Zags Featured on ESPN GameDay Today
LAS VEGAS – As the nation’s No. 1 ranked Gonzaga University Bulldogs men prepare for today’s 6 p.m. semifinal West Coast Conference Tournament clash against No. 9 seed Loyola Marymount University, Zags’ junior forward Kelly Olynyk today was named one of 15 finalists for the Wooden Player of the Year Award. Also today, ESPN College GameDay featured a behind-the-scenes feature about Gonzaga’s Bulldogs. In addition, ESPN’s “College GameDay” crew made their picks for college basketball player of the year, and Jalen Rose chose Olynyk.
The 29-2 Zags, who ascended to the top of the nation’s college rankings (in both polls) for the first time this week, are the No. 1 seed in the WCC Tournament after having run the table 16-0 in the WCC. The Zags can achieve another first today – their first 30-win season – with a victory tonight.
The LMU Lions, 1-15 in conference play this season, stunned No. 4-seed Santa Clara University 60-58 on Friday in the quarterfinals at The Orleans Arena.
Anthony Ireland scored 23 points, seven steals and three assists to lead the Lions. His layup with six seconds left gave LMU a 59-58 lead, and he made 1-of-2 free throws with :02 remaining for the win. Santa Clara’s Kevin Foster missed a 3-pointer at the buzzer.
The Lions beat No. 8 University of Portland 65-54 Wednesday, and overcame fifth-seeded University of San Francisco 61-60 in overtime Thursday’s second round.
The Zags beat LMU 88-43 in Los Angeles in their first meeting this season, then beat them 74-55 in the McCarthey Athletic Center. The Bulldogs lead the all-time series 57-23 and have won 35 of the last 38 meetings dating to 1996.
The last time LMU beat Gonzaga was a 74-66 victory at Gersten Pavilion in 2010. Today marks the eighth WCC Tournament meeting between the Bulldogs and Lions; Gonzaga holds a 5-2 edge in the tourney series. The teams last met in the tournament in 2010 when No. 1 Gonzaga beat the fifth-seeded Lions 77-62 in the semifinals.