There's no doubting the fact that the Gonzaga v. Saint Mary's rivalry has been the centerpiece of the West Coast Conference for the past several years. That said, this season will not go down as one to remember in this incredible rivalry. In a season where each West Coast Conference team gave the Zags a bit of a test at some point during the season, the Gaels were the one team that Gonzaga simply did not struggle with. Tonight was a complete laugher as the Bulldogs spoiled Saint Mary's senior night in which they honored stars such as Stephen Holt and Beau Levesque...and I couldn't think of a better way for Levesque to go out. Let's chat about some of the highlights...
- It was the early aggression that set the tone for the Bulldogs. Just like in the first matchup, Gonzaga completely owned the Gaels on the glass and punched them in the mouths on the defensive end. The Gaels started five seniors in honor of senior night and by the time the regular starters got on the floor, the tone was already set that it was going to be a long night.
- While Gonzaga has a lot of solid offensive weapons, there is no substitute for when Kevin Pangos and Gary Bell are aggressive and efficient. The duo didn't have a huge night in terms of scoring but they came out aggressively and forced the tempo. Bell wasn't passing up early shots and played great defense while Pangos was in complete control of the offense. He appears to be 100% for the first time in months which is dangerous heading into the conference tournament.
- Not only was Gonzaga the aggressor but they were so solid offensively. They turned the ball over less than 10 times tonight in a season where turnovers have really hurt this team on the road. They also displayed insane balance as every Bulldog that played in the game scored.
- I haven't done the math yet but I have to think that Saint Mary's may have been, deficit-wise, Gonzaga's easiest conference foe of the season. Crazy to think that the Zags held 30 point leads over Saint Mary's in both contests this year.
For a down year, a 25-6 record heading into the conference tournament is nothing to laugh at. Does this game have me dreaming that this crazy frustarting team could break through in March? Sure. Should it? Who the hell knows. But it is fun to beat Saint Mary's this bad and Gonzaga has all the momentum heading into the WCC Tournament.