LAS VEGAS – Three days into the West Coast Conference Tournament and two days before Gonzaga takes the court, the second-ranked Zags learned their assignment in Monday’s semifinals.
Gonzaga will face No. 5 San Francisco at 6 p.m. Monday on ESPN. The Dons (22-11) eliminated No. 4 Pacific 72-54 in Saturday’s quarterfinals at Orleans Arena in Las Vegas.
The top-seeded Zags (29-2) trailed at halftime in both regular-season games against USF before rallying for 83-79 and 71-54 victories.
San Francisco’s offensive balance and second-half defense were too much for the Tigers (23-10). Guard Charles Minlend scored a team-high 19 points, center Jimbo Lull had 16 and point guard Jamaree Bouyea added 11 points and four assists. Four more Dons contributed at least five points.
Pacific senior wing Jahlil Tripp scored 23 of his 29 points in the first half, which ended with USF on top 36-35. The Dons contained Tripp in the closing half, and the Tigers ran short of scoring options.
USF, which opened the tournament with an 82-53 victory over Loyola Marymount on Friday, shot 54% from the field and 50% behind the 3-point line. Pacific made just 5 of 33 second-half shots.
In Monday’s second semifinal, second-seeded BYU will face the winner of Saturday’s late game between No. 3 Saint Mary’s and No. 6 Pepperdine. Tip time is approximately 8:30 on ESPN2.
The title game tips at 6 p.m. Tuesday on ESPN.
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