Drew Timme recorded 18 points and six rebounds and became Gonzaga’s all-time leading scorer as the ninth-ranked Bulldogs lambasted No. 16 Saint Mary’s 77-51 on Tuesday night in the West Coast Conference tournament title game at Las Vegas.
Malachi Smith scored 14 points, Nolan Hickman added 12 points on four 3-pointers and Julian Strawther added 10 points as the second-seeded Bulldogs (28-5) never trailed while making their 26th consecutive title game appearance. Gonzaga went 2-1 against the rival Gaels this season with the latest win resulting in the WCC’s automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament.
Logan Johnson scored 20 points and Alex Ducas had 10 points and seven rebounds for top-seeded Saint Mary’s (26-7), which played in the final for the sixth time in the past eight seasons.
Aidan Mahaney (seven points, 2-of-8 shooting) and Mitchell Saxen (five, 2 of 7) had subpar outings for the Gaels, who shot just 33.3 percent from the field and 4 of 16 from 3-point range.
The Bulldogs, who led by as many as 37 points, have played in the WCC championship game in all 24 of coach Mark Few’s seasons. They are 19-5 in the title game.
Timme became Gonzaga’s all-time scorer with a 5-foot hook shot with 10:17 left in the first half. He passed school legend Frank Burgess (2,196 points from 1958-61) and finished the game with 2,210 career points.
Gonzaga shot a stellar 58 percent from the field and made 8 of 14 shot attempts from 3-point range. Timme hit 8 of 10 shot attempts and Anton Watson contributed nine points, 10 rebounds and five assists.
The Bulldogs led by 18 at the break and continued to pounce on Saint Mary’s in the second half.
Watson made back-to-back baskets to increase the lead to 48-24 with 14:50 remaining. Just over five minutes later, Ben Gregg made two free throws to push the lead to 30 at 59-29 with 9:26 left.
The lead topped out at 72-35 on Smith’s trey with 3:56 remaining.
Timme had 14 points and five rebounds as Gonzaga held a commanding 37-19 halftime advantage.
The Bulldogs took a 17-6 lead on Strawther’s 3-pointer with 12:31 remaining in the first half. The Gaels moved within seven before Timme’s milestone basket started a 9-0 run that boosted Gonzaga’s lead to 28-12 with 6:26 remaining.
Ducas hit a 3-pointer to bring Saint Mary’s within 31-19 with 3:13 left before the Bulldogs scored the final six points of the half.
–Field Level Media