SAN DIEGO (AP) — Gonzaga is used to getting the best shot from its opponents, and the San Diego Toreros delivered.
Duda Sanadze scored 15 points, including three free throws in the final 2.9 seconds, and the Toreros upset No. 25 Gonzaga 69-66 Saturday night, the first time the Bulldogs have lost consecutive games this season.
Johnny Dee had 16 points for the Toreros (16-14, 7-10 West Coast Conference) who snapped an 11-game losing streak to Gonzaga (23-6, 13-3), which once again was denied clinching the outright league title. The Zags have clinched at least a tie for the title.
“Everybody, especially at home, they’re going to give us 200 percent in front of their home crowds,” said Sam Dower Jr., who led Gonzaga with 18 points and 15 rebounds. “San Diego, I tip my hat to them. They did it tonight.
“We let go of a big game that we needed to clinch the conference title,” Dower added. “That resulted in us just not playing hard for 40 minutes. We started out kind of slow, weren’t getting enough stops and they were making a lot of shots. They had all the energy. They just outplayed us tonight.”
With USD leading 66-63, the refs ruled that the ball went off Dee’s foot on an inbound play with 3.2 seconds left. After a video review, they reversed the call and Sanadze was fouled by Kevin Pangos and made one of two free throws. David Stockton made a 3-pointer with 0.5 seconds left to pull the Zags within one point. Sanadze was fouled by Kyle Dranginis and made both shots to clinch it.
Stockton missed a desperation shot at the buzzer and the fans stormed the court.
“We knew it was going to be a tough game,” Gonzaga coach Mark Few said. “When the good teams come in here they play them really tough. They got after us and made shots, executed their offense and then again, it was anybody’s game down the stretch. They made plays, got offensive rebounds and extended possessions and we didn’t.”
Gonzaga big man Przemek Karnowski had 17 points before fouling out with 4:04 left and the Toreros leading 62-57. Gary Bell Jr. added 11 points.
USD jumped to a 49-38 lead four minutes into the second half after 3-pointers by Dee, Christopher Anderson and Sanadze. Dee also made two free throws early in the half.
Gonzaga quickly got within five after Dranginis hit a 3-pointer, Karnowski an inside shot and Dower a baseline jumper.
Anderson hit a 3-pointer just before the halftime buzzer to give USD a 36-35 lead, its first of the game. During the break, refs reviewed video of a shot by Bell that had been ruled a 3-pointer and determined that his foot was on the line, making the score 36-34.
Gonzaga had taken leads of 10-2 and 12-5 before USD pulled itself back into the game on 3-pointers by Brett Bailey and Dee.
The Zags pulled out to a 27-23 lead late in the half before the Toreros had three straight slam dunks, two by Jito Kok and one by Simi Fajemisin to pull to 30-29.