SPOKANE, Washington (Ticker) -- After letting an undermanned opponent hang tough, Cory Violette and Gonzaga put San Diego back in its place.
Violette scored 14 of his 20 points in the first half to set up Blake Stepp's shooting exhibition after halftime as the fifth-ranked Bulldogs extended their school-record winning streak to 17 games with a 97-78 West Coast Conference rout.
San Diego (4-24, 1-12 WCC) lost 15 of its previous 16 games and had just five scholarship players available. The Toreros are in a rebuilding phase after losing four starters, including All-WCC performer Jason Keep, from last year's conference championship squad.
Despite those problems, San Diego used strong shooting performances from Brandon Gay and Brad Lechtenberg to hold the lead for a good portion of the first half. Gay's 3-pointer gave the Toreros their largest lead, 23-18, with 10:07 left before halftime.
Violette scored seven points in a devastating 22-3 tear, capping it with a reverse layup to provide Gonzaga (24-2, 13-0) with a 40-26 lead with 1:32 to go in the half. Freshmen Adam Morrison and Derek Raivio combined for 10 points during the run.
Stepp nailed eight second-half 3-pointers after a scoreless opening 20 minutes. He has matched Richie Frahm's school record of 280 career 3-pointers.
Violette made 9-of-11 shots, including 6-of-7 in the first half. The Bulldogs dominated in the paint with a 24-4 advantage in points over the first 20 minutes and shot 57 percent (37-of-65) overall.
Gonzaga can complete its first unbeaten WCC campaign Saturday with a victory over Santa Clara. It also will be its final game at The Kennel since it is moving from its cozy gymnasium into a bigger facility next season.
Gay scored 21 points to lead San Diego, which turned in a respectable 50 percent (26-of-52) shooting performance. Lechtenberg made four 3-pointers and scored 14 points as the Toreros shot 55 percent (11-of-20) from the arc.
Ronny Turiaf scored 16 points and Raivio added 15 off the bench for Gonzaga, which recorded its highest point total of the season. Stepp had seven of the team's 30 assists.
Freshman point guard Michael Hubbard struggled for the Toreros, committing seven of their 18 turnovers. San Diego started three guards, a pair of freshmen in Hubbard and Avi Fogel along with Gay, a junior college transfer.
In contrast, Gonzaga had an all-senior backcourt of Stepp and Kyle Bankhead, and it showed. It added up to the Bulldogs' 11th win in the last 12 matchups with the Toreros - the lone exception was last year's loss in the WCC tournament championship game.