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Heytvelt, Gonzaga hold off Santa Clara

Mar 10, 2008 - 6:41 AM SAN DIEGO (Ticker) -- Gonzaga's quest for a fifth straight West Coast Conference tournament title is alive, but just barely.

Josh Heytvelt scored 15 points and Austin Daye added eight and eight rebounds as No. 23 Gonzaga held on for a 52-48 victory over Santa Clara in the WCC semifinals on Sunday.

The Bulldogs (25-6) won their eighth straight game and will play San Diego in the title game on Monday. Gonzaga has won eight of the last nine WCC tournaments.

Gonzaga shot 42 percent (16-of-38) from the field, including 6-of-20 from the arc, and never was in full control of the game.

Trailing by three at the break, the Broncos came out strong in the second half and took a 37-34 lead - keyed by five straight points from Brody Angley - with 12:50 left to play.

But Gonzaga rallied and took its largest lead of the game at 49-44 with 5:29 remaining before Santa Clara chipped away and cut the deficit to 49-48 with under one minute to play.

Gonzaga then broke a scoreless drought of almost five minutes as Jeremy Pargo made a pair of free throws to give the Bulldogs a 51-48 edge with 35 seconds remaining.

The WCC Player of the Year, Pargo was held to just four points and two assists on 1-of-3 shooting.

Angley had a chance to tie but missed a 3-pointer, and Abdullahi Kuso made 1-of-2 from the line with 12 seconds to play. The Broncos missed a pair of outside shots in the final seconds.

Santa Clara had started strong as Calvin Johnson made three 3-pointers to help the Broncos take an 11-3 lead with 16:15 left in the first half.

The Bulldogs would chip away and took their first lead at 26-24 on a jumper by Austin Daye with 3:50 left and Gonzaga held a 28-25 advantage at the break.

Angley finished with 13 points and John Bryant added 12 and six rebounds for Santa Clara (15-16), which shot 41 percent (19-of-46) from the floor.