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Zags defeat San Diego 60-48

Gonzaga made it a little more interesting than it needed to be, but the outcome was never seriously in doubt. The Zags led by 22 midway through the second half and won 60-48.

My unedited game story is below. Check back tomorrow for a day-after post.

Zags tangle with Toreros

A crowd of 1,442 watched Portland edge San Diego 61-58 on Saturday at the Jenny Craig Pavilion. The Toreros are averaging 1,540 fans through five home dates this season. The crowd count will probably be triple that figure, if not more, Monday night when No. 8 Gonzaga makes its annual visit to the JCP.

Both games last season were three-point decisions won by the home team. Both teams appear improved from the 2014 versions. My game preview here. Here's the view from San Diego.

Day after San Diego

Back with my day-after post from a game in which No. 25 Gonzaga outshot San Diego by nearly 10 percentage points, outrebounded the Toreros by five, held a 9-3 edge in second-chance points and had six more assists but still fell short on the scoreboard, 69-66, late Saturday night.

The Bulldogs, who dropped both games on the road trip, will fall out of the A.P. Top 25 and they’ve put additional pressure on next week’s trip to Stockton and Moraga. GU still needs one win or one loss by BYU (at San Diego) and San Francisco (at Pepperdine, at Loyola Marymount) to secure at outright WCC title.

Gonzaga handled Pacific 86-64 and Saint Mary’s 73-51 in Spokane. BYU crushed the Toreros by 34 in Provo. USF beat both of the two L.A. schools by double digits earlier this season.

Here’s my game story and others by A.P. and the San Diego Union-Tribune.

Read on.

Zags fall again on the road

Gonzaga had a rough road trip, dropping a 73-65 decision to BYU on Thursday and falling 69-66 to San Diego late Saturday night.

The Bulldogs dropped to 4-3 in WCC road games — with two more road tests coming up next week against Pacific and Saint Mary's. The Zags still need one win or one loss by BYU and San Francisco, to clinch an outright WCC title. GU finished 9-0 in conference at home.

Johnny Dee scored 16 points and Duda Sanadze added 15 as the Toreros, despite shooting just 40.4 percent, beat the Zags, who made 50 percent of their shots. The difference was at the free-throw line (USD 23 of 33, GU 6 of 11) and turnovers (Gonzaga 13, San Diego 8).

More below in my unedited game story.

 

 

 

 

Zags still have work to do

Gonzaga is closing in on two important items on its season check list: An outright WCC title and a spot in the NCAA Tournament. They are not tied together, of course, since the WCC Tournament champion takes the conference's automatic berth.

The Bulldogs return to the court tonight against San Diego at Jenny Craig Pavilion for its second chance at the outright WCC championship. Their first attempt didn't go so well in a 73-65 loss at BYU on Thursday.

My game advance dealt with the strengths and weaknesses of Gonzaga's NCAA Tournament resume. The Zags still have work to do, with three more regular season games and the upcoming WCC Tournament, but they're trending the right way. That is, GU has bounced back from its five previous losses with winning streaks, though BYU snapped the Zags' modest two-game winning streak.

 

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Day after San Diego

I admit to being distracted while writing up Gonzaga's 59-56 win over San Diego last night. The end of the Portland-BYU thriller was on TV and it drew a crowd to the media room — GU officials, San Diego coaches, etc. You know it's a wild game when fan reactions — cheers and groans — from the nearby Herak Room filter into the media room.

BYU's loss in triple overtime dropped the Cougars to 5-3 in conference. GU leads the way at 7-1, followed by Saint Mary's at 5-2.

In between glances at the TV screen, I put together this game story. Here's another gamer from AP and the San Diego Union-Tribune. Colin Mulvany has an S-R photo gallery.

Read on for my day-after post.

 

Zags outlast San Diego, 59-56

Gonzaga was pushed from start to finish by upset-minded San Diego on Thursday.

