for this game

Gonzaga downs Saint Mary's to claim West Coast Conference title

Mar 8, 2011 - 5:54 AM Las Vegas, NV (Sports Network) - Steven Gray was bloodied early, but smiled late, scoring 15 points to lead Gonzaga to the West Coast Conference Tournament title, 75-63, over Saint Mary's.

The Bulldogs are going back to the NCAA Tournament after winning their 11th West Coast Conference Tournament title thanks to Gray and Robert Sacre, who scored 12 points with eight rebounds, and four blocks. Gray was hit with an elbow on a strong drive to the basket, leaving a deep cut just above his right eye that required medical attention, but responded to pace Gonzaga (24-9), which has won eight straight games heading into the NCAA Tournament.

Mickey McConnell led Saint Mary's with 24 points and Matthew Dellavedova donated 21. Saint Mary's (24-8) now must wait and see if its resume holds up for an at-large berth. The Gaels shared the regular-season title with Gonzaga, but have lost four of their last six games.

The two teams traded punches, tied at 53-53 when the Bulldogs reeled off eight straight points to take control. Sam Dower converted a layup, freshman guard David Stockton, son of Hall of Fame point guard John Stockton, drained a three-pointer, and three other free throws made it 61-53.

McConnell answered with two free throws in front of Clint Steindl's trey for a 61-58 game, but that was as close as the Gaels got the rest of the way. Steindl missed a game-tying try on the next possession then Sacre converted the first two of six big free throws down the stretch. His slam moments later made the score 67-58 and his four free throws in the last 1:03 put the game away.

Gonzaga raced out to an early 7-2 lead, but McConnell scored seven early points, rallying the Gaels from the deficit and turning it into a 20-15 lead on his off-balance three.

McConnell tallied 11 points in the half to keep the Gaels close, but the Bulldogs rattled off the final five points of the half capped by two Marquise Carter jumpers for a 39-34 lead.

Game Notes

Saint Mary's shot just 32 percent in the second half, while Gonzaga connected on 15-of-17 free throws...The Bulldogs lead the all-time series, 54-25...The two squads played in the conference title game for the third straight year.