Gonzaga 73, No. 16 Saint Mary’s (Cal) 59

Gonzaga was blown out last month in its first game against No.

16 Saint Mary’s, and center Rob Sacre said the Bulldogs did not

want that to happen again.

”We played our game, our tempo,” Sacre said Thursday night

after Gonzaga beat Saint Marys’ 73-59 night to avenge the earlier

loss to the West Coast Conference leader.

Kevin Pangos scored 27 points for Gonzaga, and Sacre added 12

points and nine rebounds.

”We were hungry to get back at them,” Sacre said of the 83-62

loss to the Gaels on Jan. 12.

The win kept alive the hopes of Gonzaga (19-4, 9-2) to win its

12th consecutive regular season title, the second-longest streak in

Division 1 history after UCLA’s 13 straight.

But the Zags will need somebody to beat Saint Mary’s (22-3,

11-1), which saw its 12-game winning streak snapped. Their last

loss was Dec. 22 to No. 6 Baylor.

”I told them before the game, `Everybody in the building needs

to know who the toughest guys were,”’ Gonzaga coach Mark Few said.

”Our bigs played tough. Our guards played tough.”

Gary Bell Jr. scored 12 points and Elias Harris had 10 points

and 10 rebounds for Gonzaga, which shot 52 percent while holding

Saint Mary’s to 38 percent. They dominated the rebounding

40-26.

Few was impressed with the play of Pangos and Bell, freshmen

guards who both played more than 30 minutes.

”They have big wills, big hearts,” Few said.

The game was a back-and-forth battle until the final 13 minutes,

when Gonzaga outscored the Gaels 28-14.

”I think it’s always defense,” Pangos said of the late rally.

”You start runs by getting stops.”

Saint Mary’s coach Randy Bennett said the rebound difference was

a key.

”They were just more aggressive there,” Bennett said.

”Eventually that paid off big dividends for them.”

Matthew Dellavedova had 20 points for Saint Mary’s, which was

just 5 of 21 from 3-point range.

”For the first 25 minutes, our defense was like good to OK,”

Dellavedova said. ”But we broke down and they were getting lots of

penetration and hitting a lot of open 3s.”

Gonzaga was 7 of 15 on 3s.

Trailing by three points at halftime, Saint Mary’s opened the

second half with a 9-4 run to take a 40-38 lead. But consecutive

3-pointers by Pangos and Bell put Gonzaga ahead 44-40.

The teams traded baskets until Pangos hit a 3-pointer with 8

minutes left to extend Gonzaga’s lead to 56-49. Bell added another

3 a minute later and Gonzaga led 59-49.

After two free throws by Dellavedova, Pangos hit his fifth

3-pointer in as many attempts for a 62-51 lead with 6 minutes

left.

Gonzaga jumped to a 14-8 lead, but Brad Waldow’s basket put

Saint Mary’s up 17-16 with 10 minutes left. Pangos hit two

3-pointers as Gonzaga built a 26-21 lead.

Dellavedova scored six points as Saint Mary’s got within 30-29,

but baskets by Sacre and Pangos staked Gonzaga to a 34-31 halftime

lead.

Gonzaga has won or shared the WCC regular season title every

year since 2000-01.

Gonzaga is 101-7 in the McCarthey Athletic Center since it

opened in 2004