Bulldogs Face Broncos, Dons Trying To Stay In Title Picture

         SPOKANE, Wash. - Gonzaga University tightened the West Coast Conference men's basketball race with its home sweep of previous West Coast Conference unbeaten Saint Mary's College and Loyola Marymount University.

         The Bulldogs handed the Gaels their first loss in 12 outings 73-59 - SMC came back to defeat Santa Clara University last Saturday - and then opened the gap on fourth-place LMU with a 78-59 victory. The Zags (10-2) trail SMC (12-1) by one game in the loss column and LMU (9-4) by two games. BYU (9-3) is still lurking in third place. In addition to playing for a regular-season title, teams are also battling for seeding into the WCC Tournament. The top two seeds receive a double-bye into the semifinals while the third and fourth seeds receive a bye into the quarterfinals.

         Gonzaga heads to the Bay Area this week, facing Santa Clara University Thursday and the University of San Francisco Saturday. The Broncos are winless in 12 West Coast Conference games and have suspended Kevin Foster, the WCC's leading scorer, for the remainder of the season after he was arrested for driving under the influence. Foster scored 9 points in GU's 82-60 victory in Spokane in the first meeting this season. USF (7-6) is currently fifth place, two games behind BYU and two games ahead of the University of San Diego.

            Gonzaga holds a 46-30 lead in the series with Santa Clara University after winning this year's first meeting 82-60 in the McCarthey Athletic Center, but the Bulldogs had a 9-game winning streak in the series snapped last season at SCU 85-71. The Bulldogs rebounded to win the rematch in Spokane 85-76 and have won 24 of the last 26 meetings.



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