Bulldogs Earn 15th Consecutive WCC Final Appearance
During the most important time of the year, the Gonzaga Bulldogs (25-5) put together a masterpiece as they dismantled the BYU Cougars (25-8) 77-58 on Saturday in front of 7,828 at the Orleans Arena in Las Vegas.
The West Coast Conference semifinal win allowed the Bulldogs to play in their 15th consecutive WCC championship game.
The second-seed Gonzaga will face top-seed #21 Saint Mary’s in an anticipated conference tilt on Monday night.
The WCC Newcomer of the Year Kevin Pangos proved that he deserved the title awarded to him earlier in the week. The Newmarket, Ontario native scored 30 points on 10-of-17 shooting from the field and 5-9 from three to lead the Bulldogs.
Junior forward Elias Harris recorded 15 rebounds, nearly equaling the total of BYU’s entire starting five total (20). Harris added 10 points for his 8th double-double of the season. His play made up for a pedrestrian-game played by WCC Defensive Player of the Year, senior center Robert Sacre (seven points and five rebounds).
Getting to BYU Early
The Bulldogs blitzed the Cougars early, getting out to a 19-5 lead before the 14-minute mark, leading coach BYU Dave Rose to admit that BYU forced their offensive as a result late in the first half.
Due to BYU’s poor shooting (8 for 25 and 1 for 10 from the three-point line), Gonzaga led the Cougars by as many as 18 in the first half and carried a 38-26 advantage into the half.
This is just knit-picking at this point. Gonzaga coach Mark Few didn’t exactly give the bench much of a chance to influence the game as they only played 36 out of a possible 200 minutes.
The bench scored 12 points and contributed six rebounds and three assists in the 19-point victory
The Bulldogs and Gaels will be meeting in the conference final for the fourth consectutive year. Gonzaga and Saint Mary’s split the season series, with Bulldgos prevailing in Spokane on Feb. 9.
Gonzaga defeated Saint Mary’s in the final last season.
Monday, March 5, 2012 - Gonzaga vs St. Mary’s(21)