SANTA CLARA, Calif. (AP) — Filip Petrusev had a career-high 31 points and nine rebounds and No. 2 Gonzaga pulled away late in the second half and beat Santa Clara 87-72 on Thursday night.
Ryan Woolridge added 13 points and six assists and Drew Timme scored 11 points to help the Bulldogs win their 14th straight and remain unbeaten in the West Coast Conference.
Gonzaga (22-1, 8-0 WCC) won the game, but lost Killian Tillie to an apparent left leg injury in the first half.
Petrusev more than made up for it with the biggest game of his career. The 6-foot-11-inch Serbian shot 14 of 18 while helping Gonzaga to a 62-40 advantage in the paint.
Josip Vrankic had 15 points and 12 rebounds for Santa Clara (17-6, 4-4) and DJ Mitchell scored 17 points.
Petrusev repeatedly beat the Broncos inside, backing down his defender before turning for a short shot as the Bulldogs built a 67-52 lead midway through the second half.
Williams and Vrankic nearly rallied Santa Clara. Williams grabbed a loose ball and raced in for a dunk, then scored off a putback. Vrankic tipped in a miss then scored down low to cut the gap to 73-66.
Petrusev stopped the run with back-to-back baskets and Admon Gilder added a short floater for the Bulldogs.
Gonzaga lost a big part of its offense when Tillie went down midway through the first half after blocking a shot by Williams. Tillie immediately clutched his left leg and remained down for several moments before being helped off the court. He later returned to the Bulldogs bench with a towel draped over his head.
Gonzaga led comfortably most of the first half, but went cold for a 3-minute stretch. That allowed Santa Clara to make its best run.
Williams and Wertz made back-to-back 3-pointers and after Petrusev scored four straight for Gonzaga. Mitchell followed with a 3-pointer to cut the lead to 38-36.
Gonzaga: The Bulldogs won their 21st straight against the Bulldogs, but this one was much tighter than the 50-point rout two weeks ago. The big concern is Tillie, who already missed six games after offseason knee surgery. His latest injury could keep him out longer.
Santa Clara: The Broncos looked much more in sync than they did in Spokane when they lost 104-54. They did miss numerous open shots, especially beyond the arc, and those were costly. Trey Wertz had an off night scoring and that didn’t help.
Gonzaga: Plays at San Francisco on Saturday. The Bulldogs have won 16 straight against the Dons.
Santa Clara: Plays at Portland on Saturday.
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