Tillie leads No. 7 Gonzaga over San Francisco
LAS VEGAS — The Gonzaga Bulldogs and Killian Tillie might be playing their best at the right time.
After shooting 61 percent against Loyola Marymount in their West Coast Conference Tournament quarterfinals, the No. 7 Bulldogs kept that high percentage going against San Francisco Monday night.
Tillie scored 26 points on 10-of-11 shooting, including connecting on all five 3-pointers, to lead Gonzaga past the Dons, 88-60.
Tillie has made all 10 3-point attempts at the tournament and is 19-of-23 from the field. His streak of converting 3's is 11 and dates back to the last game of the regular season against BYU.
"Coach (Mark Few) is telling me to shoot the ball and he's mad at me when I don't shoot," Tillie said. "I've just been making them."
Top-seeded Gonzaga will be going for its sixth consecutive WCC Tournament title on Tuesday. The Bulldogs play the winner Saint Mary's-BYU game. It'll be their 21st straight conference tournament final.
"It's great to advance to another tournament final, but it's not easy when everyone is telling them (you're going to win every year)," Gonzaga coach Mark Few said. "These guys do a masterful job with those expectations. We will get everyone's best shot (tomorrow)."
Also for the top-seeded Bulldogs (29-4), Rui Hachimura had 17 points and Zach Norvell Jr. added 14. Johnathan Williams had 10 points and 10 rebounds for Gonzaga, which won its 13th straight, and 16th at the WCC Tournament.
Nate Renfro led the fourth-seeded Dons (18-15) with 15 points. Frankie Ferrari and Souley Boum each added nine points for San Francisco, which lost its 14 straight to Gonzaga.
BULLDOGS STILL HOT: The Bulldogs played a nearly flawless first half, shooting 18-of-28 (64 percent), including 8-of-14 (57 percent) from 3-point range.
After the Dons scored the game's first two points, the Bulldogs went on a 13-2 run and never trailed again. San Francisco went on an 11-6 run but came no closer the rest of the game. Gonzaga, which had a 23-point advantage in the session, led 48-27 at halftime.
"Our defense in the first 15 minutes of the game is what won it for us," Few said. "Offensively, we've been making shots."
Gonzaga's lead never got below 19 and grew to as many as 33 in the second half. The Bulldogs finished from the field at 53 percent, and 46 percent from 3-point range.
"You're not going to take everything away from (Gonzaga)," San Francisco coach Kyle Smith said. "We got in a little flow offensively early. But then we didn't make defensive stops. We learned the hard way. They're nationally ranked. They're use to being here."
Gonzaga: Gonzaga also has won 48 of 49 league neutral site games. Earlier this season, the Bulldogs defeated the Dons by 10 points at USF and by nine points at home. Josh Perkins had six points and eight assists for the Bulldogs.
"We love playing basketball," he said. "We love playing with each other and for each other. I'm a leader and I'll keep finding them."
San Francisco: This was the Dons' fourth game at the Orleans Arena this year. They went 2-2 and won one of two games on December 22-23, but were the champions of the Las Vegas Invitational, losing to Duquesne, but beating Nevada.
"The last eight games, we made a push," Ferrari said. "Our chemistry was sky high at the end of the year. To beat a team like that, you have to start strong."