Gonzaga, the West Coast Conference champion for the last 11 seasons, and conference newcomer Brigham Young trail Saint Mary’s by a game. GU and BYU will play twice in February. Saint Mary’s still faces road tests at Gonzaga and BYU.
“We played as hard as we ever have at their place,” San Francisco coach Rex Walters said of his Dons’ 87-72 loss to Saint Mary’s. “We played well. They played a lot better.”
San Francisco entertains BYU, GU and Saint Mary’s to close the regular season.
“It’s not a sprint, it’s a marathon,” Walters said. “Saint Mary’s is good. We haven’t played Gonzaga, but I’ve watched them and they’re very good, as is BYU. We’d like to have some say.”
In Vandals’ defense
As Idaho entered the Western Athletic Conference portion of its schedule, coach Don Verlin was confident he had a solid shooting team. It was the free-throw line that had been a problem.
But through four conference games, the Vandals have shot a conference-best 82.6 percent from the stripe – while their field-goal shooting has dropped off.
Offensive inconsistency notwithstanding, Verlin’s biggest worry now is UI’s defense. The club is allowing WAC competition to shoot 51 percent from the floor.
“We’ve got to get better defensively,” the fourth-year coach said. “We’ve got to be more efficient offensively. We’ve cleaned up a few areas, but we’ve got to get back what we do well – we’ve got to defend it.”
Snow day in Pullman
Washington State is finally getting its snow day, but tonight’s game against Stanford is still scheduled to start on time.
The school issued an alert Wednesday afternoon informing the WSU community that it has suspended operations for today because of inclement weather.
In light of the snow, the athletic department is selling all lower-bowl tickets for tonight’s game for $10 – a “snow day special,” as the school’s website is calling it.
WSU junior guard Mike Ladd is doubtful to play this weekend with a right thumb injury. Coach Ken Bone said Ladd reaggravated an earlier injury, but is also feeling discomfort on both sides of the thumb joint, as opposed to just one side before.
The injury forced Ladd to sit out Sunday’s loss to Washington. He is averaging four points, two rebounds and 15.4 minutes per game.
His previous injury caused him to miss five games.