No. 15 Gonzaga never trailed Saturday but needed key defensive stops in the last four minutes to hold off San Francisco 82-73 for a West Coast Conference win at McCarthey Athletic Center in Spokane, Wash.
Five players reached double figures for the Bulldogs (19-4, 9-1 WCC), led by 16 points each from forwards Killian Tillie and Johnathan Williams. Rui Hachimura came off the bench to score 14, while Silas Melson contributed 13 points. Josh Perkins added 11, canning four free throws in the last minute to seal the outcome.
The Dons (12-11, 4-6) also received balanced scoring, putting four men in double digits. Frankie Ferrari and Jordan Ratinho each tallied 15 points to lead the way. Chase Foster scored 13 in a reserve role, and Matt McCarthy hit for 10 points.
Ferrari canned a 3-pointer to draw San Francisco within 74-71 with 3:09 left in the game, but the Dons didn’t make another field goal after that. Their only points for the game’s remainder were foul shots by Ratinho with 2:21 remaining that made it 76-73.
Williams answered with two free throws 20 seconds later, and Gonzaga quashed the Dons’ upset hopes by stopping the visitors on their last four possessions.
Gonzaga started the first half as though it might win by 50 points. Tillie’s 3-pointer gave the hosts a 13-3 lead less than four minutes into the game, and the Bulldogs expanded the advantage to 29-11 at the 10:23 mark when Melson drilled a 3-pointer.
However, San Francisco suddenly found traction, making it a game again as it shacked Gonzaga for the half’s remainder. The Bulldogs managed only three points after Melson’s bucket, a Perkins jumper and a Williams free throw, while going through scoring droughts of 5:50 and 3:25.
The Dons methodically reeled in Gonzaga, eventually cutting the deficit to 31-29 as Lull converted a layup with 2:10 left in the half. San Francisco went into the locker room trailing by just 32-29.
Both teams finished the game shooting at or just over 50 percent from the floor, but Gonzaga converted 19 of 23 free throws to San Francisco’s 8 of 11.
--Field Level Media