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Gonzaga Basketball

Gonzaga gets closer to 10th WCC title; Thursday's game on KAYU

Gonzaga practices before leaving for Los Angeles for this week's games against LMU and Pepperdine (Photo: SWX) Gonzaga practices before leaving for Los Angeles for this week's games against LMU and Pepperdine (Photo: SWX)

SPOKANE, Wash. - A win Thursday and another on Saturday would guarantee the Gonzaga Bulldogs a 10th-consecutive regular season West Coast Conference title.  First on the docket: a showdown at Loyola Marymount - a game shown live on KAYU instead of KHQ in the Spokane market.

Gonzaga is definitely in the season's home stretch, winning the past nine games and holding a two game lead in conference play with four games left to play. While another postseason berth is all but guaranteed for the No. 13 Zags, winning another conference title is first and foremost before any talk of the Big Dance in March.

"A lot of people plan on us being in the NCAA tournament and think it's a birthright, but it's not," said Few in practice this week. "We're still not in yet, so you can't put the cart before the horse."

Lions vs. Zags

No. 13 Gonzaga
Loyola Marymount

Thurs., Feb. 18
at 6:00 p.m.

Speaking on this week's road trip, players know they're going to get the best from both LMU and Pepperdine.  But they also know this is their time to shine - to show the rest of the country they're one of the best teams out there this year... again.

"It's very important to basically show our dominance in this conference and be a team that everyone wants to be," said center Robert Sacre. "I'm excited to be playing the teams coming ahead in our conference."

"This is huge," said senior Matt Bouldin of this week's games. "This has been our goal since day one: trying to win that WCC title.  We really take a lot of pride in winning and we have to take care of business this weekend.

"We're definitely going to stay focused.  Both of these teams played us tough [in Spokane] - at least for a half. They're both really capable, they win a lot of games. We just need to come out with a different approach than we did last time."

The closest team in league play to the Zags are Saint Mary's (8-3 WCC), whom Gonzaga beat last week.  After losing in Spokane, the Gaels traveled to Portland and lost to the Pilots for their third conference loss of the season. Both Saint Mary's and Portland now have three losses and are fighting for a probable No. 2 seed in the upcoming WCC Tournament.

Gonzaga won the first game against Loyola Marymount this season 85-69, giving the Bulldogs 29 wins in the last 31 meetings with the Lions. The Zags have won five straight since LMU won in 2007.  The Lions' last six wins in the series - dating back to 1991 - have all come in Los Angeles.

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