It always feels good to beat Saint Mary's. It feels even better to dismantle the Gaels. Gonzaga's win over Saint Mary's on Thursday was entertaining to watch across the board, especially in the second half when the Bulldogs got going.
The national focus was on Kyle Wiltjer's not-so-fluid but still awesome to watch behind the back take to the hoop. For that, he made the Sportscenter Top 10, and deservedly so.
Wiltjer had a somewhat quiet night, scoring 11 points and grabbing five rebounds. He played a lot, however, because Przemek Karnowski saw the bench due to foul trouble. That was the unfortunate thing, because when Karnowski was in the game, he was playing with an energy that justifies rivalry games.
Karnowski finished with 12 points off of 6-of-7 shooting. That part is great. He also finished with four turnovers, and that muted his offensive performance a bit. But it was the method in which he got those 12 points that was entertaining and exciting for the future.
One of the most common criticisms about Karnowski in the comments section is his love for the lay up or finger roll. It seems like there are times he should throw the ball down with authority, but he meekly lays the ball through the hoop like he is putting a day-old baby down for a nap.
Last night, that wasn't the case. Karnowski was playing like a man channeling his hatred of his opponent in a positive way. Behold, exhibit #1.
This right here is the Karnowski special. Pangos and Karno played the pick and roll perfectly, and the stars must have aligned because Karnowski decided to go for the dunk. Then, no less than 30 seconds later, the monster came out again.
This was beautiful to watch. The moment that Karnowski put the ball on the court was like Vin Diesel hitting the NOS in Fast and the Furious 1 through 7. That is a full head of steam going in for backboard destruction and not a lot can be done about it.
So what changed? Did Karnowski just sort of wake up and decide to be more aggressive? Personally, I feel that Saint Mary's, and specifically Brad Waldow, did something to unleash the best.
About two minutes into the second half, Waldow -- all 260 pounds of him, found himself lying flat on his back and Karnowski going in for the easy lay up. There was no whistle. There was no foul.
It was a pretty egregious flop (although we can't be too hard on him since Karnowski did the same thing later). As Karnowski ran down the court, he obviously wasn't too pleased with Waldow's shenanigans.
This is rivalry attitude right here. This is a man on a mission. This is a team whose only goal is to humiliate opponents. This is the most fun team to watch in college basketball right now. Let's hope that the normally soft-spoken Karnowski shows this bit of alpha-male flair more often.