USF mens’ basketball still searching for first WCC win 

click to enlarge Rebuilding: USF’s Perris Blackwell pushes through a pack of BYU defenders Saturday. The Dons were picked to finish fourth, but have yet to win a conference game. - AP FILE PHOTO
  • AP file photo
  • Rebuilding: USF’s Perris Blackwell pushes through a pack of BYU defenders Saturday. The Dons were picked to finish fourth, but have yet to win a conference game.

The USF men’s basketball team dropped its fourth straight conference game after losing to St. Mary’s on Monday, but fourth-year coach Rex Walters saw an effort his team can build off.

"Effort was there," Walters said after the game. "This is the best we’ve played here against the best team we’ve probably played. We were aggressive and attacking, but we challenged our guys. It’s got to be like this every night. If we have that same sense of urgency and be willing to be coached, I think we’ll be better."

USF (10-8, 0-4 West Coast Conference) shot 47 percent from the field and led as late as the 11-minute mark of the first half. That same energy returned late in the second half as the Dons cut the deficit to eight.

"We had a goal of trying to win conference," Walters said. "That’s not been eliminated mathematically. We have to get better. It’s an empty feeling for me because it’s a loss, but we can build off this."

The Dons were picked to finish fourth in the WCC by the coaches in the preseason after returning all five starters from a team that finished third last season.

USF’s worst performance came Saturday against BYU, but Walters sticks the blame on himself.

"I set basketball back 100 years trying to walk it up against BYU and get our guys nonaggressive," Walters said. "We got to be aggressive. That’s why I recruited them. I’ve got to put them in situations where they can be successful."

Crabbe stepping up: Coming off a split against the Oregon schools, the Cal men (13-4, 3-1 Pac-12) will host Pac-12 Conference-leading Colorado today.

Sophomore Allen Crabbe has stepped up his play in the past three games, averaging more than 20 points per game while shooting 55 percent. Colorado has won six straight and has not lost since Dec. 9 against Wyoming.

New face to Pac-12: The Stanford men (13-3, 3-1) will host the other Pac-12 newcomer, Utah, today following a split on the road in Oregon, including a win in a 103-101 four-overtime marathon against Oregon State on Saturday.

The Cardinal have not played Utah (4-11, 1-2) since the 1997 season when the two met in the NCAA Sweet 16 and the Utes won 82-77 in overtime. Utah has lost three of its past four games. Aaron Bright scored 18 points against Oregon State and has averaged 16 points per game since the start of Pac-12 play.

Streaking Stanford: The Stanford women’s team (13-1, 4-0) kept its winning streak alive, now at 10 after wins against Oregon and Oregon State last week. Now, they’ll look to keep another streak alive.

Stanford has never lost in 12 previous meetings against Utah, and the Cardinal will hit the road to face the Utes tonight in the first Pac-12 matchup between the two schools. Utah is coming off its first-ever Pac-12 win against Washington.

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Zack Farmer

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