LAS VEGAS (AP) — Joel Ayayi is always prepared whenever his group needs him.
Gonzaga indispensable him on Monday night, and he delivered.
Ayayi scored 12 of his 14 points in a second half and a second-ranked Bulldogs withstood a shock to kick San Francisco 81-77 on Monday night in a West Coast Conference Tournament semifinals.
“I don’t consider we flipped a switch,” Ayayi said. “Just perplexing to make a plays when a group needs me. Whenever we have a round and need to make a play on a clock, we have to make a play and I’m only perplexing to do my best.”
The redshirt sophomore from Bordeaux, France, pennyless a 69-69 tie with 4:14 left with a jumper, and strike a mid-range shot on a following possession to give Gonzaga a 73-69 lead. Ayayi scored 8 of Gonzaga’s 9 points during a 9-3 run.
The top-seeded Bulldogs (30-2) will play Saint Mary’s in Tuesday’s championship diversion after a Gaels edged No. 14 BYU 51-50 in a second semifinal. Saint Mary’s dissapoint Gonzaga in final year’s pretension diversion to acquire a league’s involuntary bid to a NCAA Tournament.
It will be Gonzaga’s 23rd uninterrupted WCC final and a propagandize is seeking a 17th championship.
“We’ve had some implausible streaks during Gonzaga,” manager Mark Few said. “The fact that we can come down here, quarrel a tails off opposite a unequivocally good San Francisco team, meaningful that we’re personification onward, shows toughness and piece from a guys.”
Killian Tillie had 19 points and 10 rebounds, and Ryan Woolridge had 16 points on 7-of-11 sharpened to gait Gonzaga, that softened to 12-0 all-time in contest openers in Las Vegas.
Charles Minlend scored 19 points, one of 4 players in double total for a Dons (22-12). Khalil Shabazz had 17 points.
San Francisco had a 12-2 run in a initial half and tied it during 25-25 on Remu Raitanen’s 3-pointer with 6:29 left.
The Dons degraded Loyola Marymount and Pacific to strech a semis.
“Playing a No. 2 group in a country, third time this year where we’ve had unequivocally good efforts opposite them,” USF manager Todd Golden said, “and we consider it sets us adult unequivocally easily for a NIT.”
Gonzaga had a 10-3 run shortly thereafter. Woolridge, who had 14 points in a initial half, strike his second 3 with 49 seconds left to make it 39-32.
The Dons took their initial lead during 54-53 with 11:50 remaining on a three-point play from Minlend.
“I consider we stranded with what we wanted to do,” Minlend said. “We only missed some shots that routinely go in. We didn’t make them.”
San Francisco kept it tighten by aggressive a basket and tying Gonzaga offensively. The Dons were 1 for 6 from 3-point operation to start a second half though done 10 of their initial 14 2-pointers. They finished 6 for 26 from 3.
“If we knocked down a few some-more shots, we substantially win a game,” Golden said.
Gonzaga went 18 of 26 from a free-throw line, while San Francisco done 11 of a 15 attempts.
Gonzaga softened to 25-3 in a WCC contest given it changed to Las Vegas in 2009. This is a 19th time a Bulldogs have been a tip seed in a tournament, and they will try to win a championship for a ninth time in Las Vegas.
THE LIST IS FEW
Gonzaga softened to 44-5 underneath Few in a WCC tournament. The final time a Bulldogs mislaid in a semifinals was in 1994, 83-75 to San Diego.
Since a contest changed to Las Vegas, a Dons are 8-12, including 1-6 opposite a No. 1 seed. USF has not beaten Gonzaga in a discussion contest given 1998.
San Francisco: Awaits a probable NIT game.
Gonzaga: WCC championship game.
More AP college basketball: https://apnews.com/Collegebasketball and https://twitter.com/AP_Top25