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Matthew Dellavedova scored 19 points in the first half alone on Thursday.
Matthew Dellavedova scored 19 points in the first half alone on Thursday.
MBK | Gaels Fight But Fall To Gonzaga
Release: Wednesday 02/14/2013 
by SMC Athletics

MORAGA, Calif. -- Matthew Dellavedova scored 22 points but it wasn't enough as No. 3-ranked Gonzaga outlasted the Saint Mary's men's basketball team 77-60 at McKeon Pavilion.

Saint Mary's (21-5, 10-2 West Coast Conference) made several overtures toward going ahead, but Gonzaga (24-2, 11-0) had the answers it needed time after time.

Stephen Holt added 17 for the Gaels. Holt and Dellavedova were the lone Gaels in double figures.

Gary Bell Jr. led Gonzaga with 20 points. Kevin Pangos added 18, and Kelly Olynyk scored 17 points and grabbed seven rebounds.

Gonzaga took the advantage coming out of halftime, scoring seven points in the first 1:04 of the half to turn a one-point Saint Mary's halftime advantage into a 39-33 Bulldogs lead.

The lead continued to grow for the next few minutes, with a 3-pointer by Gary Bell Jr. putting Gonzaga up 46-37 with 16:26 to play.

"You spot them 10, and you're digging your way out from there," Saint Mary's coach Randy Bennett said. "I actually thought we played pretty well for a lot of that game. They played very well, and they had guys who hit shots."

Saint Mary's finally scored its first points of the half on a runner by Holt with 14:24 to play. That made the score 52-39 Gonzaga. Holt continued the scoring, knocking down a rhythm 3-pointer on the Gaels next possession to cut the deficit to 10.

The Bulldogs maintained the lead for the next several minutes, but bedlam struck with 6:49 left. With the shot clock expiring, Dellavedova stepped to the top of the key and drained a 3-pointer, making the score 56-52 Gonzaga.

Saint Mary's would do its part offensively throughout the rest of the game, but Gonzaga countered every time to maintain and ultimately keep the lead.

"They were getting the loose balls, and I think that's what these games always come down to," Dellavedova said. "It's the hustle plays, the loose balls. We didn't win enough of those tonight."

Gonzaga jumped out to an 11-4 lead Thursday, with Olynyk scoring the Bulldogs first six points to lead the way.

Saint Mary's clawed to stay within reach, and Dellavedova played a major role, scoring eight of the Gaels' first 15 points.

The senior from Maryborough, Victoria, Australia remained Saint Mary's best option throughout the rest of the half. He took on all comers, at one point stepping into a 3-pointer and making it with Gonzaga's Elias Harris right in his face.

It wasn't until late in the half that Dellavedova blew the roof right off McKeon. First, a 3-pointer with 1:32 left in the half made it 30-27 Gonzaga. On the next possession, his step back 3-ball found twine as well, knotting the score at 30 with 44 seconds left before the break.

"I thought he and Holt really competed. They scored, but they also competed," Bennett said. "They were playing hard defensively, getting to balls. If Matt doesn't hit some really tough shots in the first half, then we don't get back on top. I thought he was exceptional."

That proved only the beginning of the noise a 3-pointer by Jordan Giusti kept the madness going, and after two Gonzaga free throws to end the half, Saint Mary's led 33-32.

Saint Mary's hits the road this weekend to take on Loyola Marymount. That game is set for a 4 p.m. tip on Saturday, and will be televised by CSN California. As always, live audio and statistics will be available on SMCGaels.com.

The Gaels return home next week for a pair of high-profile contests. On Thursday, BYU visits McKeon Pavilion in a key WCC matchup. Tip for that game is set for 8 p.m. and the game will be televised by ESPN2.

Next Saturday, Creighton visits Moraga as part of the ESPN Ramada Worldwide BracketBusters series. That game will start at 3 p.m. and also be televised by the ESPN family of networks.