Saint Mary’s guard Matthew Dellavedova’s scoring average has dropped from 17.4 in nonconference games to 13.9 in conference. His field-goal percentages have slipped from 46.3 to 39, including 42.1 to 34.3 on 3-pointers, but the Gaels have developed other scoring options.
The first Gonzaga-Saint Mary’s game last month was a prime example. Dellavedova was limited to 14 points, but Stephen Holt scored a career-high 23, Beau Levesque added 14 points in 17 minutes before fouling out and the big-man trio of Brad Waldow, Mitchell Young and Kyle Rowley combined for 25 points and 16 rebounds.
“If you want to keep Matt from scoring you can,” said Saint Mary’s coach Randy Bennett, whose team entertains GU tonight. “It’s just some of the other guys can hurt you and Matt has gotten better at trusting that, too.”
Dellavedova played for Australia in the London Olympics and Bennett has attempted to lighten Dellavedova’s workload in WCC games after noticing the senior guard appeared worn down.
Dead end avoided
Eastern Washington’s detour-filled season was headed for a dead end last weekend at Northern Arizona, where the hosts were on the verge of taking a three-game lead for the last spot in the Big Sky Conference tournament.
Down by 18 points with 7 ½ minues left and without a road win all season, EWU coach Jim Hayford called a timeout.
“I said, ‘Don’t go on the court if you don’t think we can win this game,’ ” Hayford said.
Seldom-used redshirt freshman guard Tyler Harvey scored 14 points in 8 ½ minutes as the Eagles won to pull within a game of NAU in the standings.
“He’s one of the hardest-working players on the team,” Hayford said.
Harvey will start the game on the bench Saturday against Southern Utah, but Hayford said Harvey “may get in the game a bit sooner this time.”
Big step up
This isn’t something Bryce Leavitt is used to.
The freshman walk-on from Kennewick noted Wednesday following WSU’s 67-66 loss to Oregon State that he hadn’t played more than six minutes in a Pac-12 game this season. He played 25 against the Beavers, tallying five assists while committing just one turnover.
His presence on the court was lauded by coach Ken Bone. It was Leavitt’s smart dribble-drives and passes that helped the Cougars overcome OSU’s smothering trapping pressure.
Leavitt said he was tired afterward, but it was a feeling he relished.
“It was a big step up,” said Leavitt, who at one point shared the backcourt with fellow walk-on Dominic Ballard. “But I was excited for the challenge.”