March 8, 2009
LAS VEGAS -- Austin Daye scored a career-high 28 points, Micah Downs hit four 3-pointers, and No. 14 Gonzaga rolled into another West Coast Conference tournament final, beating Santa Clara 94-59 in the semifinals Sunday night.
Downs scored 18 points and Jeremy Pargo had 16 for the top-seeded Zags (25-5), whose 17-1 run late in the first half opened a 22-point lead over the Broncos (16-17).
Matt Bouldin added 11 points and seven assists for the Zags, who held WCC Player of the Year John Bryant to 13 points and 10 rebounds for Santa Clara.
Bryant finished with his 16th consecutive game with at least 10 points and 10 rebounds and finished the year with 26 double-doubles, which leads the nation. He finished his career with 50 double-doubles, a school record, and the second-most nationally among active players.
Gonzaga closed the first half on a run that included 13 straight points while holding Santa Clara without a field goal for the final 5:43. The Zags then held the Broncos scoreless for nearly five more minutes midway through the second half, taking a 30-point lead with 8:50 to play.
The Zags have won eight of the last 10 West Coast tournament titles, losing only to San Diego in the title game in 2003 and 2008, both times on the Toreros' home court. The tournament is being held on a neutral court for the first time in its 23-year history.
Gonzaga led 31-25 before starting its decisive first-half run, which included back-to-back 3-pointers by Pargo and another by Bouldin.
Heytvelt didn't score until hitting a free throw with 13:54 left in the second half, putting Gonzaga up by 24.
Bryant left the game for good after hitting two free throws with 1:49 left, getting hugs from his coaches and teammates.