LAS VEGAS — Elias Harris had 21 points and eight rebounds to lead No. 1 Gonzaga over Loyola Marymount 66-48 on Saturday night in the semifinals of the West Coast conference tournament.
Bidding for a top seed in the NCAAs, the Bulldogs (30-2) advanced to play for the league championship Monday night at 7 p.m. against Saint Mary's.
Challenged in the first half by a team that went 1-15 in WCC play this season, Gonzaga turned up the defensive intensity and opened the second half on a 19-5 run to seize momentum.
Though it needed a last-second basket by Sam Dower to take a 27-26 lead into halftime, Gonzaga outscored the Lions 39-22 in the second half.
Kevin Pangos added 14 points, and Kelly Olynyk had eight points and eight rebounds for the Zags.
Anthony Ireland led Loyola Marymount (11-23) with 19 points.
After shooting 40 percent (8 of 20) from the field in the first half, including 4 of 10 from beyond the arc, the Lions shot a dismal 7 of 29 (24.1 percent) from the field in the second half. LMU was an abysmal 1 of 10 with 3-point attempts.
Conversely, the Zags turned around their horrendous first half of shooting — which saw them shoot just 9 of 24 from the field and 1 of 7 with 3's — and was a blistering 11 of 22 from the floor, including 4 of 7 from long range.
The Lions forced 45 turnovers — and committed only 32 — in their first three games of the tournament, but last night came up against a Gonzaga team much more disciplined than their previous foes, and bit more tenacious on defense.
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The Bulldogs, who earned the WCC's top seed for the 13th time, were the first team to go 16-0 in the league in the two years of the 16-game format. It was their fourth undefeated West Coast campaign, also going unbeaten in 2004, 2006 and 2009, when the conference played a 14-game schedule, prior to BYU joining the conference.
SAINT MARY'S 69, SAN DIEGO 66 (OT): The Toreros held Matthew Dellavedova to seven points on 2 of 12 shooting, but Beau Levesque scored 19 points off the bench and Brad Waldow led all scorers with 23 points.
Johnny Dee led San Diego with 18 points.