Loathing Las Vegas: Zags lose 78-74 to Gaels

Loathing Las Vegas:  Zags lose 78-74 to Gaels

Credit: Getty Images

LAS VEGAS, NV - MARCH 05: Elias Harris #20 of the Gonzaga Bulldogs drives between Matthew Dellavedova #4 and Rob Jones of the Saint Mary's Gaels during the championship game of the Zappos.com West Coast Conference Basketball tournament at the Orleans Arena March 5, 2012 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)


by KREM.com


Posted on March 5, 2012 at 10:16 PM

Updated Thursday, Dec 5 at 3:18 PM

LAS VEGAS, Nev. -- For the last 15 years Gonzaga has played in the West Coast Conference Tournament Championship and they've usually won it, but the Zags couldn't sustain their dominance in the title game Monday night as the Bulldogs lost 78-74 in overtime to St. Mary's in Orleans Arena.

St. Mary's (27-5) also won the automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament, but almost every major basketball analyst predicts Gonzaga (26-6) will receive an at large bid on Selection Sunday.

The game was tied at 36 at halftime between the number one seeded Gaels and second seeded Zags.

The Gaels came out of the locker room and hit Gonzaga in the mouth, opening a quick seven point lead.

Gonzaga slowly chipped away through the last ten minutes of the game, but found themselves down three points with five seconds left in regulation when Elias Harris hit a 26-foot three-pointer from beyond the top of the key to tie it at 68.

But the Zags couldn't finish in overtime as St. Mary's won it with the help of four straight free throws by Matthew Dellavedova in the final minute.

Sophomore forward Sam Dower provided a huge boost off the bench for the Zags in the second half.  At one point he scored seven straight points for the Bulldogs to pull them within two with five minutes to play.

Down the stretch of regulation the game turned into a one-on-one duel with Dellavedova trying to take Robert Sacre off the dribble on isolation plays in the middle of the court.  Sacre gave up some buckets early, but then shut Dellavedova down with exceptional defense and blocked shots at the end of the second half and overtime.

Dellavedova ended up missing a runner in the lane over Dower with one second left at the end of regulation.

With the score tied at 72  with just over 40 seconds to play in overtime, freshman Kevin Pangos missed a three-pointer.  The rebound was tapped out long and Pangos ran into Dellavedova trying for the loose ball and was called for the foul. 

Dellavedova hit both free throws and another Gonzaga miss on the other end and subsequent foul allowed Jorden Page to hit two free throws and put the Gaels up four with 30 seconds left.  Then Dellavedova finished off the Zags from the foul line.

Harris led the Bulldogs with 22 points on 10-14 shooting to go along with 13 rebounds.  Sacre added 17 points and four rebounds.  Dower led the Bulldogs off the bench with 14 points.

Pangos had a rough night shooting the ball, hitting only 3 of 18 shots, including 1-10 from behind the three-point line.  He had seven points.

As a team Gonzaga shot 5-22 (22.7-percent) from three-point range.

St. Mary's won the rebounding battle 37-33.

Dellavedova led the Gaels with 22 points while Rob Jones had 18.

You can watch the CBS Sports presentation of Selection Sunday at 3 p.m. only on KREM 2 to see where and who Gonzaga will play in the NCAA Tournament.