Kevin Pangos scored with 1:25 remaining and the Bulldogs made three defensive stops in the final 2:35 to hold on for a 59-56 win. San Diego's last points came on a Christopher Anderson free throw with 3:42 remaining.

My unedited game story is below. I'll have a day-after post up in the morning.

 

Bell receives medical clearance

Gonzaga's roster is complete again with the return of guard Gary Bell Jr.

It's been a while since the Zags have had their entire roster available. Bell, who broke his right hand on Dec. 28, was out for nearly four weeks and he missed six games. He's expected to play against San Diego on Thursday. GU has also dealt with forward Sam Dower Jr.'s back injury, suffered Kansas State on Dec. 21. Dower missed two games. Guard Kevin Pangos has been bothered by a turf toe injury since early December but hasn't missed a game.

More below on Bell, the Toreros and a couple of USD players who played high school basketball in Spokane.

 

Day after San Diego

Had a little time on my hands Saturday night, a new computer to mess around with and I'll be in a gym most of Sunday so I put together my day-after San Diego post.

The Zags worked over the Toreros 81-50. Here's my game story, S-R photos, John Blanchette's column and the AP game story.

Zags clinch share of WCC title with easy win

Gonzaga rolled to its 10th straight win, hammering San Diego 81-50 at the MAC on Saturday. The victory secures at least a co-WCC title and the No. 1 seed in the WCC Tournament in Las Vegas.

The third-ranked Bulldogs (27-2, 14-0 WCC) will probably move up to No. 2 when the polls are released Monday. No. 2 Miami lost to Wake Forest.

Gonzaga continues to put opponents away with dominating first halves. GU led USD by 18 late in the half before settling for a 37-23 halftime edge. The Bulldogs led by as many as 37 in the second half.

My unedited game story is below. Check back tomorrow for a day-after post.

Zags close in on crown

Gonzaga entertains San Diego at 4 today, one win away from at least a co-WCC championship. The third-ranked Bulldogs (26-2, 13-0 WCC) defeated USD 65-63 on Feb. 2.

Here's my game preview that ran in today's S-R.

Day after San Diego

The race is on to get home before the Super Bowl kicks off, so we'll get right to my day-after post following Gonzaga’s 65-63 win over San Diego.

 

The Toreros did three things extremely well. 1). They seemed to be the more energetic team. 2). They seemed to be the more physical team. And Nos. 1 and 2 were reflected in 3). USD’s dominance of the offensive rebounding in the second half. Combined, those three things made this one a nailbiter after it appeared GU would open up a double-figures lead with 13 minutes remaining.

The links: S-R game story, AP gamer and another from the San Diego Union-Tribune.

More below.

Zags hold off USD 65-63

Gonzaga had its hands full with San Diego, but held on for a 65-63 victory on Saturday.

Elias Harris had 18 points and Kelly Olynyk 15. David Stockton delivered in crunch time with two assists and tear-drop from about 6 feet to help the Bulldogs stay unbeaten in WCC play at 8-0.

My unedited game story is below.

Grier, struggling USD awaits Gonzaga

Good evening from San Diego.

Hard to believe it's Bill Grier's sixth year as San Diego's head coach after 16 seasons on Gonzaga's bench. Grier's team is battling to stay above .500 overall (11-11) and in the WCC (4-3) heading into tomorrow night's contest with the 7th-ranked Zags (20-2, 7-0).

My unedited preview is below.

GU Stops San Diego, St. Mary’s Wins Title

Guy Landry Edi scored 13 points and Gonzaga kept its hopes alive for a share of its 12th straight West Coast Conference regular-season title by defeating San Diego 65-57 Saturday.The Bulldogs (23-5, 13-3) can tie St. Mary's (Calif.) for the league crown if the Gaels (13-2) lose to San Francisco in a late game Saturday night.Robert Sacre and Kevin Pangos added 11 points each for the Bulldogs, who pulled ahead 59-57 on a jumper by Sacre with 1:51 remaining and closed the game on an 8-0 run. Elias Harris had 12 rebounds for Gonzaga/AP. Story & boxscore here.

