No. 1 Gonzaga wins in a dominating performance over St. Mary’s 65-51 for the West Coast Conference title. Kelly Olynyk led the Bulldogs with 21 points and 12 rebounds in the route of St. Mary’s.
Gonzaga has now won 14 straight games after a loss at Butler in January. The Bulldogs beat Loyola Marymount by 18 points Saturday in the WCC semifinals before crushing St. Mary’s Monday for the title.
Senior Elias Harris helped Gonzaga dominate in the paint all night. The 6-foot-8 German forward scored 19 points with four rebounds and three assists for the Bulldogs.
Kelly Olynyk has been the teams leader during their rise to the top of the polls. The 7-foot Canadian shot 7-for-12 from the floor and also put up two three-pointers, missing both.
The St. Mary’s Gaels were led by Junior Stephen Holt who finished with 19 points and seven rebounds. The Gaels have faced Gonzaga in each of the last five WCC title games, splitting the first four before losing Monday night.
Beau Levesque came off the bench for St. Mary’s and went 3-for-5 behind the arc for nine points, three rebounds and one assist. Gonzaga controlled the floor for most of the night stopping any run St. Mary’s had to offer.
Even after the loss to Gonzaga, St. Mary’s should get an at-large bid to the NCAA Tournament due to their resume. The Gaels sport a 27-6 record and finished second in the WCC behind the No. 1 team in the country. St. Mary’s won six straight games before Gonzaga got the best of them for the third time this season.
With the WCC title, Gonzaga has done everything they could to earn a No. 1 ranking in the upcoming NCAA Tournament. I highly doubt they will be disappointing after dominating Loyola Marymount and St. Mary’s.
Gonzaga has reached the Final Four both of the last two seasons and have been the best team from a mid-major conference for more than a decade. The Bulldogs have reached the Big Dance each of the last 14 seasons, but have never been ranked No. 1 in the country until this year.
As long as Kelly Olynyk continues to control the boards and deliver clutch buckets the Bulldogs should fair well in the tourney. Gonzaga wins big over St. Mary’s and takes home the WCC title, but it’s a different trophy that they really want.