March 12, 2019 / 3:19 AM / 14 days ago

No. 1 Zags pound Pepperdine to reach WCC final

EditorsNote: adds next opponent in third graf

March 11, 2019; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Gonzaga Bulldogs guard Josh Perkins (13) shoots the basketball against the Pepperdine Waves during the first half in the semifinals of the WCC Basketball Championships at Orleans Arena. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

Sophomore guard Zach Norvell Jr. scored 18 points on 8-of-10 shooting to help top-ranked Gonzaga roll to a 100-74 victory over Pepperdine on Monday night in Las Vegas in the West Coast Conference semifinals.

Junior forward Rui Hachimura added 16 points and power forward Brandon Clarke had 15 points, seven rebounds, five assists as the Bulldogs (30-2) defeated the Waves for the 37th consecutive time.

The top-seeded Zags will face second-seeded Saint Mary’s (21-11) on Tuesday in the championship game, with Gonzaga shooting for its seventh consecutive WCC tournament title. The Gaels beat seventh-seeded San Diego 69-62 in the second semifinal.

Senior point guard Josh Perkins recorded 11 points and six assists, and sophomore forward Corey Kispert also had 11 points as Gonzaga won its 21st consecutive game and reached the 30-win mark for the third straight season. Freshman forward Filip Petrusev added 10 points.

Sophomore guard Colbey Ross scored 20 points for Pepperdine (16-18) but committed eight of his team’s 16 turnovers. Senior guard Eric Cooper Jr. added 16 points, and sophomore guard Jade’ Smith had 14 points and nine rebounds for the Waves, who shot 44.6 percent from the field and were 9 of 24 from 3-point range.

Gonzaga shot 59.7 percent from the field — including 11 of 23 from long range — while committing 13 turnovers. The Bulldogs held a 37-28 rebounding advantage.

Bulldogs junior forward Killian Tillie returned from a seven-game absence caused by to a foot injury and contributed nine points and six rebounds in 15 minutes.

Tillie went 3 of 3 from 3-point range to help Gonzaga take a 47-26 lead into the break.

The score was tied at 8 when Tillie entered with 15:17 left in the half, and the Bulldogs immediately erupted.

Gonzaga scored eight straight points with Tillie capping the run with a 3-pointer.

Freshman forward Kessler Edwards drained a 3-pointer to pull Pepperdine within 16-13 with 11:49 left before Tillie buried another 3-pointer to start a 13-0 run. Kispert culminated the run with a layup with 7:46 remaining.

The lead reached 20 for the first time when Hachimura converted a layup to make it 40-20 with 3:53 left.

The Waves trailed by 19 early in the second half before Gonzaga erupted with a 17-3 surge. Hachimura ended that flurry with a layup with 15:31 remaining.

The Bulldogs later rolled off 13 straight points with Perkins’ fastbreak layup elevating the margin to 79-38 with 10:28 left.

—Field Level Media

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