LAS VEGAS, Nev. – Top-seeded Gonzaga University will face the No. 5 seed Loyola Marymount University in Sunday's 5:30 p.m. semifinal of the West Coast Conference men's basketball tournament.
LMU defeated No. 4 seed University of San Francisco 84-76 Saturday night in quarterfinal action. LMU advanced to Saturday's game against USF with an 87-84 win over No. 8 seed Pepperdine University Friday night.
Vernon Teel and Drew Viney scored 18 points apiece to lead the Lions. Teel had seven rebounds and five assists, while Viney had eight rebounds. Ashley Hamilton added 14 points Loyola Marymount, which shot 49 percent (29 of 59) from the field and 80 percent (20 of 25) from the free-throw line.
Kwame Vaughn led San Francisco (12-18) with 20 points, highlighted by an 11-of-13 showing from the free-throw line. Dior Lowhorn added 18 points and nine rebounds.
Gonzaga and LMU split the regular-season series, each winning on its home floor.
Shooting woes hampered Gonzaga and the Lions got balanced scoring with five players in double figures in a 74-66 upset in the second meeting in Los Angeles this season. The Bulldogs had won 13 of their last 14 games and four in a row heading into the contest. The Bulldogs shot just 34.4 percent from the field (21-for-61) for the game, their lowest percentage since shooting 27.8 percent (15-for-54) in a mid-December loss to Duke University in Madison Square Garden.
Gonzaga began the game 4-for-4 from 3-point range then hit just two of its next 12 shots from beyond the arc to finish 6-for-16. Elias Harris went 4-for-11 and Rob Sacre 0-for-5 inside, and Matt Bouldin (3-for-12) and Steven Gray (4-for-14) were cold from the perimeter.
The Lions got 17 points from Hamilton, 16 from Viney, 12 off the bench from Larry Davis, 11 from Kevin Young and 10 from Jarrod DuBois. Viney also contributed 10 rebounds and five assists. The victory was the Lions' first over a ranked team since the 1990 NCAA tournament, when they defeated the University of Alabama in the West Regional semifinals.
Harris scored 22 points and grabbed eight rebounds in an 85-69 GU victory in the first meeting in Spokane. LMU shot 53 percent in the first half and had the game tied at 42 at intermission, behind 16 points by Teel. But the Lions shot just 32 percent in the second half and Gonzaga scored the first eight points after the break, including Robert Sacre's first basket in a game and a half, for a 50-42 lead. The Lions made only three field goals in the first 10 minutes of the second half and Gonzaga opened with an 11-2 run.
Sunday's game will be televised on ESPN2 and will also be aired on 1510 KGA and KEYF 101.1 FM radio.
Oliver Pierce, SID, Gonzaga University