Gary Bell Jr. and David Stockton combined for 35 points tonight as Gonzaga absolutely dominated Saint Mary's for a third time this season to advance to the West Coast Conference Tournament finals. Forward Sam Dower added 12 points as Mark Few stuck with a short rotation tonight and it paid off in a big way as Gonzaga's starting five carried the day at the Orleans Arena.
After a rough showing against Santa Clara that nearly resulted in a one-and-done exit in the tournament and a possible NIT bid, the Bulldogs bounced back in a big way against their biggest rival. While there were excellent performances all around, it was truly Stockton and Bell that paced this team. In all honesty, David Stockton could do no wrong. The often-maligned guard finished with 21 points on 7-13 from the floor. He added 6 rebounds and 4 assists and did not turn the ball over once. The turnover stat is the most remarkable to me as he has struggled with turnovers all year, in fact he only had two other games in the 2014 calendar year with zero turnovers.
Gary Bell was the other star of the night. He had 14 points on 6-8 shooting. Like Stockton, he had no turnovers and had 2 rebounds and 2 assists. We have criticized Bell in the past for passing up open looks and being tentative but tonight he was very aggressive and made all the right plays.
Obviously this is a huge win. Not only does it ensure another WCC finals appearance but it likely solidifies Gonzaga's spot in the NCAA Tournament. After the Santa Clara game, it was very necessary for the Bulldogs to have a solid showing and they did just that tonight. Now, the Zags await the winner of what should be a very exciting BYU - San Francisco matchup.