MORAGA, Calif. — Gary Bell Jr., Kevin Pangos and the Gonzaga Bulldogs took a big step toward taking back the conference title that Saint Mary’s wrestled away from them a year ago.
Bell scored 20 points and helped fuel a fast start to the second half that helped No. 5 Gonzaga take a stranglehold on the West Coast Conference race with a 77-60 victory over Saint Mary’s on Thursday night.
Pangos added 18 points and Kelly Olynyk scored 17 for the Bulldogs (24-2, 11-0), who have a two-game lead over the Gaels (21-5, 10-2) in the loss column after sweeping the season series. Saint Mary’s ended Gonzaga’s 11-year run at the top of the conference by winning both the regular season and tournament titles last year.
“It means a lot to me and the guys who haven’t gotten one yet since we’ve been here,” Pangos said. “It was huge for us. Now we’re that much closer to getting that conference title we didn’t get last year when they took it away from us.”
Matthew Dellavedova scored 19 of his 22 points in the first half and Stephen Holt added 17 for the Gaels, who are still looking for that signature win to boost their chances to make the NCAA tournament in consecutive seasons for the first time in school history. Saint Mary’s has won 13 of 15 games but both losses have come against Gonzaga.
“It’s tough right now but we just have to flip the page,” Holt said.
No. 9 ARIZONA 58
BOULDER, Colo. — Spencer Dinwiddie scored 21 points, and freshman Xavier Johnson added a season-high 19 for Colorado, which avenged a bitter overtime loss.
Dinwiddie scored 19 points in the second half, leading the Buffaloes (17-7, 7-5 Pac-12) to their 11th win in 12 home games and sending the Wildcats (20-4, 8-4) to their second straight loss.
Johnson also had nine rebounds.
Solomon Hill led Arizona with 12 points and Mark Lyons had 11.
No. 13 OHIO STATE 69, NORTHWESTERN 59
COLUMBUS, Ohio — Deshaun Thomas scored 22 points, and Ohio State used a late 12-0 run for its 32nd consecutive home win against Northwestern.
Lenzelle Smith Jr. added 12 points — all in the first half — with Sam Thompson getting 11 and Amir Williams had a career-high 10 for the Buckeyes (18-6, 8-4 Big Ten).
Northwestern (13-12, 4-8) led throughout the second half despite having only seven scholarship players due to injuries.
Tre Demps led the Wildcats with 16 points, Reggie Hearn had 12 and Dave Sobolewski 10.
No. 20 WISCONSIN 53 (OT)
MINNEAPOLIS — Andre Hollins hit the go-ahead 3-pointer midway through overtime to finish with 21 points and lead Minnesota to a 58-53 victory.
It was third straight game Wisconsin went to overtime.
Austin Hollins added 11 points for the Gophers (18-7, 6-6 Big Ten), who held the Badgers without a basket for about 11 minutes until Jared Berggren’s putback with 10 seconds left in the extra period. Hollins went 4 for 4 from the free throw line over the final 18 seconds of overtime to seal it.
Sam Dekker scored 14 points and Ben Brust added 11 for the Badgers (17-8, 8-4)
They were 7-for-28 from 3-point range, negating their 18 offensive rebounds, and scored a total of four points over the last 10-plus minutes of the game.