NCAA

Landale leads Saint Mary's past Loyola Marymount in blowout win

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USATSI

Landale leads Saint Mary's past Loyola Marymount in blowout win

BOX SCORE

MORAGA -- For one of the few times this season, Saint Mary's coach Randy Bennett had trouble finding anything wrong with how his team played.

On a night when the Gaels had one of their best offensive nights of the season and got big contributions off the bench, there was no need to nitpick.

Jock Landale had 16 points and 11 rebounds and No. 22 Saint Mary's beat Loyola Marymount 81-48 on Thursday night.

Evan Fitzner had a season-high 13 points - all in the first half - and Calvin Hermanson added 11 to help the Gaels (23-3, 13-2 West Coast Conference) to their eighth win in nine games.

"I didn't see that game going that way," Bennett said. "We were able to separate early and we needed that. We played pretty well tonight . one of our most balanced games we've had as far as playing well on both sides of the ball."

Playing for the first time since losing to No. 1 Gonzaga last week, Saint Mary's showed no lingering effects and led by as many as 38 points while extending its winning streak to 11 straight against Loyola Marymount.

Landale provided the bulk of the offense with his 12th double-double of the season on 6-of-7 shooting. The 6-foot-11-inch Aussie played only 22 minutes when Bennett went to his bench.

Unlike many games this season, the Gaels provided their big man with plenty of offensive support. Fitzner, who played just 2 minutes against the Lions when the teams played in December, and Hermanson made three 3-pointers each.

"That's a result of good offense and good teamwork," Landale said. "Our bench is great. We always know they can score and tonight they just kind of showed that off a little bit."

Brandon Brown scored 10 points for Loyola Marymount. The Lions (12-14, 5-10) have lost 22 of their last 23 against the Gaels.

The win assures Saint Mary's of finishing no worse than tied for second in the WCC. The Gaels can clinch the No. 2 seed for the conference tournament with a win over BYU on Saturday.

FITZNER FINDS MINUTES

Fitzner has started 61 consecutive games for Saint Mary's, but the Gaels sophomore has found minutes hard to come by over the past two months. That changed when Fitzner got off to a fast start against Loyola Marymount. He made two early 3-pointers, teamed with Landale and Tanner Krebs for all of the scoring during a 17-2 run, then made another shot beyond the arc with 51 seconds left to help push Saint Mary's halftime lead to 46-25. "I just want to play my role and do whatever I can to help the team win," Fitzner said. "But obviously it feels good when your teammates give you the ball and you make some open shots."

BIG PICTURE

Loyola Marymount: A mismatch in just about every way. The Lions shot just 38 percent, were outrebounded 37-19 and had only one player in double figures. They also went more than 10 minutes without a field goal in the second half.

Saint Mary's: Save for a little sloppy patch near the end of the first half, this was a crisp game offensively for the Gaels. The key was getting steady scoring from someone other than Landale, and Fitzner provided just that to keep the Lions from collapsing the interior. .. Joe Rahon had five rebounds and seven assists.

POLL IMPLICATIONS

The Gaels dropped two spots in the latest poll following their loss to No. 1 Gonzaga last week. The win over the Lions won't garner much support, but with No. 20 Creighton and No. 21 South Carolina losing earlier in the week, the door is open for Saint Mary's to climb back into the top 20.

UP NEXT

Loyola Marymount: The Lions return home to host Pepperdine on Saturday.

Saint Mary's: Travels to BYU on Saturday night.

Louisville has 'effectively fired' head coach Rick Pitino

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AP

Louisville has 'effectively fired' head coach Rick Pitino

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) — Louisville has placed coach Rick Pitino and athletic director Tom Jurich on administrative leave amid a federal bribery investigation.

Jurich is on paid leave, while Pitino is on unpaid leave. The coach’s attorney, Steve Spence, told the Courier-Journal Wednesday that Louisville has “effectively fired” Pitino.

Pitino’s exit comes after the school acknowledged on Tuesday that the men’s program is part of a federal investigation into alleged bribery of recruits. The 65-year-old coach was not named in the indictment that resulted in the arrest of 10 people including four assistant coaches at other schools and an Adidas executive.

It is the latest black eye for the Cardinals program. Pitino and Louisville are in the middle of appealing NCAA sanctions following an embarrassing sex scandal.

Jurich has supported Pitino through his transgressions during the athletic director’s nearly 20-year tenure at the university.

Cal fights USC into fourth quarter, can't complete the upset

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AP

Cal fights USC into fourth quarter, can't complete the upset

BOX SCORE

BERKELEY -- Stephen Carr ran for a fourth-quarter touchdown two plays after Southern California's defense forced one of its six turnovers and the fifth-ranked Trojans won their 13th straight game, 30-20 over California on Saturday.

USC (4-0, 2-0 Pac-12) has dominated the series with its in-state rival by winning 14 straight against the Golden Bears (3-1, 0-1), but this was one of the tightest matchups in years as the game was tied early in the fourth quarter.

Sam Darnold threw for 223 yards and two touchdowns for the Trojans but also had an interception and was under pressure for much of the day.

It was the defense that stepped up for USC, intercepting a pass from Ross Bowers in the first quarter to set up a field goal and then delivering the big play early in the fourth quarter after Chase McGrath gave the Trojans a 16-13 lead with his third field goal of the game.

Josh Fatu knocked the ball out of Bowers' hand and Uchenna Nwosu recovered the fumble at the 3. Carr ran it in two plays later from the 2 to make it 23-13.

Ykili Ross then intercepted Bowers' pass on the next possession, setting up Darnold's 4-yard TD pass to Deontay Burnett that put away the game.

Bowers finished 22 for 50 for 303 yards with one touchdown, four interceptions and two lost fumbles.

THE TAKEAWAY

SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA: The Trojans struggled for much of the game without starting RB Ronald Jones (ankle) and WR Steven Mitchell (groin) but managed to pull away late in their first road game of the season.

CALIFORNIA: The Bears used an improved defense to start 3-0 under first-year coach Justin Wilcox but this was supposed to be the test of how far they had come. Cal showed plenty by sticking with a national title contender for three quarters. A sequence on the opening drive of the second will haunt the Bears. Patrick Laird dropped a potential TD in the end zone and Matt Anderson then missed a 29-yard field goal that kept the game tied at 13.

POLL IMPLICATIONS

A win against an unranked team should do little to alter USC's poll position.

UP NEXT

SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA: Visits No. 18 Washington State on Friday.

CALIFORNIA: Visits No. 24 Oregon on Saturday.