Bulldogs To Meet Toreros In Semis
March 4, 2006
SPOKANE, Wash. (AP) - Gonzaga (25-3) will face San Diego (18-11) in the 5 p.m. semifinal of the West Coast Conference Tournament on Sunday at the McCarthey Athletic Center on the Gonzaga campus.
In the late semifinal on Sunday, No. 2 Loyola MArymount University will face No. 3 Saint Mary's College. SMC advanced with a 76-72 overtime win in Saturday's nightcap.
Nick Lewis scored 17 points to lead San Diego to a 62-52 victory over San Francisco in Saturday's first quarterfinal. The Bulldogs, as WCC regular-season champions and top seed, were automatically seeded into the semifinals along with No. 2 seed Loyola Marymount. USD is the fifth seed.
Sunday's game will mark the sixth semifinal meeting between the teams in the tournament since 1998, Gonzaga winning all five previous semifinal matchups in that stretch. USD took a 2003 tournament title-game win over the Bulldogs, the only time in the 19 years of the tournament the host team has captured the crown.
Gonzaga won both regular-season meetings with USD this season, 64-63 at USD when Erroll Knight hit a shot from the right corner with 8 seconds to play, then beat the Toreros 75-59 one week ago in Spokane on the final weekend of the regular season.
Gonzaga will be seeking its ninth straight appearance in the WCC Tournament championship game since 1999, and its 10th overall appearance in the title contest.
San Diego led 58-49 with just under six minutes remaining when San Francisco went on a 10-0 scoring spree to go up 59-58 on a layup by Jerome Gumbs.
But a goaltending call on the Dons put San Diego up 60-59 and Nir Cohen sank two free throws to seal the win. Cohen finished with 13 points.
Alan Wiggins led the Dons with 12 points and 8 rebounds. Gumbs scored 11 points for San Francisco in a game marked by poor shooting and turnovers.
San Diego made just 24-of-54 shots from the floor (44 percent), while San Francisco hit 24-of-56 (43 percent).
Corey Belser finished with 9 points and 8 rebounds for the Toreros. His shot while falling to the floor at the buzzer gave the Toreros a 34-31 halftime lead.
San Francisco built a 28-20 lead on an 8-0 run in the first half, holding San Diego scoreless for 5 1/2 minutes, but Cohen and Lewis led a 7-0 run to go up 29-28 with two minutes remaining before the half.
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