Zags Bounce Broncos, 81-73
Feb. 26, 2009
SANTA CLARA, Calif. (AP) - Josh Heytvelt scored a career-high 29 points and Matt Bouldin added 23, helping No. 17 Gonzaga defeat Santa Clara 81-73 on Thursday night and remain undefeated in the West Coast Conference.
The Bulldogs (22-5, 13-0) beat Santa Clara for the fifth straight time and the 18th time in the past 19 meetings.
Freshman guard Kevin Foster led Santa Clara (14-16, 6-7) with 20 points, while center John Bryant and James Rahon both had 16.
The Bulldogs have won five straight games and 14 of 15, the only blemish a loss at home to No. 5 Memphis.
The game was tied 56-56 with 7:50 to play. Gonzaga went on an 11-2 run that started with a three-point play by Heytvelt. Two of Gonzaga's points during the run came on two free throws by Bouldin when Santa Clara was hit with a technical foul after fans threw objects on the court, protesting a foul call.
Santa Clara coach Kerry Keating implored to crowd to refrain from throwing objects, but later in the game, his team was hit with another technical when another object was thrown from the stands. Bouldin made two more free throws.
Gonzaga needs only a win Saturday at San Diego to finish the regular season undefeated for an unprecedented third time since the WCC went to its current eight-team alignment in 1980-81.
Last week, Gonzaga clinched the regular-season title and the No. 1 seed in the conference tournament, earning byes to the semifinals.
Gonzaga trailed 53-50 with 11:10 left, surged to a 56-53 lead then watched Santa Clara tie it 56-56 with 7:50 left on Rahon's three-point play.
Gonzaga scored six quick points and Heytvelt then scored on a putback of his own miss and drew a foul from Ben Dowdell. That's when the crowd erupted, and a plastic bottle sailed toward the court, near Gonzaga's players.
Bouldin made both shots on the technical and Heytvelt completed his three-point play, putting Gonzaga ahead 67-58 with 4:36 left.
The 6-foot-11 Heytvelt was coming off a career-high 28 points last week in a victory over Pepperdine. He entered Thursday night's game averaging a team-best 15 points and 6.8 rebounds.
In the first meeting this season, Gonzaga crushed Santa Clara 95-53, as Austin Daye scored 20 points and five Bulldogs scored in double figures.
After missing Santa Clara's game against San Francisco with a shoulder injury, Rahon returned in a reserve role.
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