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Zags set up first-place showdown

Gonzaga routs Lions, faces Gaels next

By Staff and wire reports

LOS ANGELES – The preliminaries are over.

Gonzaga took care of its last order of business – routing Loyola Marymount 93-60 on Saturday at Gersten Pavilion – and now can turn its complete attention to Thursday’s showdown with Saint Mary’s for first place in the West Coast Conference.

The 23rd-ranked Bulldogs coasted to their sixth straight win, all by double digits and three by 33 points or more. Gonzaga (14-4, 5-0 WCC) made a season-high 12 3-pointers and equaled a season high with 10 blocked shots.

“We knew we had to go on the road and win games (Thursday and Saturday) in other people’s gyms and that’s not always easy to do in college basketball,” Gonzaga coach Mark Few said. “I thought our guys had a very mature approach, and even more so tonight for the full 40 minutes.”

The victory was Few’s 250th in 10 years as GU’s head coach.

“It’s been very rewarding, and to do it with the type of guys we’ve had here, that’s the whole key,” Few said. “We’ve had a great group of guys. Keeping my staff intact has been paramount. And it’s so much more rewarding this way than doing the vagabond thing.”

Four starters scored between 14 and 18 points as the Bulldogs overwhelmed the Lions (1-20, 0-5). Matt Bouldin made 5 of 7 3-pointers and scored 18 points. Josh Heytvelt added 15 points, six rebounds and four blocks. Steven Gray scored all 14 of his points in the first half and Austin Daye had his second straight double-double, finishing with 14 points and 10 rebounds.

Micah Downs added 10 points. Jeremy Pargo finished with nine points, seven rebounds and four assists.

Freshman Kevin Young led LMU with 21 points.

Gonzaga scored the game’s first five points, then had runs of 11-0 and 12-0 to build a 43-17 edge at halftime. Gray connected on three of his four 3-pointers in a 12-0 spurt near the end of the half. LMU shot just 19 percent from the floor in the first half and 25 percent for the game.

On one second-half possession, the 6-foot-8 Young appeared to be open as he elevated for a 3-pointer, but Daye closed in and blocked the shot. Young gathered the loose ball and tried to drive to the basket, but Heytvelt stepped in to draw a charging foul.

Heytvelt’s dunk on a feed from Daye gave GU a 30-point bulge (47-17). The Bulldogs’ biggest lead was 38, after Downs’ tip-in with 11:44 remaining.

Saint Mary’s (18-1, 5-0), ranked No. 22 in the ESPN/USA Today poll, beat San Diego 65-42 on Thursday to extend its winning streak to 15, the longest in Division I. The Gaels and Bulldogs split last season, each winning on their home floor.

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