HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA. In the nightcap of ESPN’s rivalry two-fer, the Gonzaga Bulldogs completely roasted the Gaels of Saint Mary’s in a masterful 94-46 victory.
Fresh off of being snubbed from every national awards list, Brandon Clarke put on a show and proved that he doesn’t need the NCAA’s stinkin’ awards en route to 24 points, 6 rebounds, and 5 claimed souls. Rui Hachimura (18 points), Filip Petrusev (15 points), Zach Norvell (12 points), and Corey Kispert (10 points) all notched double figures as well. Josh Perkins was in peak maestro form with 9 assists, and Geno Crandall and Jeremy Jones were also excellent off the bench.
Winter Storm Maya brought awful weather to Spokane on Saturday, but you’d never know it from watching how hot the Bulldogs were inside the Kennel (#TropeAlert). The Zags raced out of the gates with a blistering 14-2 start that forced Randy Bennett to call a timeout two minutes into the game, but hilariously by that point it was already too little too late.
Clarke picked up where he left off on Thursday night, as he dominated Saint Mary’s from the opening possession to the final whistle. The Zags easily dissected their counterparts, pounding the Gaels inside and out and essentially getting any kind of look they wanted.
Gonzaga’s defense was stout on the interior and feisty on the perimeter, altering numerous shots at the rim and completely disrupting Saint Mary’s offensive rhythm by staying active in the passing lanes. Jordan Ford and Malik Fitts entered the game averaging 22.1 ppg and 16.2 ppg respectively, but were completely neutralized by Gonzaga’s defenders. The Gaels, who once were known for high level offensive efficiency, failed to notch a single assist on any of their six (SIX!) field goals in the first half and finished the evening with only one in the assist column which didn’t even occur until the dying moments of the game.
The opening half was Gonzaga’s most complete 20 minutes of basketball of the season, as the offense and defense worked in concert to smother Saint Mary’s and take a 53-20 lead into the break.
Things didn’t get any better for Saint Mary’s after halftime, as Gonzaga continued its onslaught and the Gaels, well....let’s just say there were a willing piñata. Perkins continued to drop dimes all over the floor, while Clarke and Rui combined to easily outscore the entire Saint Mary’s team during their time on the floor. Things got so out of hand that Geno Crandall felt comfortable enough risking Mark Few’s wrath to throw an alley-oop off the backboard to Rui.
Gonzaga extended its lead to 46 points a handful of times, before ultimately settling at 48 to close the game. The Zags almost certainly could have pushed things to even more indecent levels if Mark Few hadn’t removed the starters from the game around the 10-minute mark of the second half, but he has a better conscience than I do.
It was the kind of game that players and coaches from both teams will recount for years to come. The Zags will laugh about the shellacking they put on their rivals, while the Gaels will wistfully tell their children about the night Brandon Clarke and Rui Hachimura repeatedly dunked on them before they became first round NBA draft picks. I think the Gaels come out ahead in that scenario, actually. Isn’t it nice that everyone can come out of this game with a “W”?