Kelly Olynyk, Gonzaga Bulldogs Win the West Coast Conference Tournament
The Gonzaga Bulldogs are having its first 30-win season ever and are ranked number one in the nation for the first time in program’s history. Some people would think that Gonzaga would be nervous and lose in the West Coast Conference tournament.
The Bulldogs (31-2, 16-0 WCC) beat Loyola Marymount 66-48 on Saturday night. On Monday night, Gonzaga won the WCC tournament final 65-51 over the rival Saint Mary’s Gaels (27-6, 14-2 WCC). WCC Player of the Year Kelly Olynyk recorded a double-double, scoring a game-high 21 points and grabbing 12 rebounds.
Gaels’ Matthew Dellavedova, who had been averaging 16.2 points per game, finished with 2 points on 1-of-8 shooting. Outside of Stephan Holt, who scored 19 points, the rest of the team shot 12-of-42 (28.6 percent) from the field.
The game stayed close throughout the first half until Saint Mary’s Jorden Page injured his knee midway through the half. After the Page injury, the Bulldogs went on a 14-to-5 run to extend the lead to 10 points at 31-21. Gonzaga led 38-29 at halftime.
After an Olynyk dunk at the 13:43 mark of the second half, which increased the Gonzaga lead to 19 points, the Bulldogs never let the scoring margin get any closer than 12 points.
Elias Harris also finished in double figures for the Bulldogs, scoring 19 points. Gary Bell Jr. chipped in with nine points.
Gonzaga is deserving of a number one seed in the NCAA tournament. The Bulldogs’ only losses are against the then-ranked Illinois Fighting Illini and the then-ranked Butler Bulldogs. Unbeaten in conference play, Gonzaga hasn’t lost since Jan. 19.
Now, Saint Mary’s should be a lock for the NCAA tournament. The Gaels’ only losses since Dec. 23, which was a defeat against Northern Iowa, have been against Gonzaga. With an RPI of 33, the Gaels should be on the bracket come Selection Sunday.
The Bulldogs have been to the tournament every year since Head Coach Mark Few took over in 1999. After punching their ticket on Monday night, this may be the team most poised to make a Final Four run. A deep team like Gonzaga have a great chance to make a deep run during March Madness.