GU edges USF, wins title outright
SPOKANE — Elias Harris scored 17 points and No. 18 Gonzaga held off San Francisco 75-69 on Saturday night to win its 10th straight West Coast Conference title.
Steven Gray added 15 points as Gonzaga (24-5, 12-2) barely avoided its first sweep by a league foe in 13 seasons. San Francisco (12-17, 7-7) shocked the Zags with an 81-77 overtime win at home on Jan. 30, one of only eight conference loss in the past six seasons.
Gonzaga has not been swept by a conference foe since San Diego did it in 1996-97.
San Francisco pulled within 72-69 on Moustapha Diarra’s putback with 18.9 seconds left, and it looked like the Dons were ready to make some history. But they were forced to foul and did not score again, while Gonzaga put things away from the foul line.
The game was close from the start, with Gonzaga leading by just two at halftime.
Harris scored seven straight points for a 49-40 lead early in the second half, but Angelo Caloiaro hit a 3-pointer and a lay-in to help the Dons close to 52-49.
Harris’ 3-pointer gave Gonzaga a 63-53 lead with 8 minutes left, but San Francisco did not fold, and 3-pointers by Caloiaro and Dontae Bryant made it 68-63 with 3:33 remaining.
Two free throws by Dior Lowhorn and a basket by Moustapha Diarra cut the Bulldogs’ lead to 70-67. Steven Gray hit a pair of free throws with 1:41 left, and Lowhorn shot a long airball on the other end. Diarra put back Kwame Vaughn’s missed shot to cut Gonzaga’s lead to 72-69 with 18.9 seconds left.
San Francisco fouled on the inbounds play, and Robert Sacre made one of two for a 73-69 lead. The Dons ran off more than 10 seconds before Vaughn was called for charging on a drive to give Gonzaga the ball with 5 seconds left.
San Francisco opened the game by picking up right where they left off the first time they played the Zags, taking a 16-6 lead in the first seven minutes. But the Zags scored 14 straight points to take the lead.
The teams traded baskets until the Dons scored three unanswered buckets to tie the score at 31 with 2:14 left. The Zags led 35-33 at halftime.
Lowhorn led the Dons with 17 points, while Diarra had 15 and Vaughn 12.
Sacre added 13 points and Matt Bouldin had 11 for the Zags, who shot 52 percent. Gonzaga concludes its regular season with a nonconference game against Cal State-Bakersfield on Tuesday.
© Copyright 2010 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.