St. Mary's 67, San Francisco 60: Rob Jones had 14 points and 14 rebounds, Clint Steindl added 16 points and Saint Mary's beat San Francisco 67-60 on Saturday night to clinch the Gaels' first outright conference title in 23 years. Story here.

Question: Despite the end of Gonzaga's WCC title streak, do you enjoy watching a conference that's more competitive than ever?

Zags hold off USD; Gaels win title

I've posted my unedited game story below from Gonzaga's win over San Diego.

UPDATE: Saint Mary's defeated San Francisco 67-60 at War Memorial Gym, giving the Gaels an outright WCC title and ending Gonzaga's streak of consecutive titles at 11. Gonzaga was likely chartering back to Spokane when the SMC-USF game went final.

Gonzaga had its hands full with Bill Grier's improving San Diego squad. The Zags scored the last eight points for a 65-57 victory Saturday.

—Below, at the very bottom, I've put together a list of the WCC seeds and pairings for the tournament.

Day after BYU, day before San Diego

Any later and this would have been the first day after day-after post, or something like that. But we're back with a day-after BYU post and a quick look at Saturday's game against surprising San Diego.

It's a shorter-than-usual day-after post following Gonzaga’s 74-63 win over BYU last night, the main reason being there's a vast amount of information contained in the numerous articles from the game. The links: S-R game story, Blanchette column, Anderson photos (of course he got Elias Harris' one-hand jam; pictured above). Elsewhere, articles in the Salt Lake Tribune, Deseret News, A.P. and Seattle Times. Here's the rundown on seeding/tiebreakers/scenarios, etc., from the WCC office.

 

Read on below for more.

Day after San Diego

I'm on the road with kid duties and I've finally found a cooperative wireless network (signal strength low) so I'll put this day-after San Diego post up as quickly as I can. Wrote it about six hours ago, but haven't been able to post it. Here are the links: Game stories in S-R, San Diego Union-Tribune and S-R photos.

Read on.

GU pulls inside job on San Diego

Gonzaga rode the 48 combined points of 'bigs' Robert Sacre, Elias Harris and Sam Dower to a 77-60 win over San Diego on Saturday.

You can read my game story for Sunday's S-R below. I'll have a day-after post up in the morning.

Gumby Robber Turns Himself In

This surveillance video taken Sept. 5 and released by the San Diego Police Dept. shows a suspect dressed like Gumby telling a convenience store clerk he is being robbed, fumbling inside the costume as if to pull a gun, dropping 27 cents and leaving. Police say the attempted robbery took place Sept.5 at a 7-Eleven in Rancho Penasquitos, Calif. A 19-year-old and an accomplice turned themselves in for the robbery on Tuesday. Story here. (AP Photo/San Diego Police Department)

Question: Did you ever own a Gumby toy or follow the pre-claymation show?

Gonzaga earns WCC title with victory

Back at the hotel, rental car gas tank has been re-filled and ready for an early call tomorrow. Here's my game story from GU's 68-31 drubbing of San Diego. Saint Mary's defeated Portland so the Zags and Gaels are co-champs. Saint Mary's will be the No. 1 seed and Gonzaga the No. 2 in the WCC Tournament.

Check back tomorrow for a day-after post.

Zags go for No. 11

(Third attempt at posting this, first two thwarted by miserable hotel wireless….)

Good morning from rainy San Diego. The game is drawing widespread attention, including four stories alone in the San Diego Union-Tribune and the arrival of CBSsports.com's Gary Parrish, Foxsports.com's Jeff Goodman, Sportingnews.com's Mike DeCourcy and ESPN.com's Andy Katz in town.

Oh wait, that's the San Diego State-BYU game, which tips at 11 a.m. (yikes). Gonzaga-San Diego might get some added attention, if only because it tips at 6, long after the Mountain West showdown is over.

