Men's Basketball Stops St. Mary's 76-49 In WCC Tournament Opener
March 4, 2000
SANTA CLARA, Calif. (AP) - Gonzaga University used a strong inside presence and a hot first half to down Saint Mary's College 76-49 Saturday afternoon in the first round of the West Coast Conference men's basketball tournament at Toso Pavilion on the Santa Clara University campus.
The Bulldogs (22-8) received some bad news five minutes into the contest when senior starting guard Mike Nilson, the WCC Defender of the Year, saw his Gonzaga career come to an end with a ruptured right Achilles tendon. Nilson took a pass on the left wing and was beginning to drive for the basket, but when he planted his right foot he crumpled, untouched and in obvious pain, to the floor. He was put in a splint, and is expected to have surgery in approximately 10 days. The rehabilitation period following the surgery is usually 12 months.
Gonzaga trailed the Gaels, who finished 8-20 after losing 10 of their final 11 games, 20-19 with 8:28 to go in the first half, but Casey Calvary's hook shot regained the lead for the Bulldogs and started an 11-0 run. Frahm followed Calvary's basket with a 3-pointer from the left corner, and Zach Gourde got a breakaway slam dunk on an excellent lead pass from Mark Spink. Gourde's basket started a streak of 10 straight Gonzaga points by the 6-8 redshirt freshman.
After leading 38-28 at halftime, Gonzaga's lead was cut to 46-39 with 11:41 remaining in the game. But a 13-2 Bulldog spurt over the next 3:20 gave Gonzaga an 18-point lead at 59-41. Gourde had a 6-foot hook, Calvary a hook and Frahm a 3-pointer from the right corner to highlight the run. Gonzaga's biggest lead of the game was the final 27-point margin of victory.
The Bulldogs shot 60.0 percent from the field in the opening half, going 15-for-25. Saint Mary's was a chilly 10-for-33 for 30.3 percent in the first 20 minutes.
Five Bulldogs scored in double figures, lead by the 15 points of Frahm. Calvary scored 14, Spink and Gourde each came off the bench for 12, and Axel Dench had 10.
Calvary also grabbed 11 rebounds for his seventh career double-double, and his fourth of the season. He fell one rebound shy of his season-high 12 at UCLA, and two short of his career-high 13 last year against the University of Texas-Pan American. Gonzaga's big men went a combined 19-for-26 from the field - Calvary 6-for-7, Dench 4-for-8, Spink 4-for-5 and Gourde 5-for-6.
Tyler Herr had 18 points off the bench for Saint Mary's to lead all scorers, and Josh Greer had 11. Frank Allocco, the Gaels leading scorer at 12.4 ppg, was held to 5 points on a 2-for-11 afternoon from the field. He went just 7-for-28 against Gonzaga in three games this season.
Gonzaga's opponent for Sunday's semifinal matchup won't be known until the conclusion of Saturday's play. The tournament re-seeds for the semifinals with the highest remaining seed facing the lowest remaining seed, and the two remaining middle seeds meeting.
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