SJSU's Fales breaks three school records in win over BYU

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SJSU's Fales breaks three school records in win over BYU

SJSU may have lost out on hopes for a Western Athletic Conference title before Saturday nights matchup against Brigham-Young University began, but it didnt show on the field. Utah State defeated Louisiana Tech earlier Saturday to almost assuredly wrap up the WAC championship unless it loses to Idaho next week but the Spartans looked like they could care less by adding a convincing 20-14 win at home on national television over BYU to their bowl resume. One of our coaches always talks about euphoria I think I know the definition of euphoria now, said linebacker David Tuitupolou about the win. The Spartans (9-2, 4-1 WAC) did not score in the second half and allowed BYU (6-5) to crawl within a touchdown late in the fourth quarter. Cougars quarterback Riley Nelson narrowly escaped a sack and found wide receiver David Foote to reduce SJSUs lead to 20-14.BYU successfully converted an onside kick attempt following the touchdown and began a would-be game-winning drive with 2:36 left in the game. The Cougars were able to get to the SJSU 21 yard line before Spartan linebacker Keith Smith broke through the BYU offensive line to force a fumble, which was recovered by linebacker Vince Buhagiar to seal the victory. It was a blur, said Smith, who tied a career high with 19 tackles, about his forced fumble. I was in my zone and coach called a blitz and it ran to perfection. It just so happened to come my way ... It was like a dream especially how it just came my way.Head coach Mike MacIntyre said the team did not tire despite the defense having to return to the field following the BYU onside kick.The energy our kids got in that last part there, because you could think they could have gone dead-legged you could see the momentum turn but they just rose, he said.SJSU played one of the most complete first halves it has played all season and against its most demanding opponent. At one point, SJSU converted each of its first eight third down plays. The Spartans, however, were 0-8 on from then on. Quarterback David Fales threw a touchdown pass on each of the Spartans first three drives of the evening, two of which rewrote SJSU football record books. It didnt take Fales long either he broke the records in the span of his first ten passes. Fales third pass yielded the games first score, a 51-yard touchdown to Noel Grigsby. The deep strike was Fales 26th touchdown pass of the season, breaking Steve Clarksons record set in 1981. Fales tenth pass of the game, an 8-yard touchdown to Chandler Jones, broke the school single-season record for passing yards, set by Mike Perez in 1987. Fales now has 3,431 passing yards after Saturdays game, also an SJSU single-season record for total offense. Im speechless, Fales said of his newly acquired records at SJSU, but its our entire offense not just me. We were recognizing and seeing what they were doing and we were making good reads. Receivers ran good routes and got open. We just executed what we had in our game plan.Fales finished the game with 305 yards on 25-34 passing and the 3 touchdowns.The BYU defense, which surpassed season averages by allowing 20 points and 294 yards to SJSU by halftime, buckled down during halftime and came out much stronger to begin the second half. The Cougars sacked Fales twice on the Spartans second-half opening possession. SJSU hadnt allowed a sack since its Oct. 13 loss to Utah State, who brought down Fales 13 times in the game. BYU went on to allow just 63 total yards to SJSU in the third quarter alone. After converting their first eight third-down attempts, the Spartans were unable to convert on five straight third down plays stretching from the end of the second quarter into the fourth. The Cougars responded by scoring on their first possession of the game as well. They put together a 9-play, 79-yard drive capped by a Jamaal Williams 16-yard touchdown run, setting the score at 7-6 in favor of BYU. Fales collected his third touchdown of the game on a 18-yard completion to Noel Grigsby with 13:23 left in the second half to make the score 20-17. The Spartan defense buckled down in the first half after allowing the Cougars to score on their first possession. BYU gained just 61 yards from scrimmage from their second possession through halftime. I think if you told anybody in American wed be 9-2 at this point not many would agree with you except for the guys in our locker room, MacIntyre said. As far as next weeks game, youd like to play for the WAC but instead were playing for 10 wins.The SJSU football program has never seen a 10-win team during the regular season. Should the Spartans defeat Louisiana Tech next week then win a bowl game if they are invited, it will be the first SJSU team in school history to win 11 games. Congrats to Utah State, but no question about it next week it still a big game for us, said Grigsby, who caught 8 passes for 132 yards and 2 touchdowns Saturday night. We want a 10-win season 10-3 sounds a lot better than 9-3.