A Gonzaga win or Saint Mary's loss to Portland would clinch GU's 11th consecutive WCC crown. Here's my game preview.

This is a huge mismatch on paper. Of 17 NCAA statistical categories ranking 336 D-I teams, San Diego ranks in the upper half (top 168) in just one: 3-point percentage defense (33.4). Gonzaga is in the upper half in 13 of 17. The exceptions: 3-point percentage defense, No. 284 (36.7), turnovers per game, No. 190 (13.8), 3-pointers made per game, No. 190 (6), and personal fouls, No. 182 (19).

But the Jenny Craig Pavilion has never been an easy place to play for the Zags, much like Santa Clara's Leavey Center. GU has won three of its last four here (including a loss to USD in the 2008 WCC Tournament title game), but the Zags scored just 59, 62, 58 and 68 points in those four games.

More on Gaels’ loss to USD

Saint Mary's had a chance to clinch at least a share of the WCC title with a win over last-place San Diego. Instead, the Toreros snagged just their second conference win and sixth overall with a huge upset of the Gaels. Mt. Spokane and CCS product Matt Dorr had 15 points for San Diego.

Game recaps here, here and here, and an article on Gaels' coach Randy Bennett that ran in Wednesday's San Francisco Chronicle. Gaels' quotes here.

In 40 minutes, Saint Mary's seemingly went from a probable lock for the NCAAs to a team that has some work to do. The Gaels entertain Utah State in a BracketBusters game Saturday and remain home to face Gonzaga and Portland next week.

Illegal Immigrants On Move Again

A "no-alien" sticker sits affixed to a cautionary sign warning motorists of people running across the lanes of a freeway that parallels the border Tuesday in San Diego. After a dropoff during the recession, illegal immigrants seeking to sneak across the U.S. border may be ready to move again, according to a new study released Tuesday. Economic Times story here. (AP Photo/Gregory Bull)

Question: Do you think the new, divided Congress has the will to deal with illegal immigration?

Dower, Zags pound Toreros

Back with my game story from GU's 86-53 win over San Diego on Saturday. Here's a link and check back Sunday morning for my day-after post.

Zags crush Toreros

Redshirt freshman forward Sam Dower scored a career-high 27 points as Gonzaga thumped San Diego 86-53 on Saturday at the McCarthey Athletic Center.

The victory ended a three-game losing streak for Gonzaga (14-8, 4-3). Elsewhere, Portland defeated Saint Mary's, so the Gaels (18-4, 6-1) are two games up on GU midway through the conference season. USF (4-1 WCC) faces Pepperdine at 7. Santa Clara (4-2) is leading LMU by 10 with about four minutes left.

Dower was 6 of 6 and had 12 points as Gonzaga took a 40-24 halftime lead. The Toreros (4-18, 0-7) trailed 50-33 early in the second half when Gonzaga rattled off 11 unanswered points.Steven Gray hit a pair of 3s and Dower added three free throws in the run.

Gray finished with 12 points. Marquise Carter added 10 points and four assists, Elias Harris nine points and nine rebounds and David Stockton, who started the second half in place of Demetri Goodson, chipped in nine points and four assists.

Complete game story in about two hours.

GU-USD tip coming up

About 10 minutes before tipoff between Gonzaga and San Diego. Join me at twitter.com/SRjimm for in-game updates.

Starting lineups: GU — Sacre, Goodson, Harris, Monninghoff, Gray. USD: Norris, Ginty, Dorrr, Rancifer and Gabriel.

Check back here later for the game story.

Zags turn focus to San Diego

Gonzaga will try to end its three-game losing streak when San Diego visits Saturday at 5 p.m.

Here's a link to my game preview that will run in Saturday's S-R.

Fast start helps Gonzaga past USD

Back with the expanded game story from Gonzaga’s 82-65 victory over San Diego on Saturday. Read on for the unedited version and check back tomorrow for a day-after post.