Bulldogs, BYU In Showdown For Second Place Thursday

            SPOKANE, Wash. - Thursday's visit from BYU is yet another in a series of critical late-season games for Gonzaga University

            The Cougars come to the McCarthey Athletic Center for an 8 p.m. contest to be seen on ESPN2 with second place in the West Coast Conference on the line. The Bulldogs and BYU are both 11-3 and knotted for second heading into the final weekend of WCC action, one game behind 12-2 SMC which visits the University of Portland Thursday and USF Saturday. Lurking behind the Zags and BYU is 10-4 Loyola Marymount University, which hosts the University of San Diego Thursday and is at Santa Clara University Saturday.

            Thursday will mark just the third meeting between Gonzaga and BYU and will be the Cougars' first trip to the McCarthey Athletic Center since joining the West Coast Conference last July 1. The first meeting came last March in the NCAA Tournament Third Round in Denver, Colo. The Cougars, led by Player of the Year Jimmer Fredette's 34 points, handled the Bulldogs 89-67. In the inaugural WCC clash this season - and Gonzaga's inaugural trip to Provo, Utah - BYU took an 83-73 victory.

            At stake the final weekend of West Coast Conference play is seeding into the WCC Tournament beginning next Wednesday at The Orleans Arena in Las Vegas. The top two finishers receive a double-bye into the semifinals with the third and fourth place teams receiving a bye into the quarterfinals. The only thing known for certain is 0-14 Santa Clara University will play in Wednesday's No. 8 vs. No. 9 play-in game, the University of San Francisco has wrapped up the No. 5 seed and the University of San Diego, which could still tie USF but would lose the tiebreaker because USF swept the season series, will be the No. 6 seed.



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