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WCC Basketball News and Standings: Aidan Mahaney Game-Winner Lifts Saint Mary’s Over BYU

Even with a lighter WCC basketball schedule this past week, there was no shortage of highlights and compelling news stories. The clash between Saint Mary’s and BYU easily took home honors as the game of the week thanks to a thrilling finish. While true freshman Aidan Mahaney continues to make his mark for the Gaels, Gonzaga’s Julian Strawther and Loyola Marymount’s Cam Shelton also delivered big-time individual performances to lead their respective teams to wins over the weekend.

Let’s have a look at the top headlines from around the West Coast Conference. The following article also includes the updated WCC basketball standings as well as some key upcoming games to watch in the conference this week.

Aidan Mahaney WCC basketball news standings Saint Mary's Gaels
Credit: Saint Mary’s College Athletics

WCC Basketball News and Weekly Headlines

Aidan Mahaney Hits Game-Winner as Saint Mary’s Escapes BYU

One week out from its first head-to-head meeting against Gonzaga, Saint Mary’s basketball received its toughest conference test to date on Saturday night. Unlike many of their other WCC basketball games this season, the Gaels were unable to pull away from a feisty BYU squad on the road. After trailing by as many as 11 early on, the Cougars rallied to tie the game at 25 apiece at the break, thus setting the stage for the thrilling second half that transpired.

Saint Mary’s was able to build out to an eight-point lead six minutes after halftime before BYU once again came storming back. Gideon George canned a 3-pointer to bring the Cougars within two at the 9:13 mark. Logan Johnson then went on a personal 5-1 scoring run as part of his team-high 14-point effort to bump the Gaels’ lead back up to six. Dallin Hall sparked one final BYU rally with a jumper that was later followed by a pair of Spencer Johnson 3-pointers to give the Cougs the lead.

After Logan Johnson converted another jumper to tie the game at 55, Hall was fouled with 10 seconds remaining in the game. He converted the second of two free-throw attempts to conclude a splendid 23-point performance and put BYU up by one. Unfortunately, there was still time left on the clock and true freshman Aidan Mahaney once again rose to the occasion.

Mahaney took the ensuing inbounds pass, dribbled the floor, crossed over his defender and drove right. He then pivoted into a fallaway jumper that found the bottom of the net with 0.3 seconds remaining. BYU’s last-gasp heave at the buzzer went awry and Saint Mary’s escaped Provo with a 57-56 victory. The Gaels rose to No. 18 in the updated AP Top 25 and remain the lone unbeaten team in WCC basketball conference play.

Julian Strawther Drops 40-Piece as Gonzaga Cruises Past Portland

Some questioned the decision of Julian Strawther to return for another season at Gonzaga as opposed to entering last year’s NBA Draft. Well, it seems pretty safe to say that the decision is only helping to raise his pro stock. Strawther has come up clutch for the Bulldogs on countless occasions this season, including his game-winning 3-pointer against BYU a couple of weeks back. However, the performance he had against Portland on Saturday is by far the best of his collegiate career.

With Gonzaga in sore need of a convincing win after a tough stretch, Strawther put the team on his back. The 40 points he scored in the Zags’ 82-67 road victory absolutely obliterated his previous career-high of 23. Strawther’s excellence from three-point territory was on full display in the game as well. He shot 8-12 (66.7%) from beyond the arc and 14-21 (66.7%) from the field overall.

Strawther added six rebounds and three steals to his final stat line for good measure. What’s more, the Bulldogs needed every bit of his highlight-reel performance to pull away from Portland. He was recognized as the West Coast Conference Player of the Week for his efforts.

Moses Wood finished with a team-high 19 points for the Pilots who only trailed by six at the half. Unfortunately, Portland had no answers defensively for Strawther as it fell to 3-6 in WCC basketball conference play.

Cam Shelton WCC basketball news standings Loyola Marymount Julian Strawther Gonzaga
Credit: Loyola Marymount University Athletics

Surging Loyola Marymount Extends Winning Streak to Four

With two more victories this past week, Loyola Marymount basketball has now won four straight games. Of course, the signature win for the Lions came two weeks ago when they snapped Gonzaga’s 75-game home winning streak with a shocking upset. After knocking off both Portland and Pepperdine by double-digit margins, LMU suddenly looks to be on par with the heavyweights in the West Coast Conference.

Over the years, quality guard play has proven to be a vital ingredient for having success in the month of March. Thanks to senior Cam Shelton, Loyola Marymount has to be feeling pretty good about how its backcourt stacks up against WCC basketball opposition. Shelton scored 20 points in Thursday’s win over Portland and another 26 on Saturday against Pepperdine to lead the Lions in both games. He has now scored 20+ in four straight games, coinciding with LMU’s active winning streak.

Another factor working in Loyola Marymount’s favor is experience. Shelton is one of three seniors in the Lions’ typical starting lineup alongside guard Justin Ahrens and forward Keli Leaupepe. LMU has good size down low as well thanks to the presence of 7’1″, 240 lbs center, Rick Issanza. The ability to count on reserve guards like Jalin Anderson and Chance Stephens to contribute offensively is also a major positive.

Fans will really get a good idea of what Stan Johnson’s team is capable of in the coming weeks. Four of Loyola Marymount’s next five games come against BYU, Saint Mary’s, Santa Clara and Gonzaga.

Updated WCC Basketball Standings

TeamConf. RecordOvr. Record
Saint Mary’s8-019-4
Loyola Marymount6-316-7
Santa Clara4-416-7
San Francisco4-515-9
San Diego3-610-13

Upcoming WCC Basketball Games to Note

As the calendar turns to February, things continue to heat up around the West Coast Conference. All ten teams will be in action on both Thursday and Saturday this coming week. Can Loyola Marymount continue its winning ways on the road against BYU? Who will take the first head-to-head clash between league favorites Gonzaga and Saint Mary’s? Throw in a very compelling matchup between Santa Clara and San Francisco and the week ahead in the WCC is shaping up to be a real doozy!

Loyola Marymount at BYU

Date: Thursday, Feb. 2
Time: 9 p.m. EST
TV Coverage: CBSSN

San Francisco at Saint Mary’s

Date: Thursday, Feb. 2
Time: 11 p.m. EST
TV Coverage: ESPNU

Santa Clara at Gonzaga

Date: Thursday, Feb. 2
Time: 11 p.m. EST
TV Coverage: CBSSN

Pacific at BYU

Date: Saturday, Feb. 4
Time: 9 p.m. EST
TV Coverage: WCC Network

Santa Clara at San Francisco

Date: Saturday, Feb. 4
Time: 10 p.m. EST
TV Coverage: ESPNU

Gonzaga at Saint Mary’s

Date: Saturday, Feb. 4
Time: 10:30 p.m. EST
TV Coverage: ESPN

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