Top-Seeded Bulldogs Face No. 4 Santa Clara in WCC Semifinals
March 7, 2009
LAS VEGAS, Nev. - For the second straight year top-seeded Gonzaga University will meet No. 4 seed Santa Clara University in Sunday's 6:30 p.m. PST semifinal in the West Coast Conference men's basketball tournament at the Orleans Arena.
The Broncos beat No. 5 seed University of San Diego 80-69 Saturday to advance to the semifinals. WCC Player of the Year John Bryant had 24 points, a WCC Tournament record 27 rebounds and four blocked shots to pace the Broncos. He broke the rebounds record of 20 set by the University of San Francisco's Darryl Johnson against Loyola Marymount University in a 1992 first-round game.
The Broncos (16-16; 7-7) and Bulldogs (24-5; 14-0) met 10 days ago at the Leavey Center during the final week of WCC regular-season action. The Bulldogs broke from a 56-56 tie with 7:50 to play to go on an 11-2 run and take a 67-58 lead with 4:36 to play. Gonzaga forward Josh Heytvelt scored a career-high 29 points.
The first meeting in Spokane was no contest as the Bulldogs took a 95-53 victory. Austin Daye scored 20 points and five Bulldogs scored in double figures.
In addition to Bryant, who was averaging 18.0 ppg and 13.9 rpg entering Saturday's contest, also feature freshman Kevin Foster who was Co-Newcomer of the Year and was joined on the WCC All-Freshman Team by teammates James Rahon and Marc Trasolini.
The Bulldogs have won six straight against SCU and 19 of the last 20 in the series the Zags lead 41-30.
Gonzaga is 6-1 all-time in the WCC Tournament against the Broncos and will mark the third straight year the teams have met in the WCC's showcase event. Gonzaga took a 52-48 victory in last year's meeting at the University of San Diego in the semifinal match-up of No. 1 vs. No. 4. In 2007 Gonzaga prevailed 77-68 in the title-game meeting of No. 1 vs. No. 2, respectively, played at the University of Portland.
The 2007 meeting was the first tournament showdown between the teams since 2004 when Gonzaga eked out a 63-62 victory on the Broncos home court.
Gonzaga went 14-0 for the third time in the last six years in WCC play, the first team to post three undefeated seasons in the current conference alignment.
The Bulldogs have won seven straight games and 16 of the last 17, the only loss to the University of Memphis which was ranked third in this week's USA Today/ESPN poll and fifth in the Associated Press balloting.
The Bulldogs last played Tuesday at home against USC Upstate, posting a 90-40 victory.
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