Game 25: vs No. 1/1 Gonzaga, Saturday, Feb. 11, 5:15 p.m.
All-time Series: 29-64
Last Meeting: 1/14/17 at Gonzaga (L, 79-56)
TV: ESPN (Jay Bilas, Dan Shulman, Maria Taylor)
Audio: TuneIn Radio
Live Stats | TuneIn
Primetime Match is Here
No. 20/20 Saint Mary’s (22-2, 12-1 WCC) hosts undefeated No. 1 Gonzaga (25-0, 13-0) at McKeon Pavilion as the primetime match of the week on ESPN.
This marks the 94th meeting between the two programs, as Gonzaga holds the 64-29 edge.
Saint Mary’s swept the regular season meetings last season, but fell to GU in the WCC Championship final, 85-75. Back in January, the Zags prevailed with a 23-point margin win. GU has won 10 of the last 12 games versus the Gaels.
ESPN College GameDay
The Gaels will host not just No. 1 Gonzaga, but also the ESPN College GameDay crew. The crew of Rece Davis, Jay Williams, Jay Bilas and Seth Greenberg will host the live morning show on Saturday at 8 a.m.
This will be the first time the Gaels will be on College GameDay.
What Happened in Last Meeting?
A late 21-4 run by the Zags downed the Gaels, 79-56, Saturday night at the McCarthey Athletic Center.
After opening the game shooting 48.3 percent on 14-for-29 from the field, SMC caught cold offensively in the second half. The Gaels ended up shooting 31 percent from the floor and just 39.7 percent for the match.
Calvin Hermanson recorded 12 points after scoring a career-high 27 versus Portland Thursday night. Dane Pineau provided a major boost off the bench with 10 points, five rebounds. He also notched three steals in his 34 minutes of action. Foul trouble limited Jock Landale, as the center tallied 10 points and six boards before fouling at late in the second half.
Saturday’s contest will be the first time SMC has hosted the No. 1 team since 1955 and the glory days of USF Dons basketball. On Feb. 16, 1955, the Dons behind Bill Russell defeated the Gaels in Moraga, 65-57.
Gaels Grind Past Pilots
In a sloppy offensive performance, No. 20 Saint Mary’s (22-2, 12-1 WCC) relied on stellar defense to snatch the 51-41 win over the Pilots of Portland at McKeon Pavilion on Thursday night.
Saint Mary’s is currently holding opponents to just 55.9 points per game. The team is first in the WCC and second in the nation in opponents points per game. Over the first five conference games, the Gaels didn’t let their opponents shoot 45 percent or better (LMU, 35.6 , USD 42.9, BYU 44.3%, USF 37.3% & Portland 25.0%). In total, SMC has forced 10 WCC opponents to shoot below 45 percent in 10 conference game so far.
Numbers Never Lie
The Gaels are currently 1st in the WCC in five statistical categories: Scoring defense (55.9, 2nd NCAA) free-throw percentage (.762, 23rd NCAA), rebound-margin (10.1, 4th NCAA), three-point field goal pct (39.7 percent, 21st) and assist-to-turnover ratio (1.6, 4th NCAA).
SMC also ranks 2nd in field-goal percentage (.494, 10th NCAA), three-point FG defense (30.0 percent, 10th), assists per game (16.8, 24th) and scoring margin (+15.9, 6th NCAA).
Jock Among the Elite
Landale ranks tied-26 in the NCAA with 11 double-doubles on the season.
According to the NCAA, Landale ranks 30th in rebounding (9.5), 33rd in offensive rebounding (3.2) and 53rd in defensive rebounding per game (6.3). Landale leads the team in points per game at 16.7 and is first in conference in rebounds.
The Streak Continues
The Gaels have been ranked inside the top-25 in both AP and USA Today polls for the 14th consecutive week. This year’s program continues to shatter the previous record for consecutive weeks being ranked. The previous record was five straight weeks during the 2008 and 2012 seasons.
Tied for Fastest Ever
Saint Mary’s captured its 20th win on the season last Thursday, and have its 10th straight season with at least 20 wins or more.
The win tied the program record for least amount of games needed to reach 20th win (22 games, 2011-2012 season).
2nd in All-Time WCC Ranks
Head coach Randy Bennett surpassed former Santa Clara coach Carroll Williams for 2nd in all-time WCC wins. Bennett (166-69) has coached six years fewer than Williams’ tenure in the WCC.
Landale Named Finalist for Honors
With an impressive season nonetheless, Landale has been named one of the 10 finalists for the Kareem Abdul-Jabaar Award. The award is given to the nation’s top center.
Three WCC players are named as finalists (Landale, Gonzaga’s Prezemek Karnowski and BYU’s Eric Mika).
Landale was also named in the top-30 list for the Naismith Trophy which is given to the top college basketball player.
SCOUTING REPORT-- The Zags
Gonzaga is the only unbeaten team left in NCAA Div. I. GU is off to the best start in program history. The 1944 Zags started 11-0, before finishing 21-2.
This is the first time that the Zags have gone unbeaten in non-conference play since joining the NCAA in 1958.
Gonzaga’s current 25-game win streak is the longest in the nation. The streak is now the longest in program history. The 2014-15 Zags won 22 straight games.
Nigel Williams-Goss recorded his seventh career double-double at Loyola Marymount Thursday. His 19-point, 11-rebound performance was his third double-double of the season, and all have been on the road.
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