Gonzaga learned its assignment in the West Coast Conference Tournament semifinals and it’s a familiar foe.
The top-ranked Bulldogs (24-0) will take on Saint Mary’s at 6 p.m. Monday at Orleans Arena. The teams usually collide in the title game, with Gonzaga winning eight titles and the Gaels claiming three since the tournament moved to Las Vegas in 2009.
Fourth-seeded Saint Mary’s (14-8) outlasted No. 5 Loyola Marymount 52-47 in Saturday’s quarterfinals. Junior guard Logan Johnson scored 25 points and Tommy Kuhse added 12 in a slow-paced, defensive-minded contest.
Both teams shot under 40% and combined to make just 5 of 31 3-pointers. Eli Scott scored 18 points, but he committed six of LMU’s 18 turnovers.
“We knew we were going to have to really guard and rebound,” Gaels coach Randy Bennett said. “We’re a little grindy, so our games can get grindy and so can some other teams in our league, and Loyola would be one of them that can make it hard to score.”
GU swept the Gaels during the regular season, winning 73-59 in Moraga, California, and 87-65 in Spokane. The Zags experienced a grinder in the Jan. 16 road matchup. They trailed by 10 in the first half – their largest deficit of the season – but dominated the rest of the way. Gonzaga led by as many as 18 points late in the second half.
Gonzaga scored 51 points and led by 27 at half in the Feb. 18 rematch at the McCarthey Athletic Center. The margin reached 38 points with 12:30 left.
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