SPOKANE, Wash. (AP) — Steven Gray scored 26 points and No. 18 Gonzaga crushed Santa Clara 88-51 on Thursday night to clinch at least a tie for a 10th consecutive West Coast Conference regular season title, one of the longest such runs in NCAA history.
Gonzaga (23-5, 11-2) dominated from the start, limiting Santa Clara to 34 percent shooting and holding them below 30 points for the first 30 minutes of the game. The Zags shot 57 percent and dominated the boards 43-28.
Niyi Harrison and Marc Trasolini both had 13 points for Santa Clara (11-19, 3-10), which lost to Gonzaga for the ninth straight time.
Gray was 10 of 12 from the field and had six rebounds. Bol Kong had 12 points and Robert Sacre 11 for the Zags, who substituted liberally in the second half to make the final score appear closer than the game was.
Gray made all four of his shots, including three 3-pointers, for 13 points as Gonzaga jumped to an 18-7 lead in the first 6 minutes.
Gray had 19 points in the first half to outscore the entire Santa Clara team as Gonzaga led 41-15. Santa Clara made just 6 of 25 shots in the first half (24 percent) and its 15 points were a season low.
Gonzaga extended its lead to 47-19 with 15:40 left, as the Broncos missed six of their first seven shots in the second half. The lead reached 65-25 with just over 8 minutes left.
In the first game between these teams, Gonzaga came back from a 15-point deficit in the second half to win 71-64.
In winning at least a share of a 10th consecutive WCC title, Gonzaga moved into a tie with Connecticut (1951-60 Yankee Conference) and UNLV (1983-92 Big West) for the second-longest such streak in NCAA history. UCLA is first with 13 straight Pac-10 titles from 1967-79.
Gonzaga is 73-4 in the McCarthey Athletic Center since it opened in 2004.