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(Monday, March 11th)
Final Score: (1) Gonzaga 65, Saint Mary's 51
Las Vegas, NV (Sports Network) - Kelly Olynyk and the top-ranked Gonzaga Bulldogs ran the table in the West Coast Conference regular season and fittingly cruised in its tournament title game.
Olynyk, the WCC Player of the Year and Wooden Award finalist, scored 21 points and grabbed 12 rebounds as Gonzaga rolled past Saint Mary's, 65-51, at Orleans Arena.
Gonzaga (31-2) won all three meetings against its heated rival this season and has won 14 in a row heading into the NCAA Tournament to strengthen its case as the potential No. 1 overall seed.
"We can't focus on rankings and other things. If we play our game, everything will take care of itself," Olynyk said. "We want to come out and make noise in the (NCAA) Tournament, play deep into March."
Elias Harris chipped in 19 points for the top-seeded Bulldogs, who were playing the second-seeded Gaels in the WCC tourney final for the fifth straight year.
Saint Mary's (27-6) won last year's showdown but shot just 36 percent from the field on Monday to put its NCAA Tournament fate in the hands of the selection committee. Stephen Holt carried the load offensively with 19 points, while Matthew Dellavedova was limited to two points on 1-of-8 shooting in the loss.
"Against a team like Gonzaga, you are going to have to play better. You are going to have to make shots," Saint Mary's head coach Randy Bennett said.
Dellavedova's only field goal gave the Gaels a 16-15 lead just over seven minutes in, but Gonzaga scored the next nine points and never trailed again.
During the stretch, which featured five points from Olynyk, Dellavedova's backcourt mate, Jorden Page, suffered a knee injury and did not return.
Another 9-0 run later in the first half, capped by Harris and Gary Bell, Jr.'s give-and-go in transition, saw the Bulldogs' lead grow to 12, and it was a 38-29 affair at the break.
Gonzaga didn't slow down after the intermission. Olynyk highlighted an 8-0 run with a tomahawk baseline jam over Brad Waldow for a 53-34 cushion, and the closest Saint Mary's got in the final 13 minutes was a dozen.
The last time Gonzaga didn't play for the WCC title game was 1997 ... The Bulldogs have won 12 WCC tourney titles, the previous one coming in 2011 ... Gonzaga shot 52 percent from the field and had a 42-18 edge in points in the paint ... Dellavedova came in averaging over 16 points per game.
03/12 01:05:39 ET
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