By NICHOLAS K. GERANIOS
SPOKANE, Wash. (AP) — Killie Tillie scored 20 points and blocked a potential tying shot in the closing seconds to help top-ranked Gonzaga beat Pepperdine 75-70 on Saturday night for its 32nd consecutive home win.
Filip Petrusev scored 16 points and Joel Ayayi had 12 for Gonzaga (16-1, 2-0 West Coast). The Bulldogs have the longest home winning streak in the country. They has won eight consecutive overall since losing to Michigan.
Colbey Ross scored 24 points for Pepperdine (7-9, 0-2). The Waves have has lost 38 straight games to Gonzaga since their last win in 2002.
This game was a nail-biter from the start.
Pepperdine led 18-16 early in the first half, behind 11 points by Ross, when Gonzaga went on a 9-0 run to take a 25-18 lead. Gonzaga pushed the lead to 33-24.
But the Zags didn’t score for more than three minutes and Pepperdine outscored them 13-4 the rest of the way to tie the game at 37-37 at halftime. Ross led all scorers with 15 points in the first half and both teams committed nine turnovers.
Consecutive baskets by Petrusev, Corey Kispert and Tillie put Gonzaga up 48-42 early in the second.
Pepperdine went on a 9-0 run and Skylar Chavez hit a 3-pointer to put the Waves ahead 53-51.
Tillie hit two baskets and two free throws to put Gonzaga up 57-54.
Ross scored to tie the game at 59-59. Gonzaga replied with a 10-2 run for a 69-61 lead.
But the Zags went cold and Ross hit a pair of free throws to bring Pepperdine within 71-68 with 1:27 left.
Each team scored and Ross launched a 3-pointer that would have tied the game, but Tillie blocked the shot with 5 seconds left.
Pepperdine: The Waves boast three of the top seven scorers in the WCC in Ross (19.5 points per game), Kameron Edwards (16.7) and Kessler Edwards (15.3) … The Waves lead the nation in free throw shooting at 84.6% … Kessler Edwards leads the WCC in rebounding at 8.1 boards per game.
Gonzaga: The Bulldogs are the only team in the nation with six players averaging double figures in scoring … They lead the nation in offense at 88.3 points per game, and are beating opponents by nearly 20 points per game … Gonzaga trailed at halftime in their conference opener at Portland on Thursday, but came back in the second half for an 85-72 win … No team won more conference games than Gonzaga’s 149 in the decade that just ended.
The Zags will likely remain No. 1.
Pepperdine: At San Diego next Saturday.
Gonzaga: At San Diego on Thursday.
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