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Gonzaga in line to claim No. 1 for first time

Forward Elias Harris, who finishes with a game-high 20 points, goes up for a dunk in Gonzaga’s 12th straight win.

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Forward Elias Harris, who finishes with a game-high 20 points, goes up for a dunk in Gonzaga’s 12th straight win.

SPOKANE, Wash. — The raucous student section at No. 2 Gonzaga's arena had no doubt where the Bulldogs should be ranked when the Associated Press poll comes out Monday.

"We're No. 1! We're No. 1!" the students shouted as the clock wound down in an 81-52 victory over Portland on Saturday.

Coach Mark Few was a little more restrained, noting the polls are out of his control.

"It's never happened here before," Few said of a No. 1 ranking. "It would be an honor. If they think that highly of us, we'll take it."

But a minute later, Few also betrayed some amazement that the little Jesuit school from Spokane could reach the pinnacle of college basketball.

"At the end of the day, it would be pretty cool for Gonzaga to be No. 1," Few said. "My first year here, we won four Division I games."

Elias Harris had 20 points and Kelly Olynyk 15 points and 11 rebounds for Gonzaga (29-2, 16-0 West Coast), which had already clinched the conference regular-season title and the top seed in next weekend's tournament.

Gonzaga, winner of 12 straight since a last-second loss at Butler, has escaped the losses that lately have afflicted other teams at or near the top of the poll. Top-ranked Indiana's loss to Minnesota last week opened the door for the Bulldogs.

The Zags have never been ranked higher than their current No. 2. But because of their lightly regarded conference schedule, a lower team could leapfrog them in the poll.

Few noted Gonzaga's 16-0 conference record is a first for the recently expanded WCC. And no Gonzaga team has won 30 games in a season.

But the goal is not to pile up numbers, he said.

"We want to go to the NCAA Tournament and try to win the thing," Few said.

NO. 1 INDIANA 73, IOWA 60: Cody Zeller overcame a sluggish start to score 22 as the host Hoosiers (25-4, 13-3 Big Ten) rebounded from last week's loss to Minnesota.

NO. 6 KANSAS 91, W. VA. 65: Ben McLemore had a school freshman-record 36 points and Jeff Withey came within one block of a triple double for the host Jayhawks (25-4, 13-3 Big 12).

NO. 7 G'TOWN 64, RUTGERS 51: Otto Porter had 28 points and eight rebounds to lead the host Hoyas (23-4, 13-3 Big East) to their 11th consecutive victory.

NO. 10 LOUISVILLE 58, NO. 12 SYRACUSE 53: Luke Hancock hit a tiebreaking 3-pointer with 50 seconds left as the visiting Cardinals (24-5, 12-4 Big East) snapped a three-game losing streak against the Orange (22-7, 10-6 Big East) and handed Syracuse its third straight loss.

UCLA 74, NO. 11 ARIZONA 69: Shabazz Muhammad hit two free throws with nine seconds left as the host Bruins held off the Wildcats (23-6, 11-6) and tied Oregon atop the Pac-12.

NO. 13 KANSAS ST. 64, BAYLOR 61: Rodney McGruder hit a 3 at the buzzer after a failed desperation inbounds pass by the Bears, and the visiting Wildcats (24-5, 13-3 Big 12) won their fifth straight game.

NO. 14 NEW MEXICO 53, WYOMING 42: Alex Kirk had 15 points and nine rebounds for the host Lobos (25-4, 12-2 Mountain West), who clinched the league regular-season title.

NO. 15 OKLA. ST. 78, TEXAS 65: Markel Brown scored 18 and the host Cowboys (22-6, 12-4 Big 12) forced Longhorns star point guard Myck Kabongo into a career-high seven turnovers.

NO. 18 ST. LOUIS 66, GW 58: Dwayne Evans scored 22 for the visiting Billikens (23-5, 12-2 Atlantic 10), who won their 11th straight.

NO. 19 MEMPHIS 76, UCF 67: Joe Jackson and Chris Crawford scored 19 each for the visiting Tigers (25-4, 14-0), who held off the Knights (19-10, 8-6 C-USA) and claimed their eighth league championship.

VCU 84, NO. 20 BUTLER 52: Troy Daniels scored 14 of his 20 in the first half for the host Rams, whose full-court pressure overwhelmed the Bulldogs (22-7, 9-5 Atlantic 10) from the outset.

NO. 22 MARQUETTE 72, NO. 21 NOTRE DAME 64: Jamil Wilson tied his career high with 19 points to help the Golden Eagles (21-7, 12-4 Big East) hold off the Irish (22-7, 10-6) and win their 25th straight home game.

NO. 25 LA. TECH 88, SAN JOSE ST. 61: Raheem Appleby had 16 points for the host Bulldogs (26-3, 16-0), who won their 18th straight game and clinched at least a share of their first WAC championship.

SOONERS TIE FREE-THROW MARK: Host Oklahoma sank 34 of 34 free throws, tying an NCAA mark for most made without a miss, in an 86-69 victory over Iowa State. UC Irvine was 34-of-34 against Pacific on Feb. 21, 1981, and Samford did the same against Central Florida on Dec. 20, 1990.

State

NORFOLK ST. 62, B-CU 61: Jamel Fuentes hit a late free throw as the host Spartans held off Bethune-Cookman (12-17, 7-7 MEAC).

HAMPTON 77, FAMU 68: Ramon Mercado had 18 points as the host Pirates snapped a two-game winning streak by the Rattlers (8-20, 5-8 MEAC).

ECKERD 67, LYNN 65: Alex Bodney had 25 points and Darrien Mack hit a layup with three seconds left to lift the host Tritons (19-6, 11-5 Sunshine State).

FLA. TECH 55, TAMPA 52: The host Panthers handed the Spartans (16-13, 3-13 SSC) their seventh straight loss to end the regular season.

Gonzaga in line to claim No. 1 for first time 03/02/13 [Last modified: Sunday, March 3, 2013 12:03am]

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