MALIBU, Calif. — Second-ranked Gonzaga hasn’t had many ugly wins this season, but Saturday night’s game against Pepperdine was something it needed with the NCAA tournament less than a month away.
The Bulldogs had some early foul trouble and were out of sync until getting into a rhythm in the second half and pulling away for an 89-77 victory that extended their winning streak to 18 games.
“It’s one of the better wins we’ve had this year with what we dealt with and powered through it. It wasn’t going perfect for long stretches, but we found a way. That’s how you have to win in March,” Gonzaga coach Mark Few said.
The Bulldogs were missing Killian Tillie, who is second on the team in scoring, due to an ankle injury and then had two starters pick up two fouls apiece in the first half. However, Filip Petrusev was able to come through when needed.
The sophomore forward had 27 points and 12 rebounds for his eighth double-double of the season. Petrusev scored 20 points in the first half as Gonzaga kept feeding the ball to him down low in the paint.
The Bulldogs (26-1, 11-0 West Coast Conference) had only seven players see action, with all but one scoring in double figures. Corey Kispert had 19 points, including five three-pointers.
The game was tied at 43 before Gonzaga took control with a 13-2 run. Kispert’s three-pointer with 15:33 remaining gave the Bulldogs a 46-43 advantage, and Joel Ayayi had five points during the spurt.
Gonzaga’s largest lead was 14 late in the second half. The Bulldogs have won 39 straight regular-season WCC games, the longest streak of its kind in the nation.
Colbey Ross scored 23 points and Kameron Edwards had 22 for Pepperdine (14-13, 7-6).
Zags women clinch tie for WCC title
SPOKANE — Jenn Wirth scored 11 points and grabbed a career-high 15 rebounds as the No. 15 Gonzaga women clinched a tie for their 16th WCC title with a 53-46 win over Santa Clara.
Nine players played and scored and eight played at least 14 minutes for the Bulldogs (25-2, 14-1), who have a three-game lead with three games to play and have 16 straight home wins.
Gonzaga led 30-19 at the half, and the first basket of the second half produced a 32-19 lead.
Tia Hay topped Santa Clara (9-16, 3-11) with 13 points.