March 3, 2008
SPOKANE, Wash. (AP) - Freshman Steven Gray scored 18 points and No. 24 Gonzaga defeated Santa Clara 88-54 on Monday night to win its eighth consecutive West Coast Conference regular-season title.
Santa Clara guard Brody Angley, the Broncos' second-leading scorer at 12 points per game, suffered a concussion when he was hit in the head in the opening minutes and sat out the rest of the game. He scored a career-high 28 in the first game against Gonzaga.
Gray made six 3-pointers and Matt Bouldin added 14 points for the Bulldogs (24-6, 13-1), who won their 10th league title in the past 11 seasons. They had already clinched the top seed and a bye into the semifinals of this week's conference tournament in San Diego.
Mitch Henke led Santa Clara (14-15, 6-8) with 13 points, while John Bryant had 10, eight below his average. The Broncos took Gonzaga to double overtime before losing at home last month, but could not hang close after the loss of Angley.
Gonzaga shot 47 percent, including 13-of-26 from 3-point range, and 12 players scored in the Bulldogs' seventh consecutive win.
Gonzaga scored the first 12 points of the game over the first 5 minutes by harassing the Broncos into eight turnovers. The lead was 26-7 as the Zags hit 11 of their first 20 shots.
Gonzaga led 36-19 at halftime.
The second half started with a 24-6 run by Gonzaga, including four 3-pointers by Gray, that made it 60-25 lead with 14 minutes left.
Last season Santa Clara handed Gonzaga its first loss in the McCarthey Athletic Center after 39 consecutive wins dating to the opening in 2004. Gonzaga is 52-2 in the building, with its other loss coming to Washington State earlier this season.
The Broncos have the fourth seed in the WCC Championships this weekend in San Diego and will play the winner of the San Francisco (5th Seed) and Loyola Marymount (8th seed) game. The Broncos play Saturday night at Jenny Craig Pavilion. USF and LMU play their first round game on Friday.