San Francisco coach Chris Gerlufsen admittedly didn’t sleep very well after the last time his team faced Gonzaga.
That’s because the host Dons took a 77-75 loss to the Bulldogs on Rasir Bolton’s putback with seven seconds remaining. Bolton scored a game-high 21 points.
San Francisco (15-11, 4-7 West Coast Conference) will get another shot at the No. 16 Bulldogs (19-5, 8-2) on Thursday night in Spokane, Wash.
“As we go back and break the film down and see all the good things and the positive things that we did throughout the game, those are things that we need to build on,” Gerlufsen said of the Jan. 5 game against Gonzaga. “We need to continue to learn. That one hurt because I thought our guys just gutted it out and left everything on the floor.”
It’s been an up-and-down season for the Dons, who crushed then-No. 25 Arizona State 97-60 at home in December, then lost their first three conference games and five of their first six.
They rallied with three straight WCC wins before a 68-59 loss at then-No. 18 Saint Mary’s on Feb. 2. The Dons returned home Saturday and were defeated 84-70 by Santa Clara despite Khalil Shabazz’s 31 points and eight rebounds.
“I thought we were close to turning a corner, becoming the team we were capable of becoming,” Gerlufsen said. “I hate losing, but I’m OK with losing if we lose the right way. I just don’t think we lost the right way (Saturday). Coming off the game the other night (at Saint Mary’s), I was disappointed we lost, but we took a lot of positives from that game. (Saturday), we took a step back.
“We weren’t ready to go, period. We’ll get ready to go Thursday for a very tough road trip to Gonzaga.”
The Dons have lost the past 25 meetings with Gonzaga, having last prevailed on Feb. 18, 2012. The Zags have a 69-22 edge in the all-time series and have won 33 in a row at home against San Francisco, including all 18 times the teams have squared off at the McCarthey Athletic Center.
The Zags’ run of 10 consecutive WCC regular-season titles is in jeopardy after a 78-70 overtime loss at Saint Mary’s on Saturday that gave the Gaels a two-game lead.
“First of all, it was a great game,” Gonzaga coach Mark Few said. “Two teams competed at a high level. We were in position to win.”
The Bulldogs led by as many as 11 points in the first half and were up 51-43 with 6:45 remaining in regulation before Saint Mary’s made its run.
“It was hard to generate offense, especially down the stretch,” said Few, whose team leads NCAA Division I in scoring (85.7 points per game) and field-goal percentage (51.97 percent). “It got really, really physical.”
Drew Timme had 23 points to move into second place on Gonzaga’s all-time scoring list past Jim McPhee (2,015) on Saturday, but he got little help. Timme, who is up to 2,030 points, still has a way to go to break Frank Burgess’ record of 2,196 points, established from 1958-59 to 1960-61.
–Field Level Media