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Gonzaga Basketball

Zags-Gaels round 3? Gonzaga second seed for WCC Tournament in Las Vegas

Junior wing Julian Strawther celebrates Saturday after Gonzaga's 77-68 win over Saint Mary's clinched a share of the WCC title.  (Tyler Tjomsland/The Spokesman-Review)

To be continued in Las Vegas?

No. 12 Gonzaga defeated No. 15 Saint Mary’s 77-68 on Saturday to earn a share the West Coast Conference championship with the Gaels.

As expected, Saint Mary’s will be the top seed with Gonzaga at No. 2 at the WCC Tournament. The teams split two regular-season contests and both lost to Loyola Marymount. Saint Mary’s took the next tiebreaker – based on NET rankings – at No. 7, two spots ahead of the Zags.

Gonzaga will take the floor at Orleans Arena on Monday, March 6, at 8:30 p.m. in the tournament semifinals. Possible opponents are No. 10 Pepperdine, No. 7 Pacific, No. 6 San Francisco and No. 3 Santa Clara, which needs only one win to reach the semifinals against the Zags.

Pacific faces Pepperdine on Thursday with the winner advancing to meet San Francisco on Friday. Santa Clara (23-8, 11-5 WCC), riding a seven-game winning streak, awaits the winner in Saturday’s quarterfinals.

Gonzaga swept Santa Clara, San Francisco and Pepperdine and won the lone meeting against Pacific.

“I’m not even giving it a thought really,” Gonzaga coach Mark Few said of the NET determining the top two seeds. “The important thing is getting the bye so we won’t have to go down until Sunday. That’s what we signed up for, the rules. I don’t know if any of us looked at the fine print, but that (the NET) is probably the way you can do it.”

Saint Mary’s plays at 6 p.m. in the semifinals. Fourth-seeded Loyola Marymount, which beat the Gaels and Zags once in the regular season, has a bye into the quarterfinals. No. 8 Portland and No. 9 San Diego tangle on Thursday with the winner meeting No. 5 BYU on Friday.

The championship game is at 6 p.m. Tuesday on ESPN.

Gonzaga and Saint Mary’s have clashed 12 times in the 14 years the tournament has been held at Orleans Arena. GU is 7-3 in title games against Saint Mary’s and also defeated the Gaels twice in semifinal matchups. The Zags have knocked off BYU in four championship games at Orleans Arena.