February 27, 2009

COL BKB: Gonzaga 81, Santa Clara 73

Josh Heytvelt keyed a late-game run Thursday night that lifted 17th-ranked Gonzaga to an 81-73 victory over Santa Clara.

Gonzaga, having already captured the West Coast Conference regular-season title, remained unbeaten in league play and won for the 15th time in 16 games. The Bulldogs' only loss in that stretch was to No. 4 Memphis Feb. 7.

Santa Clara was locked in a 58-58 tie with 6:30 remaining, but Gonzaga went on a 17-7 surge to put the game away. The highlight of the outburst was an offensive rebound and tip-in by Heytvelt with 4:36 to go that gave Gonzaga a 64-58 lead.

Heytvelt was fouled on the play and the call touched off noisy protests among the Santa Clara fans. When a bottle was thrown onto the court, a technical foul was called. Matt Bouldin then made the two technical free throws and Heytvelt completed his 3-point play, boosting Gonzaga's lead to nine points.

Another object came sailing out of the crowd two minutes later, leading to two more technical foul shots by Bouldin.

Heytvelt made 12-of-17 shots from the field and scored 28 points. Matt Bouldin added 21 for Gonzaga (22-5, 13-0 WCC).

Santa Clara (14-16, 6-7) was led by Kevin Foster with 20. The Bulldogs will try to complete a perfect conference season Saturday at San Diego.