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Top-Ranked Zags Prepare for WCC Semifinal; Olynyk Named a Wooden Award Finalist

Posted on March 9, 2013 in: Men's Basketball, Tracking the Zags, video
Kelly Olynyk dunks at the Battle in Seattle earlier this season. Photo by Austin Ilg

Kelly Olynyk dunks at the Battle in Seattle. Photo by Austin Ilg

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.

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