Coming off a year in which it received a No. 1 seed into the 2013 NCAA tournament and sent two players off to the NBA, the 2013-14 Zags put together another WCC-winning campaign and reached equal heights in the NCAA tournament.
Gonzaga will take on BYU in the championship game, Tuesday, after the Cougars edged San Francisco.
Gonzaga (24-6, 14-3) had lost consecutive games within conference play for the first time since 2011 when it dropped games to BYU and San Diego last week. The Zags didn’t have much of a problem with Pacific, Thursday night.
Gonzaga (23-6, 13-3) lost its second consecutive conference game (a rarity for the program) despite 18 points and 15 rebounds from Sam Dower Jr. The loss kept the Zags from clinching the outright WCC title.
Gonzaga (23-5, 13-2) was looking to clinch yet another West Coast Conference title only to see its 9-game conference winning streak snapped in Provo.
The Bulldogs took control of this one thanks to a first half in which the team shot 54.8 percent. That shooting performance resulted in a 45-31 halftime lead. The Zags cruised from there, the Lions never coming closer than within eight points.
The win was Gonzaga’s (21-3, 11-1) first over the Pilots this season after the team saw its 22-game West Coast Conference winning streak dating back to 2011 snapped back on January 9th.
Przemek Karnowski added 12 points and eight rebounds and Gary Bell Jr. finished with 13 points to aid the Zags’ scoring. Gonzaga (20-3, 10-1) earned its sixth consecutive conference win since dropping its first WCC game since 2011 last month to Portland.
The No. 24-ranked Bulldogs were simply too much for the undersized and less athletic Saint Mary’s squad. Gonzaga out-rebounded them 39-22 and held the Gaels to 31 percent shooting from the field to collect its third straight win.
The Dons never really threatened Gonzaga (12-2, 2-0). After a slow start to the game from each squad, the Bulldogs got going and closed the half on a 30-17 run to take a 41-23 lead into the break.