Update: 10:21 p.m.
Yoeli Childs scored 32 points, Elijah Bryant added 25 and the Cougars upset 2 seed Saint Mary’s to advance to the WCC Tournament final for the first time since 2015. TJ Haws (11 points) and Dalton Nixon (10 points) also reached double-figures scoring for the Cougars.
Excellent ball movement is usually the calling card of Saint Mary’s, but tonight it was BYU that put on the clinic (20 assists to six turnovers). BYU’s masterful display was made even more impressive by comparison.
Saint Mary’s offense sputtered all night long with Jock Landale (24 points) in foul trouble. The big man didn’t get going until the second half, at which point it was too late. Early in the game the Gaels relied on Jordan Ford, who scored a career high 27 points in the loss.
Update: 9:16 p.m.
2 seed Saint Mary’s and 3 seed BYU are locked in a back-and-forth battle in the second semifinal. There have been seven ties and 13 lead changes so far.
The Cougars have effectively taken Jock Landale (6 points, 0 rebounds, 3 fouls) out of the game. But they’ve had no answer for, of all people, sophomore guard Jordan Ford (15 points on 6-10 shooting). With a full half yet to play Ford is just five points shy of his career high.
Both teams are shooting over 50% from the field, with BYU leading the way and connecting at a 60.7% clip. Yoeli Childs, who hit a three at the buzzer to give BYU the lead, has 18 points to lead all scorers.
Update: 7:52 p.m.
Gonzaga advanced to the WCC Tournament final for the 21st consecutive season with an 88-60 win over San Francisco. Birthday boy Killian Tillie, who turned 20 today, led all scorers with 26 points. Tillie was a perfect 5-5 from three point range for the second consecutive game.
Rui Hachimura added 17 emphatic points while Zach Norvell Jr. (14 points) and Johnathan Williams (10 points) also hit double-figures scoring.
It was a dominant performance to extend a run of dominance within the league tournament. The Zags led for over 39 minutes, over 30 of which saw them up by double-digits. This win marks Gonzaga’s 16th straight in the WCC Tournament.
Update: 6:59 p.m.
It’s halftime between 1 seed Gonzaga and 4 seed San Francisco. Gonzaga’s been absolutely dominant. The Zags lead 48-27 and have connected on 64.3% of their shots from the field. That number was even higher before a scoreless final two-and-a-half minutes. The Zags made 16 of their first 20 shots.
San Francisco opened hot as well, making 8 of their first 13 shots. But the Zags dialed it in defensively and have held the Dons to just 2 of 11 since. San Francisco is turning the ball over on more than a quarter of its possessions.
Underclassmen account for 39 of the Zags 45 points. Guys like sophomore Killian Tillie have been making it look too easy.
Update: 6:13 p.m.
Gonzaga just missed a shot... their first of the game. The Zags opened by hitting six straight against San Francisco. We’ve just reached the first TV timeout of the game and Gonzaga’s already sitting on 16 points.
San Francisco, to it’s credit, isn’t slouching with the scoring either. The Dons have scored 9 points and aren’t letting the Zags blow the game open just yet. We’ve got a good one on ESPN.
Preview: 5:00 p.m. Pacific
We’ve got two great games on tap tonight out west, with the winner of each earning a spot in Tuesday’s West Coast Conference Tournament final. We’ll be updating the live blog periodically over the course of the evening, so check back for the latest news from Las Vegas. For now, here’s what you need to know before tonight’s two semifinals.
4 San Francisco Dons vs. 1 Gonzaga Bulldogs
6 p.m. Pacific on ESPN
Orleans Arena, Las Vegas
The No. 6-ranked and top-seeded Zags (28-4) will look to make it to their 21st consecutive WCC Tournament final tonight with a win over 4 seed San Francisco (18-14). Gonzaga has a lot of momentum behind it right now with 15 straight WCC Tournament wins. In their most recent, an 83-69 win over 8 seed Loyola Marymount in Saturday’s quarterfinal, the Zags shot a blistering 79.2 percent from the field in the second half.
San Francisco earned its way to the semis with a hard-fought, 71-70 overtime win over 5 seed Pacific on Saturday. The Dons, who were picked to finish fourth in the preseason, struggled through WCC play and finished with 9-9 record in league play. But they played Gonzaga tough, losing by just 10 points at home and only nine on the road. Only San Diego averaged a better scoring margin against Gonzaga in league play this season.
3 BYU Cougars vs. 2 Saint Mary’s Gaels
8:30 p.m. Pacific on ESPN2
Orleans Arena, Las Vegas
The Gaels are looking to make their third consecutive appearance in the WCC Tournament final while BYU is trying to get back to the championship game for the first time since 2015. This game also has big-time NCAA and NIT implications.
Saint Mary’s, which sits at 28-4 on the season and at No. 20 in the AP Poll, is firmly on the NCAA Tournament bubble. A loss tonight would lead to a sweaty Selection Sunday.
BYU, with its 23-9 record, is on a different bubble entirely. John Templon’s most recent NIT Bracketology has BYU as a 7 seed and in serious danger of missing out depending on how things break across the country.
Saint Mary’s swept the Cougars this season, but needed overtime to win in Provo.