Las Vegas, NV (Sports Network) – Mickey McConnell and Ben Allen each hit four three-pointers to key the Gaels' terrific shooting effort, as St. Mary's downed No. 18 Gonzaga, 81-62, to capture the West Coast Conference Tournament title.
McConnell ended with 26 points, six assists and four steals, while Allen added 20 points and nine rebounds for the Gaels (26-5), who used a 14-3 run midway through the second half to secure the win and their sixth NCAA Tournament berth.
A 10-for-21 effort from three-point land and 14 forced turnovers helped spark the second WCC tournament crown in St. Mary's history.
Steven Gray scored 16 points and Matt Bouldin went for 14 on 2-of-8 shooting for the Bulldogs (26-6), who had swept the season series against the Gaels and beat them by 25 in last year's conference championship tilt.
The Zags are still expected to earn an at-large bid into the NCAA Tournament when the field is announced on Sunday.
It was a two-possession game through the first 10 minutes of the second half, as a Gray bucket had Gonzaga, the WCC regular season champs, within 50-47.
Allen's three with just under nine minutes to play sparked the game-altering stretch, which ended appropriately on a McConnell three-ball for a 64-50 lead with 6 1/2 minutes left.
The margin was 64-54 before Allen and Jordan Page each hit from long distance, and Page's tear-drop while being fouled on the next possession put the finishing touches on an emphatic victory for St. Mary's.
McConnell scored the first seven points of the game to give the second-seeded Gaels an early lead. The Bulldogs settled down from a slow start, and though they never led in the opening 20 minutes, were within 30-29 at the break.
St. Mary's has won five straight overall, while Gonzaga was riding a five-game winning streak coming in...The only other WCC tourney title for the Gaels came back in 1997...The Bulldogs own 10 WCC Tournament titles and had captured five of the previous six crowns...Page ended with 11 points, while Omar Samhan had nine points and seven rebounds for the Gaels...Elias Harris posted eight points on 3-of-13 shooting for Gonzaga.