No. 4 Gonzaga beats Santa Clara, advanced to WCC final

LAS VEGAS — Nigel Williams-Goss scored 25 points and No. 4 Gonzaga beat Santa Clara 77-68 in its semifinal game to advance to the West Coast Conference final on Monday night.

“It’s March and the teams we’re playing are playing with a sense of desperation, that their season is going to end,” Bulldogs coach Mark Few said.

“This group and the ones before them have done an incredible job.”

Przemek Karnowski added 19 points and seven rebounds and Jonathan Williams finished with 11 points and six rebounds for the Bulldogs (31-1), who shot 55.8 percent on 29-for-52 shooting, while scoring 46 points in the paint.

The Zags, who last failed to advance to the West Coast Conference title game in 1997, are in the WCC title game for the 20th straight season.

“I take it personally because there are a ton of people in Spokane who come down for this,” Few added.

“They literally circle the dates on the calendar in July or whenever they announce it. They spend a good portion of their hard-earned money to come down here for a whole week.

Senior guard Jared Brownridge scored 32 points to lead the way for Santa Clara (17-16), which lost all three meetings against the Zags this season.

Matt Hauser ended with 13 points and five rebounds for the Broncos, who have lost 15 in a row to Gonzaga and trailed 37-29 at halftime on Monday night.

Santa Clara coach Herb Sendek had high praises for the nation’s fourth ranked team.

“What Gonzaga has done is truly remarkable. They deserve a lot of credit,” Sendek said. “It’s not always easy being Goliath.”

As a team, the Broncos shot 26-for-63 for 41.3 percent, while going just 9-for-25 from 3-pointers in the defeat.

Gonzaga will seek to win its fifth straight conference championship Tuesday night against No. 19 Saint Mary’s, which reached the tournament decider with an 81-50 victory against BYU in the night’s late second semifinal.

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