Gonzaga wins 2014 West Coast Conference basketball tournament

Ethan Miller

The Bulldogs secured their spot in the NCAA Tournament once again.

The Gonzaga Bulldogs are heading to their 16th straight NCAA Tournament appearance after defeating the BYU Cougars, 75-64, in the WCC Tournament championship game.

It is the second consecutive conference tournament championship for Gonzaga and puts BYU at the whims of the selection committee for a few days. BYU's profile includes solid wins at Stanford, against Texas and against Gonzaga. But the Cougars also have dubious losses to LMU and Portland.

The Bulldogs jumped out to an huge lead at half and it seemed like Gonzaga would coast to victory. BYU got a kickstart after guard Kyle Collinsworth went out of the game with a knee injury with about 14 minutes remaining in the second half. BYU would go on a 10-0 run to bring the Cougars within striking distance, but each time the Cougars tried to close the gap, Gonzaga responded.

Sam Dower led Gonzaga with 20 points 13 rebounds as the lone big man for much of the game. Gonzaga center Przemek Karnowski was limited with foul trouble throughout the second half. Gonzaga was rolling in the game, but missed a few free throws to let BYU creep back into contention. Even Dower, who entered the game a perfect 23-for-23 from the line in the tournament, missed his three free throw attempts. As a team, the Bulldogs were 19-for-30 from the free throw line.

BYU entered the game as one of the top scoring teams in the nation at 84.8 points per game. The Cougars struggled to get much of anything going, shooting 35.6 percent from the floor. They were worse from outside, going just 3-for-13 from three. Tyler Haws, one of the top scorers in the country, finished the game with 24 points but had to do much of it from the line. Haws shot 6-for-14 from the floor and went a perfect 11-for-11 from the free throw line. Guard Matt Carlino had a particularly brutal night, going 3-for-12 from the floor and missing all five of his three-point attempts.

It was the 17th straight year Gonzaga has played in the WCC Tournament title game.

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