Drew Timme scored 19 points and host No. 12 Gonzaga earned a share of the West Coast Conference regular-season title with a 77-68 victory over No. 15 Saint Mary’s on Saturday night at Spokane, Wash.
Anton Watson recorded 17 points, eight rebounds and four steals before fouling out as Gonzaga (25-5, 14-2 WCC) prevailed to win or share the WCC title for the 11th straight season. Malachi Smith added 13 points and Julian Strawther had 11 as the Bulldogs defeated the Gaels for the 24th time in the past 30 meetings.
Logan Johnson scored 27 points for Saint Mary’s (25-6, 14-2), which finished with a share of the WCC regular-season title for the first time since the 2015-16 campaign. Johnson has scored at least 27 points in five of the past six games.
The Gaels won the first meeting between the teams and clinched a share of the title earlier this week. The NCAA NET Rankings will determine which team gets the No. 1 seed for the upcoming WCC tournament. Saint Mary’s was No. 7 entering the game and the Bulldogs were No. 10.
Alex Ducas added 10 points and seven rebounds for the Gaels, who lost for just the second time in their past 18 contests.
Saint Mary’s shot 47.8 percent from the field and made 8 of 18 from behind the arc.
Gonzaga shot 53.8 percent from the field, including 4 of 14 from 3-point range, while winning its sixth consecutive game.
Saint Mary’s trailed by 18 points before using a 14-2 burst to get back into the contest. Aidan Mahaney finished the run with a 3-pointer and a layup to bring the Gaels within 52-46 with 11:52 remaining.
A short time later, Timme scored five straight points to give the Zags a 62-50 lead with 8:29 remaining. Strawther split two free throws to make it a 13-point margin with 7:39 remaining.
Johnson scored the final four points of a 6-0 run that allowed Saint Mary’s to creep within 63-56 with 5:38 left.
The Bulldogs led 67-57 after Rasir Bolton’s basket with 4:46 left but the Gaels scored the next five to chop their deficit in half.
However, Watson scored four points during a 6-0 run as Gonzaga took a 73-62 lead with 1:22 to go and the Bulldogs closed it out.
In the first half, the Bulldogs took a big lead with a punishing 17-1 run, capped by Timme’s layup to make it 39-20 with 2:01 remaining. Gonzaga led 39-26 at the break.
–Field Level Media