Gonzaga escapes in OT to advance to WCC title game
Spokane, WA (Sports Network) – Adam Morrison scored 24 points, as fifth-ranked
Gonzaga advanced to the final of the West Coast Conference Tournament,
sneaking past San Diego in overtime, 96-92.
Derek Raivio and J.P. Batista each tallied 21 points for the Bulldogs (26-3),
who won their 38th straight game at the McCarthey Athletic Center and 26th
straight against WCC opponents. Batista also added 13 boards.
Gonzaga will face Loyola Marymount in Monday’s championship game.
Nick Lewis led all scorers with 26 points for the Toreros (18-12), whose only
WCC tournament championship came in 2003. Brandon Johnson recorded 19 points,
five rebounds and five assists. Ross DeRogatis added 17.
The Bulldogs took control late in the extra frame, as Morrison converted two
free throws and Batista dropped in a layup to give Gonzaga a four-point lead
with just 20 seconds remaining in the period.
On San Diego’s next possession, Johnson converted two free throws after being
fouled to bring the Toreros within two, 94-92, with 12.7 seconds remaining.
San Diego then fouled Batista, who only made 1-of-2 free throws, giving the
Toreros one last chance to tie the game.
However, Johnson’s three-pointer bounced out, and Batista converted another
free throw to ice the game.
Clinging to a one point lead with a minute remaining in regulation, Raivio
seemingly gave the Bulldogs a comfortable lead, stealing the ball from
Degrogtas and converting a three point play at the other end of the court.
San Diego, however, was not out of the game.
On Toreros’ next possession, Johnson converted 1-of-2 free throws to bring
San Diego within three.
Batista collected the rebound on the miss, but DeRogatis picked his pocket,
giving San Diego the ball back.
After a timeout, San Diego fed the ball down low to Lewis, who converted a
layup to bring the Toreros within one, 84-83, with just 5.5 seconds remaining.
San Diego then fouled Morrison, who only managed to knock in one of two free
throws, pushing the lead to two with just 4.6 seconds left.
With no timeouts, the Toreros darted down the length of the court, and Johnson
dished to Corey Belser, who somehow managed to put in a layup with 0.1 seconds
left to send the game to overtime.
The Bulldogs led by 10 at halftime, 43-33.
Nir Cohen scored 15 points for San Diego…Belser finished with six points and
seven rebounds…Morrison and Batista each shot 11-of-14 from the free throw
line…The Bulldogs shot 53 percent from three-point territory…Gonzaga
dominated the boards, 42-30.