuse? Really? Syracuse? Yes, Syracuse. Up next -- wailing and gnashing of teeth 15 OKLAHOMA Baylor got to linger longer than it should have. Up next -- at West Virginia 16 OREGON STATE Oh, well, another year, another not-Rose Bowl. Up next -- California 17 KENT STATE The one MAC survivor. Up next -- at Bowling Green 18 TEXAS Darrell Royal approved of the trick Wishbone play to start Saturday's game. Up next -- a round of whist 19 RUTGERS Disrespected our fighting men. Up next -- at Cincinnati 20 NORTHERN ILLINOIS An excellent bye week, in that they stayed out of the news. Up next -- Toledo on Wednesday 21 UCLA Gave Washington State a bit too much respect. Up next -- USC, a team they never respect 22 LOUISIANA TECH Allowed 55 to Texas State, so Sonny Dykes isn't all that happy. Up next -- Utah State in a big one 23 NEBRASKA Okay, okay, I give up. They can come back and play. Up next -- Minnesota 24 TOLEDO David Letterman sang tearfully after the Rockets' failure. Up next -- at Northern Illinois 25 CINCINNATI Two losses, but one of them came to Toledo. Up next -- Rutgers

Hermanson scores 17, No. 22 Saint Mary's beats BYU 70-57


Hermanson scores 17, No. 22 Saint Mary's beats BYU 70-57

PROVO, Utah — Saint Mary's knows all about the raucous atmosphere at BYU. The Gaels hadn't won in Provo since 2013 and had only come out on top in three of their previous 12 trips.

Make it four out of 13.

Calvin Hermanson scored 17 points and No. 22 Saint Mary's cruised to a 70-57 victory over BYU on Saturday night, snapping a three-game road losing streak to its West Coast Conference rival.

"It's definitely one of the tougher places to play for us," Hermanson said. "Coming in here we know it's a huge crowd and we know they can get riled up on any 3-point shot or any run they make. We wanted to try to limit their runs and their big plays.

"The second half was pretty unbelievable how quiet the crowd was. It felt great for us."

With two games remaining on the regular-season schedule, the Gaels (24-3, 14-2) clinched a second-place finish in the conference standings behind top-ranked and undefeated Gonzaga.

Saint Mary's controlled the game most of the night, riding its staunch defense on one end and running efficient offense on the other. The Gaels were able to get to the rim consistently, but also knocked down 10 3-pointers.

BYU (19-10, 10-6) shot 39.7 percent from the field and connected on four 3s.

Evan Fitzner had 15 points for Saint Mary's, including 11 in the second half.

"We didn't turn the ball over and we shot the ball well," Gaels coach Randy Bennett said, "and were able to get some separation and then it made it tough on them. We kind of just wore them out after that.

"We're a little different team with Fitzner out there. He spaces the floor," Bennett added. "We just play a little different with Fitzner out there versus Jock (Landale). It's nice to have a Plan A and Plan B."

Saint Mary's took a 41-30 lead into halftime thanks to Hermanson's hot shooting and plenty of that trademark defense. The Gaels began the day ranked second in the nation in scoring defense, then held the Cougars to 37.9 percent shooting from the field in the first 20 minutes.

Saint Mary's shot 57.1 percent at the other end, including a 3-for-4 effort from Hermanson from behind the arc.

"I feel like we're better than we showed tonight," BYU guard TJ Haws said. "That team made a lot of runs on us. Tough defensive and offensive team. Very poised and disciplined.

"I want our team to just fight. When they punch us in the face, I want us to punch them right back."

BYU kept Landale under control in the half — and in foul trouble throughout — but Saint Mary's scored 22 of its 41 first-half points in the paint.

Eric Mika had 18 points for BYU, and Yoeli Childs added 13.

"The key to the game was that they were comfortable the entire time in our gym," BYU coach Dave Rose said. "That's on us. We need to be ahead. We need to get them to speed up a little bit because they're a little bit uncomfortable.

"But the game went pretty much exactly how they wanted it to go and we couldn't flip it. We couldn't get on top."


Saint Mary's: The Gaels will be the No. 2 seed in the WCC tournament. No. 1 Gonzaga secured the regular-season title Saturday with a win over Pacific. An early December defeat to UT-Arlington is the Gaels' only bad loss this season, with the other two coming against Gonzaga.

BYU: The Cougars likely needed a win against the No. 22 team in the country to make an argument for the NCAA Tournament off their regular-season credentials. BYU has lost all three games against ranked opponents by double digits, including to Saint Mary's twice, and doesn't have a signature win. The Cougars get one last chance against Gonzaga next Saturday.


No. 22 Saint Mary's might find itself moving up a bit after No. 17 Florida State and No. 21 South Carolina lost on Saturday.


Saint Mary's: Travel to face Pepperdine on Thursday.

BYU: Play at Portland on Thursday.

Pickens, Travis rally Stanford past rival Cal for upset win


Pickens, Travis rally Stanford past rival Cal for upset win


STANFORD -- Dorian Pickens scored 23 points, Reid Travis had 19 with nine rebounds and Stanford held on to beat California 73-68 on Friday night.

Marcus Allen added 11 points for the Cardinal, who overcame an early 12-point deficit to beat their cross-bay rivals for the 21st time in the last 24 meetings between the two teams at Maples Pavilion.

Stanford (13-13, 5-9 Pac-12) won for only the second time in seven games and split the season series with California.

Pickens had nine points, including a pair of 3-pointers, as part of a 20-5 run in the second half when the Cardinal pulled away.

After California closed within 62-56 on Grant Mullins' 3-pointer with 4:54 remaining, Allen made two free throws and Pickens scored on a jumper from the free-throw line as he was falling backward onto the court.

Jabari Bird scored 23 points and set a career-high with seven 3s for the Golden Bears (18-8, 9-5). Ivan Rabb added 16 points and 13 rebounds after being slowed by foul trouble in the first half.