Saint Mary's squeaks past No. 13 Gonzaga, 74-71

Annette Crawford
January 19, 2018

This showdown figures to be a shootout as a pair of the nation's top offenses face off. Gonzaga now ranks fourth with 122.9 points per 100 possessions and Saint Mary's is third (124.9).

Offense meets defense when the Saint Mary's Gaels (17-2, 6-0 WCC) travel to Gonzaga to take on the No. 13 Bulldogs (16-3, 6-0 WCC).

Gonzaga ranks seventh in rebounds per game (41.4) while Saint Mary's ranks 209th (33.6). The Gaels relied on experience and their characteristically efficient offense to pull the upset on Thursday night.

"You have to have experienced guys and big guys to win here, and our guys handled the atmosphere, " Saint Mary's coach Randy Bennett said. Landale made 12 of 15 shots.

Gonzaga averages 17.6 assists per game, which ranks 21st in the nation.

"We had a couple of empty possessions in the second half and they didn't, " Few said.

Saint Mary's came back and Landale's basket tied the score at 63 with seven minutes left.

Landale's layup put Saint Mary's up 72-70 with 1:06 left.

With a 17-2 record, Saint Mary's hasn't lost since November, when they dropped two close back-to-back games against a Washington State team that was undefeated at the time, and a Georgia team that was coming in hot as well.

Landale's 17 points in the second half - on an impressive 8-of-9 shooting and seven rebounds - combined with Hermanson's 11 points on 4-of-4 shooting propelled the Gaels to be the better team late, as Gonzaga's Silas Melson, Killian Tillie and Zach Norvell Jr. couldn't find much of a rhythm at all, combing for just eight points after intermission.

Gonzaga junior guard Josh Perkins air-balled a tying 3-point attempt with 5.7 seconds left. That's only about three points less per game than the top scoring team, Duke.

It was hard enough for the Gaels to look at the scoreboard and see their 62 percent first-half shooting (56 percent from 3) still left them trailing by four. Saint Mary's shot 61.5 percent in the first half and 51.9 percent in the second. That was their first lead since going up 32-30 with 5:54 remaining in the first half. Even when Saint Mary's took that lead, there as a feeling of unease for the Gaels.

Hachimura had 15 first-half points on 7-of-9 shooting, as Gonzaga led 42-38 at the break. The Bulldogs held the Dons to an offensive rebounding percentage of 10.0 (below their season average of 31.1).

Gonzaga: All five Gonzaga starters average in double figures, as does Hachimura.

Saint Mary's: At Pacific on Saturday. Gonzaga is averaging 89.8 points per game this season while allowing 69.4 per contest.

Other reports by Iphone Fresh

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