In a year where nothing can apparently go right, the Gonzaga Bulldogs seem to fufill their own terrible destiny, falling to Saint Mary's, 63-58.
For the most part, this never really seemed like a game Gonzaga was going to win. Much of the offense laid an egg, dropped said egg into the garbage where it cracked, picked it up with a used medical glove, then tried to turn it into an omelet to serve up to the general public.
The Zags finished the game shooting just 35.5 percent from the floor and just 19.2 percent from beyond the arc. Take away Josh Perkins, the only player who could buy a bucket tonight, the rest of the team hit 29.5 percent of their shots and just 10.5 percent from three.
Perkins was the lone bright spot on offense for the Zags, and at the beginning of the second half, he looked like he was going to drag Gonzaga kicking and screaming to a victory. But unfortunately, pretty much no one else showed up to play. Eric McClellan did a nice job of cutting to the hoop and showed some spark, but it wasn't nearly enough.
Perhaps the most frustrating part of the game was how poorly Saint Mary's also played. The Gaels looked absolutely lost in the final minutes of the game despite being up by double-digits. It almost looked like the Gonzaga was going to get sweet revenge on their home court, but the Zags couldn't convert down the stretch.
And that was the game. Saint Mary's swept the Zags for the first time since 1995. Saint Mary's took hold of first place in the WCC. Gonzaga's slim at-large chances were flushed down the toilet.
Some other notes before I angrily slam my laptop closed.
- I'm not sure what hurts more. Watching Gonzaga waste away the 15-point lead in Moraga, or watch them struggle like a fish out of water for the better part of 40 minutes.
- Sabonis opened up the game hot, and then he disappeared. This wasn't his fault so much, and I refuse to believe that Saint Mary's defense was so good as to wipe him out of the game. Gonzaga's offense was so disjointed, that they couldn't muster any semblance of a fluid offense. Sabonis finished with just eight points.
- And when Sabonis finishes with just eight points, we need a big game from Kyle Wiltjer. We didn't get that. We got another clunker. Wiltjer scored 13 points, but also took 16 shots to try and get there and was just 1-of-7 from beyond the arc. Wiltjer is such a liability on defense, that when his offense isn't doing anything, he is a detriment on the court.
- Speaking of Wiltjer's defense, Saint Mary's (surprise, surprise) absolutely abused him on pick and rolls.
- For everything this team has gone through this season, what stings the most is watching this all go down on Senior Night at home. Gonzaga now needs to put their head down and win the WCC Tournament. Anything less and we will be watching March Madness from a very unfamiliar spot.