Gonzaga put itself on the right side of the bubble and fought off a late rally by Saint Mary’s to win its fourth consecutive West Coast Conference (WCC) Championship and punch a ticket to the NCAA Tournament for the 18th consecutive season. Senior Eric McClellan led the Bulldogs with 20 points as Gonzaga won 85-75 despite 25 points from Saint Mary’s guard and Australian sensation Emmett Naar.
Complete efficiency was the name of the game for Gonzaga, who shot nearly 62 percent from the field and 46 percent from long range. The Bulldogs also sank 21 of 22 free throws, which also helped a great deal as the Gaels just couldn’t keep up with Gonzaga’s pace.
And now Gonzaga can breathe a little easier as they are now guaranteed to make the tournament without having to rely on an at-large bid. They will be looking to capitalize off of last year’s strong tourney performance, in which they got as far as the Elite Eight before losing to eventual champion Duke.
This year’s Gonzaga team isn’t as strong or as deep as 2015’s and definitely won’t be a No. 2 seed, but this win generates enough momentum that they just may need to be considered for a lengthy tournament run.
Stay tuned to Campus Sports for further updates from the Bulldogs’ path to the NCAA Tournament!
*Featured Photo (above) credit to USA TODAY Sports