Feb. 12, 2010

SPOKANE, Wash. (AP)--Elias Harris scored 19 points as No. 16 Gonzaga beat Saint Mary's of California 80-61 on Thursday to climb into first place in the West Coast Conference and reach 20 wins for the 13th consecutive season.

Matt Bouldin added 18 points as Gonzaga (20-4, 8-1 WCC), which swept the series with Saint Mary's, took a big step toward a 10th consecutive WCC regular-season title.

Omar Samhan had 21 points and 11 rebounds for Saint Mary's (21-4, 8-2), which saw its six-game winning streak snapped. Matthew Dellavedova added 11 points.

The game was close for the first 23 minutes, with numerous lead changes, and Saint Mary's tied it at 43 on Samhan's basket with just over 16 minutes left in the game.

After that, it was all Gonzaga. Demetri Goodson scored to start a 16-3 run over the next three minutes that put Gonzaga ahead 59-46.

Consecutive baskets by Harris gave Gonzaga a 70-54 lead with nine minutes left and the Gaels were done.

Gonzaga held the Gaels to 37 percent shooting, forced them into 17 turnovers and outscored them 41-25 in the second half to win the sixth consecutive game against perhaps its toughest WCC rival.

Robert Sacre added 13 points for the Zags, who shot 54 percent in a surprisingly easy victory.

Gonzaga missed eight of its first 10 shots in the game as Saint Mary's took a 12-5 lead after six minutes of play. Bol Kong's 3-pointer tied it at 16, and his layup put the Zags ahead 18-16. The lead changed hands numerous times after that.

A 3-pointer by Ben Allen of Saint Mary's with 7 seconds left tied it at 36, but Bouldin's 3-pointer at the buzzer gave Gonzaga a 39-36 halftime lead.

Samhan had 14 first-half points.

Gonzaga has won 12 of its past 13 games. The Bulldogs are 71-4 in the McCarthey Athletic Center since it opened in 2004.