Rahon's season-high paces Saint Mary's rout of Pepperdine

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AP

Rahon's season-high paces Saint Mary's rout of Pepperdine

BOX SCORE

MORAGA -- Saint Mary's guard Joe Rahon shook his head in disbelief and shrugged his shoulders while running back on defense after getting blocked by Pepperdine's Chris Reyes midway through the second half.

It was one of the few things that didn't go Rahon's way in the Gaels' second straight blowout win.

Rahon scored 17 of his season-high 22 points in the first half and No. 23 Saint Mary's beat Pepperdine 85-65 on Saturday night.

"Our team's all about the open guy takes the shot and tonight I was able to get in the lane and make a few layups to get a rhythm going," Rahon said after shooting 9 of 13 with three 3-pointers. "That's kind of what makes us good offensively. We're unselfish and we don't really care who gets all the credit."

Rahon had plenty of support while helping Gaels coach Randy Bennett to his 350th career win.

Calvin Hermanson added 19 points and Jock Landale had 15 points and 10 rebounds as the Gaels (17-2, 7-1 West Coast Conference) led by double figures nearly the entire second half.

It was also a nice bounceback for Saint Mary's, which lost to Pepperdine twice during the regular season in 2016 before knocking the Waves out of the postseason conference tournament.

"Our guys definitely knew that," Bennett said. "We respected them because they'd gotten us three times in the last three years. Not many teams have. They have."

It wasn't as close this time around despite another big night from Pepperdine's Lamond Murray Jr., who scored 29 points on 12-of-20 shooting. It's the fifth consecutive game in which Murray has had at least 23.

The Waves (5-15, 1-7) couldn't keep pace with the Gaels' big three of Rahon, Hermanson and Landale. The trio accounted for 66 percent of Saint Mary's points and teamed for 18 rebounds and 11 assists.

After Pepperdine pulled within 72-63 on Murray's basket with 4:48 remaining, Rahon made one of two free throws, Emmet Naar had a 3-pointer and Rahon scored on a driving layup to help the Gaels to the win before a packed house at McKeon Pavilion.

"That's where playing together all last year helps," Rahon said. "You've been in the situation so many times that you look around and no one's rattled, no one's losing their confidence. We just have a lot of composed guys on our team."

Rahon, whose previous season high was 14 points, made seven of his first nine shots to eclipse that mark before halftime. Hermanson added 15 points, including an emphatic dunk on a baseline drive while Landale scored 11 points to give Saint Mary's a 47-33 lead.

MURRAY'S GROWTH:
Bennett has never coached Murray, only against him, but the Gaels coach sounded like a proud father after watching the Waves' leading scorer repeatedly torch his team's defense. "He's a really good player now," Bennett said. "He's as good a scorer as there is in our league. I think he's the best scorer in the league. It's just fun to see guys improve like that. He's made a big jump."

BIG PICTURE:
Pepperdine: The Waves have lost five straight and 14 of 15. ... Nolan Taylor's 3-pointer in the first half was the first of the season for the 6-foot-7, 250-pound freshman forward. ... Two days after becoming the school's career assists leader, Major was held without one for the first 14 1/2 minutes against Saint Mary's.

Saint Mary's: The Gaels responded to last week's loss to No. 4 Gonzaga with a pair of blowout wins at home, exactly the way Bennett expected. They have one more home game before playing four straight on the road. ... The 85 points are the Gaels' second-most this season.

POLL IMPLICATIONS:
Saint Mary's is likely to move up a few spots after three of the eight teams in front of the Gaels lost at least once this week.

UP NEXT:
Pepperdine: Returns home to host Portland on Thursday night.

