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Gonzaga (24-6) at Saint Mary's-CA (21-9)



The Sports Network

DATE & TIME: Saturday, March 1, 10 p.m. (ET)

FACTS & STATS: Site: McKeon Pavilion (3,500) -- Moraga, California. Television: ESPN 2. Home Record: Gonzaga 15-0, SMC 15-2. Away Record: Gonzaga 6-4, SMC 6-5. Neutral Record: Gonzaga 3-2, SMC 0-2. Conference Record: Gonzaga 14-3, SMC 11-6. Series Record: Gonzaga leads, 58-27.

GAME NOTES: The West Coast Conference regular season will come to an end on Saturday night at McKeon Pavilion, as the league-champion Gonzaga Bulldogs take on the Saint Mary's Gaels.

Gonzaga stumbled with back-to-back losses last week but was finally able to clinch its second straight WCC regular-season title (and 15th in the last 17 seasons) on Thursday night with a 70-53 triumph at Pacific and has earned a coveted double-bye into the semifinals of the conference tournament. The Bulldogs are now 24-6 overall and 14-3 in league play, although they have been simply modest on the road at 6-4.

Saint Mary's has been stellar overall this season at 21-9, but it currently sits in just fourth place in the WCC with an 11-6 conference mark. The Gaels are winners of two straight, taking down Santa Clara last Saturday (76-54) before downing Portland on Thursday (70-61) to improve to an excellent 15-2 at home.

The teams met for the first time this season back on Jan. 2, with Gonzaga winning easily at home, 73-51. The Bulldogs have now won four straight over the Gaels to improve to 58-27 in the all-time series.

The Bulldogs made a statement early in their most recent contest, running out to a 12-point halftime lead over Pacific before putting the game on cruise control from there to capture the WCC title. Although they shot just a modest 42 percent from the field, they held Pacific to only 30.9 percent shooting. Kevin Pangos scored a game-high 18 points, Drew Barham shot 4-of-6 from 3- point range off the bench for 17 points and Przemek Karnowski tallied nine points and nine rebounds.

On the season, Gonzaga's offensive attack has been outstanding, as it scores 77.3 ppg while ranking eighth in the nation in field-goal percentage (.495) and ninth in 3-point percentage (.399), and on top of its stellar shooting it also plays great defense, yielding just 65.7 ppg. Pangos (14.8 ppg, 4.0 apg) has knocked down 75 3-pointer at a 41.4 percent clip and has also made 89.1 percent of his free-throw tries. Sam Dower (14.6 ppg, 6.9 rpg) and Karnowski (10.3 ppg, 7.0 rpg, 1.8 bpg) are an impressive frontcourt duo, and Gary Bell Jr. brings 11.2 ppg to the table.

The Gaels took a four-point lead into intermission versus Portland last week, and while they were never able to extend their advantage to double figures, they also never coughed up the lead. They shot 44.4 percent from the field in the triumph, including 11-of-29 from beyond the arc, with Stephen Holt's 26 points leading the way. Brad Waldow tallied 14 points and nine rebounds, Kerry Carter scored 12 points on 4-of-8 from 3-point range and Beau Levesque put up eight points, six boards, four assists and four steals.

Saint Mary's has been impressive on both ends of the floor this season, shooting 46.1 percent from the field for 73.2 ppg, while allowing just 65.2 ppg on 44.5 percent shooting, and it also boasts a strong +4.5 rebounding margin. Waldow anchors to paint, shooting 57.9 percent from the floor en route to 15.9 ppg to go with 7.9 rpg and 1.4 bpg, but he's attempted 213 free throws to just 60.1 percent efficiency. Holt scores 15.1 ppg and has more than twice as many assists (124) as turnovers (57), while James Walker III (9.9 ppg), Levesque (9.8 ppg) and Carter (9.6 ppg) are all on the doorstep of double figures.

While it's possible Gonzaga could let off the gas pedal a bit having already clinched the top seed in next week's conference tournament, it still needs to rack up quality wins for its NCAA Tournament resume. Even if the Bulldogs give their all, they'll be hard-pressed to take down a Gaels' squad that has played very well at home.

Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Saint Mary's 74, Gonzaga 72

03/01 10:56:33 ET

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Scoreboard
Local
Final
UVA 27
UNC 28
Final
NCCU 42
SAVST 14
 
7th
SFG 11
KAN 4
 
Final
WISC 52
MD 7
Final
SMU 10
MEM 48
Final
ILL 28
MINN 24
Final
RICE 41
UNT 21
Final
NEB 42
RUTG 24
Final
KST 23
TEX 0
Final
ARK 45
UAB 17
Final
UVA 27
UNC 28
Final
EMICH 17
NILL 28
Final
NAVY 41
SJST 31
Final
BST 35
AKR 21
Final
GASTATE 31
GASO 69
Final
TOL 42
UMASS 35
Final
WMICH 42
OHIO 21
Final
COL 37
UCLA 40
Final
UMO 10
KSU 3
Final
WAKE 17
BC 23
Final
BUF 14
CMICH 20
Final
MARS 35
FATL 16
Final
PITT 28
GT 56
Final
SMISS 20
LATU 31
Final
MSU 35
MICH 11
Final
KENT 31
MSST 45
Final
STAN 38
ORST 14
Final
TCU 82
TTU 27
Final
OKST 10
WVU 34
Final
WKENT 66
ODU 51
Final
UTST 34
UNLV 20
Final
MIZZ 24
VANDY 14
Final
UCF 34
TEMPL 14
Final
WASU 37
ARZ 59
 
Final
CLEM 16
SYR 6
Final
LAMON 18
TXST 22
 
Final
TXSANANTO 0
UTEP 34
Final
COLST 45
WYO 31
 
Final
LSU 10
MISS 7
 
Final
TENN 20
ALA 34
 
Final
AUB 42
SCAR 35
 
4th
PSU 17
OSU 17
 
Half
UTAH 10
USC 14
 
2nd
WASH 0
ARST 0
 
11:59pm Tonight
HAW
NEV
Final
SJS 1
BUF 2
Final
TOR 1
BOS 4
Final
NYI 7
DAL 5
Final
PHI 4
DET 2
Final
OTT 2
NJD 3
Final
MON 3
NYR 1
Final
STL 3
CHI 2
Final
NAS 0
PIT 3
Final
MIN 7
TAM 2
2nd Intermission
ARI 1
FLA 1
 
2nd
CAL 1
WAS 2
 
Final
NCCU 42
SAVST 14