Saint Mary's knocks off No. 1 Gonzaga for WCC title

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COLBY 26, HUSSON 6: Carter Vicker had all of his four goals in the first half as Mules (2-2) opened a 15-3 lead by halftime and handled the Eagles (0-3) at Waterville.

St Mary's soundly defeated Gonzaga University 60-47 on Tuesday to win the West Coast Conference title and book a place in next week's coveted NCAA Tournament. The Gaels contained Gonzaga standout and leading scorer Rui Hachimura, who averages 20.1 points per game this season, to nine points.

With 9:17 remaining, Gonzaga climbed within one but, from there, St. Mary's finished the night on an 18-6 run and sent the Bulldogs home without the WCC Tournament title for the first time since 2012.

Gonzaga (30-3) will receive an at-large big into tournament, but its hopes of earning one of the four No. 1 seeds is now in question. The Bulldogs were riding a 21-game overall winning streak as a match-up with St. Mary's in the WCC title game arrived.

Gonzaga, victor of the past six WCC titles, was expected to claim their seventh and be an NCAA Tournament No.1 seed but the loss could relegate their ranking.

But while Gonzaga's lackluster showing in the final gets top billing thanks to their No. 1 ranking, what shouldn't be lost is the great game plan and execution by Saint Mary's.

The top-ranked Bulldogs have been unbeatable in conference play, as they own a ideal 16-0 record against their rivals.

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Syracuse: The Orange (19-12, 10-8 ACC) will play Pittsburgh on Wednesday in the ACC Tournament and if they can take care of business, would win their 20th game and be in good position to earn a bid. Their first game against Xavier on Thursday will be a tough one.

In a defeat that was extremely unexpected, the nation's top team in the polls has lost its conference tournament.

"They were mucking it up a little bit, getting into lanes and we just didn't make shots", said Gonzaga guard Josh Perkins, who had 10 points, four assists and five turnovers. The Saint Mary's win doesn't help at all.

No. 2 seed Saint Mary's (21-11, 12-5) vs. St. John's lost to DePaul 92-83 less than two weeks ago in Chicago.

Follow David Brandt on Twitter: www.twitter.com/davidbrandtAP.

A loss, even in a valiant effort, likely wasn't going to be enough to secure the Gaels' spot in the NCAA Tournament and that was reflected in an urgency that was not apparent in Gonzaga's performance.

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