for this game

Gonzaga hangs on for victory against Western Kentucky

Nov 23, 2007 - 8:20 AM ANCHORAGE, Alaska (Ticker) -- It wasn't easy, but Gonzaga managed to come away with a tough victory on Thursday.

Matt Bouldin scored 18 points as the 14th-ranked Bulldogs edged Western Kentucky, 74-71, in the quarterfinals of the Great Alaska Shootout.

David Pendergraft had just eight points and seven rebounds but played a crucial role down the stretch for Gonzaga (4-0), which will next face Texas Tech in the semifinals on Friday.

But in this one, the Bulldogs struggled to assert their authority until the waning minutes of the contest.

With the score tied at 66-66 with just over four minutes remaining, Pendergraft made a back-door cut from the right sideline, making an easy layup to give the Bulldogs a 68-66 lead.

After Western Kentucky's miss and a rebound by Pendergraft, Jeremy Pargo misfired from the arc, but Pendergraft grabbed one of his three offensive rebounds and scored on the follow shot to extend Gonzaga's lead to four.

Western Kentucky didn't go quietly as Courtney Lee, who finished the game with 19 points, hit a jumper on the ensuing possession to cut the deficit to two.

After being fouled by Abdullahi Kuso on the ensuing possession, Lee made 1-of-2 from the line to pull the Hilltoppers to within one.

However, Western Kentucky did not get any closer as a pair of free throws by Micah Downs and a jumper by Robert Sacre on Gonzaga's next two possessions cemented the victory.

Sacre finished with eight points and Downs contributed 14 off the bench, hitting 5-of-8 shots from the field.

"We knew coming in it would be a tough game, Gonzaga is an outstanding team," Western Kentucky coach Darrin Horn said. "I thought our guys came prepared and ready, and they showed a tremendous amount of heart and toughness.

"We played well enough to win, but just didn't make enough shots, didn't grab enough rebounds and missed too many free throws in a game like this to be able to come out on top against a team that not only is a good team but has several guys who have just been there. They made the plays they needed to down the stretch to win."

Gonzaga dominated the boards in the first half, pulling down 26 rebounds to Western Kentucky's 14. The Hilltoppers turned that around in the second half, outrebounding the Bulldogs, 17-11.

But the work on the glass wasn't enough to lift Western Kentucky (3-1) to the win as Gonzaga finished the game shooting 47.4 percent (27-of-57) from the field.