Waves Assist on Zags' 7th Straight Regular Season WCC CrownPosted: Updated:
San Diego, CA - Thanks to a nice assist from Pepperdine, the Gonzaga Bulldogs are regular season champions of the West Coast Conference for the 7th straight year and 9th time in 10 years. Shortly after Gonzaga won at San Diego, 74-64, conference co-leaders Santa Clara lost to Pepperdine in overtime, 89-82, giving Gonzaga the regular season crown by one game in the standings. Gonzaga finished with an 11-3 WCC record to Santa Clara's 10-4 mark.
The Zags continue to get strong play from emerging University of Kansas transfer Micah Downs, who scored a career-high 20 points. Jeremy Pargo added 15 points and David Pendergraft 11. Downs scored 13 of his points during an 18-5 run in the second half that put the Zags ahead 60-50 with 9:22 remaining. Gonzaga has now won four of six games since 6-foot-11 star sophomore center Josh Heytvelt was arrested for investigation of drug possession and indefinitely suspended.
With a 21-10 overall record, Gonzaga still doesn't have a spot in the NCAA tournament sewed up, though. The Bulldogs will be at the University of Portland's Chiles Center this weekend for the WCC tournament, which they need to win to guarantee their ninth consecutive NCAA tournament trip. The WCC tournament opens on Friday, with the title game to be held on Monday night. By capturing one of the top two seeds, Gonzaga has a bye until the semifinals on Sunday against an opponent still to be determined. KHQ will begin live reports from the WCC tournament starting Saturday.