No. 6 Gonzaga rallies to beat San Diego, 77-72
SAN DIEGO (AP) — Killian Tillie scored 17 points, Rui Hachimura added 16 and No. 6 Gonzaga beat San Diego 77-72 on Thursday night to clinch at least a share of the West Coast Conference title.
The Bulldogs (26-4, 16-1 WCC) defeated the Toreros (17-12, 8-9) for the eighth straight game and for the 19th time in their last 20 meetings.
Olin Cater III led San Diego with 21 points.
After trailing at halftime and falling behind by eight points in the second half, the Bulldogs didn’t seize the lead until midway through the second half, when Tillie’s 3-pointer made it 52-51.
It was a back-and-forth affair from there, with the Toreros relying on their stingy defense to slow the up-tempo Bulldogs. But Gonzaga had too much firepower and was helped by four straight free throws from Hachimura when taking the lead for good with four minutes remaining.
Gonzaga demolished San Diego in last year’s visit by 58 points. The Bulldogs built an early six-point lead in this one but San Diego bounced back, tying the score at 27 with five minutes left on the first of three straight 3-point baskets by Carter. When he hit his second one, San Diego had a three-point advantage, its first edge since the game’s opening bucket.
Tyler Williams’ mid-range jumper gave San Diego a 35-30 lead and it was 37-34 at halftime. San Diego finished the first 20 minutes by converting 4 of 7 3-point shots.
Gonzaga: When Gonzaga fell behind early in the game, it was the first time it had trailed in four games. ... The Bulldogs have earned at least a share of the WCC title in 17 of the past 18 seasons and 18 of the last 20. ... Gonzaga is the only team in the nation with seven players to score at least 20 points in a game this season.
University of San Diego: The highest-ranked team the Toreros have beaten is No. 14 UCLA in the 2002-03 season. ... Forward Cameron Neubauer was honored before the game on senior night.
Gonzaga is at BYU on Saturday night.
San Diego is at San Francisco on Saturday night.