What is it with the final games of the season? Gonzaga looked terrible tonight, losing to St Mary’s Gaels 67 - 57. The Gaels were led by Tommy Kuhse with 14 points, Mattias Tass with 13 and Logan Johnson with 10 point and 8 rebounds. Rasir Bolton led Gonzaga in scoring with 14, including the first 7 points of the second half, Andrew Nembhard had 15 points with Julian Strawther chipping in 14. Chet Holmgren, Drew Timme and Anton Watson combined for 12 points.
No finger pointing required, the whole Gonzaga squad looked off tonight. Would you ever believe you’d see a game from this team where Drew Timme would be 0 for 8 in the first half and Andrew Nembhard wouldn’t have an assist for the entire game? Timme made both his shot attempt in the second half to go 2 for 10, but his four turnovers doubled his made baskets.
Credit St. Mary’s for doing what they do best, just being nuisances and keeping Gonzaga out of their game. The Gaels interdicted the passing lanes, slapped balls out of Zag’s hands and played tough defense. Even those times the Gaels had lapses; Gonzaga just couldn’t capitalize. They missed bunnies and had several charge calls to go with their worst offensive performance of the season.
Gonzaga shot a pathetic 37% from the floor with a total of zero points from the bench. The Gaels didn’t set the world on fire offensively; they shot 44% from the floor and 37.5% from three.
The Gaels made plays when they needed them, Gonzaga didn’t. As bad as the Zags looked, they still made a strong attempt at a comeback in the final six minutes. Julian Strawther made a three with 5:42 to play to bring the lead down to seven. St. Mary’s then turned the ball over and Nembhard missed a critical three-pointer. The Gaels missed their next shot, GU rebound followed by a turnover by Bolton. Kyle Bowen then hit a three after missing seven in a row. That in a nutshell was the story of the game, Gonzaga didn’t execute in the clutch, St Mary’s did.
It may be of little solace to the Zags, but the top six ranked teams in the nation lost tonight, seven of the Top ten. If Gonzaga can recover and win the WCC Tournament, they should still be a #1 Seed and even possible the overall #1. St Mary’s could move up to a protected #4 seed with this upset victory.
Gonzaga has nine days off to lick their wounds, rest-up and regroup. Their next game will be the WCC Tournament semi-final on Monday, March 7.