NCAA BK

Thu, Jan 10, 2013 - 11:00 PM ET
Game Preview
 

Saint Mary's (Cal)-Gonzaga Preview

Share This Story

   
 

Gonzaga beat up on Saint Mary's for more than a decade, but that's hardly been the case over the last few years.

Looking to avenge a loss in last season's West Coast Conference title game, the No. 9 Bulldogs try to slow down Matthew Dellavedova and the visiting Gaels in an early season showdown Thursday night.

Since winning 28 of 31 matchups from 1999-2010, Gonzaga (15-1, 2-0) has gotten all it can handle - and then some - from Saint Mary's (12-3, 1-0). Led by Dellavedova, the Gaels have taken four of seven in the series, including a 78-74 overtime victory March 5 to win the league's tournament championship.

Saint Mary's also won the 2011-12 regular-season WCC crown, snapping Gonzaga's run of 11 straight outright or shared titles.

"They've done it for a long time," Dellavedova said of the Bulldogs. "We're just trying to do our thing and keep getting better as a program ourselves because they've done it for so long. We're just trying to keep pushing hard to see how much better we can get."

The Australian senior, posting 17.4 points and a league-high 6.7 assists per game this season, has averaged 22.6 points in his last five matchups versus Gonzaga.

"It starts with him and it ends with him," Bulldogs forward Elias Harris said of Dellavedova. "He's their main guy ... and the way he reads the court and finds his teammates is incredible. It's really a load. It's hard, even as a team, to guard him. It's going to be a great challenge."

While the Gaels have lost to Pacific, Georgia Tech and Northern Iowa, the Bulldogs' only blemish came in an 85-74 loss to then-No. 13 Illinois on Dec. 8. Gonzaga has since strung together six straight victories, most recently winning 81-74 at Santa Clara on Saturday.

Junior Kelly Olynyk led the way with a career-high 33 points and 10 rebounds as the Bulldogs finished a 3-0 trek, previously winning at then-No. 22 Oklahoma State and Pepperdine.

"It was a great road trip. Probably the best I've ever been on in 25 years," coach Mark Few said. "We're in the most difficult stretch I've ever been a part of."

The Gaels, meanwhile, enter Thursday seeking a season-best fifth consecutive win after opening league play with Saturday's 74-61 victory over Loyola Marymount. Dellavedova had 17 points and eight assists while James Walker III and Beau Levesque scored a combined 23 off the bench.

"We just really wanted to get a good start to conference," Dellavedova told the school's official website. "We knew they were going to be physical, so we just wanted to come out and be more ready to play."

Saint Mary's figures to be in for a much more difficult test at the McCarthey Athletic Center, where Gonzaga has taken 18 straight against unranked opponents by an average of 23.1 points.

Although the Gaels won 73-71 at Gonzaga on Jan. 27, 2011, they dropped to 1-16 over their last 17 visits to Spokane with a 73-59 defeat Feb. 9.

"It's a challenge," Saint Mary's coach Randy Bennett said. "As a player or a coach, you're a competitor and you look forward to tough challenges. This is a tough challenge. We all look forward to it that way. You try to bring your best when your best is needed and that's what we need."

Tagged: Gonzaga, St. Mary's (CA), Matthew Dellavedova

Related Stories

Member Comments

Please note by clicking on "Post comment" you acknowledge that you have read the Terms of Use and the comment you are posting is in compliance with such terms. Be Polite. Inappropriate posts may be removed by the moderator.

powered by



More Than Sports on MSN

Fox Sports Store

    itemName itemURL imageSrc price itemDescription
    Nike Florida Gators #1 Replica Elite Basketball Jersey - Black http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_Florida_Gators/browse/featuredproduct/885881/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_885000/ff_885881_xl.jpg&w=100 74.95 Nike Florida Gators #1 Replica Elite Basketball Jersey - Black
    Nike Georgetown Hoyas #22 Hyper Elite Road Performance Jersey - Navy Blue http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_Georgetown_Hoyas/browse/featuredproduct/1030243/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_1030000/ff_1030243_xl.jpg&w=100 119.95 Nike Georgetown Hoyas #22 Hyper Elite Road Performance Jersey - Navy Blue
    Nike Duke Blue Devils #5 Tourney Takeover Replica T-Shirt - Duke Blue http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_Duke_Blue_Devils/browse/featuredproduct/1032710/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_1032000/ff_1032710_xl.jpg&w=100 27.95 Nike Duke Blue Devils #5 Tourney Takeover Replica T-Shirt - Duke Blue
    Nike Oregon Ducks X-Ray Ball T-Shirt - Green http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_Oregon_Ducks/browse/featuredproduct/1052002/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_1052000/ff_1052002_xl.jpg&w=100 24.95 Nike Oregon Ducks X-Ray Ball T-Shirt - Green
    Nike Ohio State Buckeyes Road Warrior Tri-blend T-Shirt - Scarlet http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_Ohio_State_Buckeyes/browse/featuredproduct/1052645/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_1052000/ff_1052645_xl.jpg&w=100 29.95 Nike Ohio State Buckeyes Road Warrior Tri-blend T-Shirt - Scarlet
    Indiana Hoosiers 2013 NCAA Men\'s Basketball Road to March Madness T-Shirt - Crimson http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_Indiana_Hoosiers/browse/featuredproduct/1124528/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_1124000/ff_1124528_xl.jpg&w=100 19.95 Indiana Hoosiers 2013 NCAA Men\'s Basketball Road to March Madness T-Shirt - Cri..
    adidas Louisville Cardinals 2013 March Madness #10 Premier Swingman Jersey - Red http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_Louisville_Cardinals/browse/featuredproduct/1127200/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_1127000/ff_1127200_xl.jpg&w=100 89.95 adidas Louisville Cardinals 2013 March Madness #10 Premier Swingman Jersey - Red
    adidas Notre Dame Fighting Irish 2013 March Madness #45 Premier Swingman Jersey - White http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_Notre_Dame_Fighting_Irish/browse/featuredproduct/1127218/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_1127000/ff_1127218_xl.jpg&w=100 89.95 adidas Notre Dame Fighting Irish 2013 March Madness #45 Premier Swingman Jersey ..
    Nike Gonzaga Bulldogs March Madness Bracketville T-Shirt - Navy Blue http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_Gonzaga_Bulldogs/browse/featuredproduct/1155821/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_1155000/ff_1155821_xl.jpg&w=100 24.95 Nike Gonzaga Bulldogs March Madness Bracketville T-Shirt - Navy Blue
    Top of the World Miami Hurricanes 2013 NCAA ACC Men’s Basketball Tournament Champions Adjustable Hat – Green http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_Miami_Hurricanes/browse/featuredproduct/1177723/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_1177000/ff_1177723_xl.jpg&w=100 25.95 Top of the World Miami Hurricanes 2013 NCAA ACC Men’s Basketball Tournament Cham..