The streak of scoring more than 85 points is over for Gonzaga. The winning streak, however, continues, and that is more important than anything else. In a real slog of a contest, the Bulldogs improved to 14-0 with a 73-59 win over Saint Mary’s, who is now 0-3 in WCC play for the first time in 15 years.
Saint Mary’s elected to change their starting lineup for this game, putting 6’8 forward Kyle Bowen in there for freshman guard Jabe Mullins in hopes of adding more length and physicality to slow down Gonzaga. For a little while, it seemed to work. The Gaels played their best 10-minute stretch of the season to open the game, giving Gonzaga their first double digit deficit of the season. Gonzaga was ice cold and the Gaels controlled tempo, hitting four of their first five three pointers.
Saint Mary’s would cool off fast. They went 0-for-8 from deep in the final 10 minutes of the half and Gonzaga turned that 10-point deficit into a seven point lead by the intermission. Aaron Cook was the star of the first half for the Bulldogs. He went 3-for-3 from the field with a couple rebounds, a steal, and an assist and was able to slow down Tommy Kuhse, who had six quick assists to open the game. Drew Timme led the team with nine first half points.
The second half was a real grind. Saint Mary’s simply does not play pretty games with this current roster. For Gonzaga’s part, they weren’t very sharp offensively and at times tried to force the issue. Luckily, the Gaels offense offered little resistance and the Zags were able to keep them at arm’s length before pulling away in the final eight minutes.
Four Zags finished in double figures: Corey Kispert with 17, Joel Ayayi with 16, and Drew Timme and Jalen Suggs with 14 apiece. The game looked ugly, but somehow Gonzaga still managed to shoot 55 percent from the field, while holding Saint Mary’s to just 35.5 percent. The most shocking stat is only six assists from the Bulldogs, tied for their lowest in a game in the last seven seasons.
Gonzaga will head back to Spokane and wait a full week to host Pacific next Saturday night. Could they add a mid-week non-conference game? Anything is possible in this crazy season. But it may be beneficial to get a little rest and work on some stuff because the last two games were certainly not the sharpest they have been, despite the fairly comfortable margins of victory.
Coach Few with the perfect quotation for this game:
Gonzaga head coach Mark Few on the game basically sums it up, “Got through it and we’re moving on.”— Karthik Venkataraman (@KREMKarthik) January 17, 2021