SAN FRANCISCO (AP) Kelly Olynyk had 26 points and nine rebounds and Elias Harris added 17 points and 13 rebounds to carry No. 5 Gonzaga past pesky San Francisco 71-61 on Saturday, snapping a three-year losing streak at War Memorial Gymnasium.
The Bulldogs' frontline tandem bullied and bruised their way to a fast start and furious finish. Olynyk finished 13 for 17 from the floor and Harris went 7 of 15 as both keyed an 11-0 run in the final minutes that put the Zags (25-2, 12-0 West Coast Conference) ahead for good.
Cole Dickerson scored 15 points and Cody Doolin added 14 to help the Dons (11-15, 4-9) rally back after trailing by 15 in the first half. Unlike the last three years when USF stunned Gonzaga at home, the Bulldogs regrouped and showed why they're ranked so high.
Gonzaga was the highest-ranked team to visit The Hilltop in 44 years. The Dons haven't defeated a top 5 team since March 23, 1956, when they downed fifth-ranked Iowa 83-71 to claim their second straight national title behind Bill Russell.
The Dons had defeated Gonzaga each of the last three seasons in San Francisco, including twice in overtime before winning 66-65 last season on Rashad Green's floater in the lane with 3.3 seconds remaining. Gonzaga has won 24 straight over USF in Spokane, including a 66-52 victory Jan. 28.
Something about The Hilltop seems to give Gonzaga headaches.
The Zags sure seemed ready at the start as they overwhelmed San Francisco with three quick dunks. That didn't even include perhaps the prettiest play: Michael Hart lofting a halfcourt alley-oop that Olynyk laid up off the glass over a defender.
Olynyk, Harris and the rest of the Zags harassed the Dons on defense, too, keeping most everything on the perimeter. Olynyk added another layup to cap Gonzaga's 19-4 run to open the game.
USF's shooters finally started to find their stroke, much the same way they had in home wins over the Bulldogs the past three seasons. Mark Tollefsen, Avry Holmes, Tim Derksen and Dickerson each hit a 3-pointer during a burst of offense that sliced Gonzaga's lead to 30-25 late in the first half.
Dickerson swished another from beyond the arc to tie the score at 45 with 10:36 remaining. He waved his hands in the air while running down court, sending the home fans into a flurry for the frantic finish.
Gonzaga fans sprinkled in the stands made most of the noise the rest of the way.
Olynyk converted three layups during an 11-0 spurt that put Gonzaga ahead 63-52 with 3:37 to play. He made his presence felt on both ends, and even added a breakaway two-handed slam in the waning seconds.
After a 77-60 victory across the bay at Saint Mary's on Thursday night, the Bulldogs took a big step this weekend toward taking back the conference title that the Gaels wrestled away from them a year ago. Gonzaga's next sights are set on a possible No. 1 seed in the NCAA tournament if it can win out.