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Gonzaga 65, St. Mary's 51

The SportsXchange

LAS VEGAS -- Kelly Olynyk scored 21 points and Elias Harris added 19 to carry top-ranked Gonzaga to a 65-51 victory over archrival Saint Mary's in the championship game of the West Coast Conference tournament on Monday night.

The Bulldogs (31-2) won their 14th straight game. Gonzaga advances to the NCAA Tournament for the 15th consecutive year.

"It was a complete game," Gonzaga coach Mark Few said, according to the Oakland Tribune. "We played fantastic defense ... and we ran pretty darn good offense most of the night."

Stephen Holt led Saint Mary's (27-6) with 19 points. No other Gael scored more than nine points. Gaels standout Matt Dellavedova scored just two points on 1-for-8 shooting.

"We did a great job against just a phenomenal college player in Dellavedova," Few said, according to the Tribune. "Our aggressiveness took a lot of their looks out of the equation."

The Gaels, 26th in voting for The Associated Top 25 this week, may be selected as an at-large entry in the NCAA tournament. The 68-team field will be announced Sunday.

"You just go on," Gaels coach Randy Bennett said, according to the Tribune. "I don't want to jinx us ... We've lost to one team since Christmas. Pretty good season."

Gonzaga shot a sizzling 64 percent from the field in the first half and led by nine at intermission. Saint Mary's never gave the Bulldogs a serious run after the Gaels shot 39.3 percent in the opening half, including 18.8 percent on 3-pointers (3-for-16).

Gonzaga finished with a 52.1-35.7 advantage in field-goal shooting percentage. The Bulldogs outscored Saint Mary's 42-18 in the paint. Olynyk led all players with 12 rebounds.

Gonzaga and Saint Mary's have played for the championship five straight years. The Bulldogs, who lost in overtime in last year's title game, hold a 3-2 lead over the Gaels in the past five championship games.

The sellout crowd of 7,896 gave Saint Mary's starting guard Jorden Page a standing ovation when he was helped off the Orleans Arena court after suffering a right knee injury midway through the first half. He did not return.

Harris won the tournament's Most Outstanding Player award. He was joined on the all-tournament team by Olynyk, Brad Waldow of Saint Mary's, Anthony Ireland of Loyola Marymount and Johnny Dee of San Diego.

The Bulldogs held Saint Mary's scoreless for six minutes during a 9-0 run that gave them a 24-16 lead in the first half. The Gaels responded with two baskets, only to watch the Bulldogs run off another nine unanswered points en route to a 38-29 halftime lead.

Harris and Olynyk punished Saint Mary's inside. Harris had 11 points and two rebounds in the first half, and Olynyk added 10 points and six boards before the break.

NOTES: The WCC and The New Orleans Hotel & Casino announced a three-year contract extension to keep the conference tournament at the Orleans Arena through 2016. The tournament has sold out in advance four of the five years it's been held at the Orleans facility. ... Dellavedova started for Australia's Olympic team last summer. ... Gonzaga and Saint Mary's are two of the four NCAA Division I men's basketball teams that have won at least 25 games each of the past six seasons. The others are Duke and Kansas. ... Saint Mary's and Gonzaga both started three foreigners. Six of the 13 Gaels who dressed and five of the 11 Bulldogs in uniform were foreigners. ... Mark Few has guided the Bulldogs to the WCC tournament title game and the NCAA Tournament all 14 years he has been a college head coach. ... Saint Mary's coach Randy Bennett has seen the Gaels play in seven WCC tournament title games, five semifinals and six NCAA Tournaments in his 12 years at the Moraga, Calif., school. ... Saint Mary's has not lost to any team but Gonzaga since getting blown out 74-46 by Pacific on Dec. 19.
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