No. 17 Zags Clinch Ninth-Straight WCC Regular-Season Title
Feb. 19, 2009
SPOKANE, Wash. (AP) - Twelve consecutive 20-win seasons. Nine consecutive West Coast Conference titles. No. 17 Gonzaga reached both milestones with a 91-54 pounding of Loyola Marymount on Thursday.
"It never gets old," coach Mark Few said. "A streak like that speaks volumes on the program and how it hasn't let up."
Steven Gray scored a career-high 23 points and Josh Heytvelt added 18 as Gonzaga (20-5, 11-0 WCC) earned the top seed in the league tournament and took another step toward a third undefeated WCC season in the past six.
"It doesn't get any easier," Few said, noting that teams like Saint Mary's and San Diego were expected to challenge the streak this year.
Gonzaga is not ready to rest on its laurels. Few said his team will "keep trying to improve our NCAA resume" in the remaining regular season games.
Gonzaga's ninth consecutive league title extended the longest active streak in the nation. The Bulldogs tied with the Kentucky teams of 1944-52 for the fourth-longest streak in NCAA history. UCLA holds the record with 13 straight league titles from 1967-79.
Gray came off the bench to make five of seven 3-pointers, all in his 21-point second half. Micah Downs added 16 points and Austin Daye 13 for Gonzaga, which outrebounded Loyola 44-31 and made 11 of 21 3-pointers.
Loyola Marymount (2-25, 1-10) came in as the worst shooting team in the nation at 34.8 percent, and made just 31 percent against the nation's top team in field goal defense (37.1 percent). The Lions were led by Kevin Young and Vernon Teel, with 13 points each.
"Total mismatch tonight," coach Max Good said. "They just don't have many holes. They have their bases covered."
This one was over early.
Gonzaga built a 17-2 lead in the first seven minutes as Loyola Marymount missed nine of its first 10 shots and committed five turnovers.
The Bulldogs led 41-22 at halftime, after holding the Lions to 26 percent shooting. Gray scored 10 consecutive Gonzaga points early in the second half to help build a 56-29 lead.
Nine different Gonzaga players scored as the team shot 50.8 percent, and made 18-of-21 free throws.
"We really wanted to share the ball," Few said.
Gonzaga is 61-3 in the McCarthey Athletic Center since it opened in 2004.
The Bulldogs' final league games are against Pepperdine (8-14, 5-5), Santa Clara (13-14, 6-5) and San Diego (13-13, 5-6).
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