Gonzaga Overcomes Sluggish First Half, Defeats Loyola Marymount In WCC Semifinals

USA TODAY Sports

The Bulldogs only led by one at halftime but senior forward Elias Harris guided the Zags to a big second half...

Gonzaga took the floor tonight as the No. 1 team in the country for the first time in school history and, for the first half, it looked like it would be pretty short lived.

The Zags lacked any sort of consistency offensively as they stumbled throughout the first half and looked extremely rusty. The Lions, who were played with a ton of confidence from their three-game win streak, really were the enforcers early on in Las Vegas and slowed the Bulldogs down. Kelly Olynyk was a shell of himself in the first half and, to be honest, he did not look right the entire game. Only Sam Dower made more than two field goals in the first half as the Zags sputtered. On the other side, Anthony Ireland continued his hot shooting as he kept hitting big shots and looked like a guy that wasn't about to let his team's dream run end. Ireland finished with 19 points for the game.

In the second half, it was really all Bulldogs. Gonzaga made a focused effort to take the ball out of Anthony Ireland's hands and it worked to perfection. The Lions supporting cast was unable to make shots and it led to a number of Gonzaga run outs. Whereas in the first half LMU was able to slow it down, the Zags just ran all over the Lions int the second half. Elias Harris led the way for this team tonight. The senior forward finished with 21 points on 6-9 shooting. He also hit eight free throws and pulled down eight boards. While Olynyk struggled to find his offensive game, Harris was aggressive throughout the second half and put this team on his back.

Next up for the Zags will be the winner of the San Diego and Saint Mary's game. While it is likely that it will be the Gaels, don't discount the Toreros who are led by a very talented backcourt.

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