PROVO -- It was an opportunity for the BYU Cougars to continue the momentum they gained with a win over Virginia Tech and set the table for a Thursday matchup against Gonzaga, but instead it turned into a dominating performance by the St. Mary's Gaels in Provo. The Gaels came to the Marriott Center and controlled from start to finish in an 80-66 win. The loss for BYU clearly leaves them on the bubble for an NCAA tournament bid.
St. Mary's was able to control the glass and shoot the lights out and get big contributions from the bench. Clint Steindl scored 16 points off the pine including 4-6 from beyond the arch; all his field goal attempts were from three-point range. BYU continued its shooting woes from three-point land. The Cougars were 2-13, good for just 15.4 percent. Noah Hartsock and Matt Carlino scored 15 apiece to lead the way for BYU.
The Cougars are now off until Thursday when they get a huge chance to boost their RPI and make some noise for March when No. 24 Gonzaga comes to Provo. Gonzaga has a No. 18 right now in RPI. Listen on KSL Newsradio 1160 AM & 102.7 FM and the BYU Radio Sports Network. The Pre-game Thursday, starts at 8:00 p.m. followed by the tip-off at 9:00 p.m.
Best Division-1 teams in the State of Utah
- BYU (18-6), three home losses this year. Huge game Thursday against No. 24 Gonzaga in Provo.
- Weber State (16-4), 8-1 in the Big Sky, first conference loss last Saturday at Idaho State.
- Utah State (12-10), Back-to-back wins at home against Hawaii and SJSU.
- UVU (13-10), have won six straight. Next up, four straight on the road.
- Southern Utah (12-10), 7-5 in the Summit League, winners of three straight.
- Utah (5-16), Awful against UCLA and USC on the road. Blown out in both games.
Names to watch in the West Coast Conference
- This week's Player of the Week in the West Coast
Conference: "San Francisco junior forward Perris
Blackwell is the West Coast Conference Player of the Week.
Blackwell led the surging Dons to an undefeated week, with
victories at Santa Clara and over San Diego. For the week,
Blackwell averaged 22.5 points on .667 (18-of-27)
shooting, with 6.5 rebounds per game. Blackwell converted
on 8-of-11 field goal attempts at Santa Clara, and turned
in a career-high with 26 points against the Toreros on
- BYU has freshman Matt Carlino and No. 24 Gonzaga has freshman Kevin Pangos. Watch for this matchup on Thursday when the two teams meet in Provo. Pangos averages 13.3 pts (2nd on the team, Harris 13.6), attempts an average of six three's and dishes out 3.6 assists per game. Should be a great match-up between the two freshmen.
Games to watch in the WCC
- Loyola Marymount and San Francisco play Saturday
in Los Angeles. The Dons sit in 5th right now in the
WCC and pretty much need a ‘W' to keep pace if they want
to move up in the Conference standings. They are two back
in the loss column of both BYU and LMU. The Lions have
struggled at home so a big chance for San Francisco.
- This could go under National noise or Games to watch, but two WCC teams will be part of the Bracketbuster event. From the WCC: "Two West Coast Conference teams will participate in the tenth annual Sears BracketBusters - a two-day men's college basketball event pitting potential NCAA Tournament hopefuls against each other Feb. 17-18. On Monday, the entire Sears BracketBusters field was announced. No. 16 Saint Mary's (20-2) will visit No. 9 Murray State (21-0) in the field's marquee match-up. The Gaels will battle the nation's lone undefeated team on Feb. 18 at 6 p.m. EST in a nationally televised game on ESPN or ESPN2. Loyola Marymount (13-9) will host Valparaiso (15-8) in the first national TV contest in this year's event, as the Lions and Crusaders will tip off at 6 p.m. PST from Gersten Pavilion on February 17 on ESPNU."
The National Rankings continue to be turned upside down….
- Big week for teams on the bubble wanting to make a
statement and get some attention from the NCCA committee.
Seton Hall (15-6), Arkansas (15-6), Texas A&M (12-8) and
Purdue (15-7) all with matchups against Top 25 teams.
- Murray State is still undefeated and moved up in the
polls over the weekend. Now, No. 9 in the Coaches poll
and No. 10 in the AP poll. The Racers are 21-0 and the
last of the "undefeated."
- Top games of the week. The BIG-10 leads the way with
three top end games starting Wednesday in Ann Arbor. No.
23 Michigan (16-6) hosts No. 20 Indiana (17-5) at the
Crisler Center. Saturday has No. 3 Ohio State (19-3) and
No. 19 Wisconsin (17-5) and then things go in-state when
#20 Michigan heads to East Lansing to play No. 9 Michigan
- The SEC has No. 25 Vanderbilt (16-5) in Gainesville Saturday to play No. 14 Florida (17-4).
- The best game of the week should be Saturday night in
Columbia, MO. The No. 8 Jayhawks of Kansas (17-4) will
battle No. 4 Missouri (20-2). 7 p.m. Mountain time for
- Huge win this past Saturday for Colorado State (14-6).
I think the Rams still have some work to do, but they
really helped their cause pummeling San Diego State 77-60
in Fort Collins. Next up a trip to Las Vegas on Wednesday
and a battle with No. 11 UNLV.
- Weekend upsets included then No. 5 Kansas losing to Iowa State and then No. 9 Georgetown losing to PITT.
- Former BYU foe UNLV went to overtime Saturday at Clune Arena against the Air Force Falcons prevailing 65-63 in the extra time.