Gonzaga 71, San Francisco 61

Jake Curtis, The Sports Xchange
The SportsXchange


SAN FRANCISCO -- Logic says Gonzaga should have breezed by San Francisco, which was just 4-8 in conference games and had lost at home to lowly Portland on Thursday.
Recent history suggests something very different, though, which is why the No. 5 Bulldogs were pleased to escape with a 71-61 victory over San Francisco on Saturday afternoon at War Memorial Gymnasium.
Gonzaga had lost the last three times it had played on the Dons' home court, and none of the current Gonzaga players were on the Bulldogs' bench the last time they won in San Francisco, in 2009.
Gonzaga (25-2, 12-0) was tested again Saturday but dominated the final stages of the game to close in on its 12th regular-season West Coast Conference title in 13 years.
Kelly Olynyk had 26 points on 13-for-17 shooting and added nine rebounds for the Bulldogs. Elias Harris had 17 points and 12 boards for Gonzaga, which dominated the paint.
San Francisco (11-15, 4-9) got 15 points from Cole Dickerson and 14 from Cody Doolin.
The Dons overcame an early 15-point deficit to tie the game midway through the second half.
Gonzaga still led by just a point with seven minutes left when it scored 10 straight points, including six by Olynyk, to regain control of the game.
San Francisco was fortunate to trail just 34-27 at halftime after Gonzaga's fast start.
After San Francisco's Cole Dickerson scored on the game's first possession, the Dons missed 12 of their next 13 shots.
Meanwhile, Gonzaga started 9-for-11 from the field and, when Olynyk scored on a layup with 12:20 remaining in the first half, the Bulldogs held a commanding 19-4 lead.
San Francisco reduced the deficit to 30-25 when De'End Parker converted a three-point play at 4:24 mark of the half, but the Dons got no closer until intermission.
Olynyk had 12 first-half points for the Bulldogs, who shot just 6 for 23 after a 10-for-12 start.
San Francisco pulled to within two points when Dickerson nailed a three-pointer at the 14:10 mark of the second half, and he tied the game at 45-45 with a three-pointer with 10:32 left. The game was tied again at 47-47, but the Dons never took the lead.
NOTES: Gonzaga forward Mike Hart started for the fifth time in the past seven games. He had two points, five rebounds and three assists. ... Olynyk has scored 13 points or more in 15 straight games. ... Gonzaga's 24-2 record entering Saturday was its best 26-game record since 2004, when it also started 24-2. ... San Francisco freshman Avry Holmes had made 51.4 percent of his three-pointers heading into Saturday's game. That ranked second in the country for players who have made at least 1.5 three-pointers per game. He made 1 of 2 Saturday. ... Dickerson ranked first in the WCC and 18th in the country in rebounding entering Saturday's game, averaging 9.8 a game.