Saint Mary's: Closes out its three-game homestand against San Francisco on Jan. 26. The Gaels won the first matchup between the two teams earlier this season 63-52 at Memorial Gym.

Rabb bounces back, leads Cal past Oregon State

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AP

Rabb bounces back, leads Cal past Oregon State

BOX SCORE

CORVALLIS, Ore. -- California sophomore Ivan Rabb rebounded from a disappointing game against Oregon with 18 points against Oregon State.

Rabb added eight rebounds and the Golden Bears handed the Beavers their seventh straight loss with a 69-58 victory Saturday night.

Rabb, who had been averaging 15.4 points in conference play, was held to an uncharacteristic four points in Cal's 86-63 loss to the No. 11 Ducks.

"Shots weren't dropping and I wasn't getting to the free-throw line," Rabb said. "But tonight I made an effort to get to the line, knock down shots, and just be more patient on the block. Overall, my teammates played better, I played better and we were way better as a team."

Charlie Moore added 15 for Cal, (14-6, 5-3 Pac-12), which led the Beavers by as many as 14 points after a close first half. Jabari Bird and Grant Mullins each added 12 for the Bears, who were coming off the loss to the Ducks but have won four of their last five games.

Drew Eubanks had 22 points and 10 rebounds for Oregon State (4-16, 0-7). Stephen Thompson Jr. added 19 points for his 13th straight game in double figures.

The Beavers have struggled without top scorer Tres Tinkle, who was averaging 20.2 points a game before he broke his right wrist on Nov. 25 against Fresno State. Tinkle has missed 14 games.

"I just think we have more bodies with more experience," Cal coach Cuonzo Martin said. "Not that they didn't play hard - they have a lot of talent, they have young talent. Of course they're missing key players - probably one of the best players in our league in Tres - but we knew they'd make plays. We knew Stevie as well as Drew were good enough to carry those guys. We just had to utilize our experience, our older guys and also our bodies, try to run in transition and ultimately get to Ivan Rabb to make plays."

Cal led most of the first half but the Beavers kept up. Thompson's layup and free throw pulled Oregon State within 15-14 before Moore answered with a layup for the Bears on the other end.

Mullins' 3-pointer and Kingsley Okoroh's dunk put the Bears up 20-16. Bird's 3 extended the lead to 34-25 but Oregon State closed the gap late in the half and trailed 34-29 at halftime. Eubanks led all scorers at the break with 12.

The Beavers got within 38-34 on JaQuori McLaughlin's layup and free throw. It was as close as Oregon State would come and Bird made a 3-pointer that pushed California's lead to 48-36 with 12:42 to go.

"It's tough to say we're making strides, but we did some positive things," Oregon State coach Wayne Tinkle said. "I'm proud of the guys for their effort but I've got to do some searching here because I'm having a hard time getting these guys to focus for 40 minutes. That's on me. I've got to do a better job, because we're still continuing to shoot ourselves in the foot, and we're a ways in the season."

The two teams split the regular season series last year, and Cal beat Oregon State 76-68 in the Pac-12 tournament last season. Cal had won eight of the last 12 meetings going into Saturday's game.

BIG PICTURE:
California: With his first 3-pointer early in the opening half, Bird upped his career total to 154, surpassing Randy Duck (1994-97) for 10th place on Cal's all-time list.

Oregon State: Oregon State players have missed 42 games due to injuries this season. In addition to Tinkle, center Cheikh N'diaye is out indefinitely with a left shoulder injury. Eubanks has a sore thigh that's bothering him. ... Oregon State was coming off a 62-46 loss at home to Stanford on Thursday.

BREAK TIME:
Cal has eight days off before they host rival Stanford. While the break is nice, Rabb was already eager to play the Cardinal.

"Yeah, we're looking forward to it," Rabb said. "It's a rivalry game. It's going to be a high energy game. It's going to be a great atmosphere at Hass Pavilion."

UP NEXT:
California: The Golden Bears return home to face rival Stanford next Sunday. The Cardinal fell 69-52 to Oregon earlier on Saturday.

Oregon State: The Beavers visit Colorado on Thursday.