SPOKANE, Wash. -- A big run by Gonzaga to end the first half put the Saint Mary's men's basketball team in a hole it couldn't climb out of Thursday as the Gaels dropped a 73-51 decision in Spokane.
Saint Mary's now sits at 10-4 overall and 1-1 in West Coast Conference play. Gonzaga improves to 13-2 overall and 3-0 in the WCC.
Beau Levesque led Saint Mary's with 12 points. Stephen Holt was next with nine points. Kevin Pangos and Przemek Karnowski tied for game-high honors with 15 points each for Gonzaga.
The primary team statistics that mattered by the end were found in the categories that Saint Mary's is normally strongest in. The Gaels went 1-for-12 from 3-point range and had just two assists. Gonzaga also outrebounded Saint Mary's 39-22.
After a good start by Saint Mary's at the offensive end Gonzaga took control with an 18-4 run to end the first half.
Early on, Levesque seemed to have a handle on the offensive duties for the Gaels. He scored eight of the team's first 10 points, and a nifty turnaround jumper over Drew Barham made it 10-7 Saint Mary's with just over 14 minutes left.
Shortly thereafter, Gonzaga took the lead, and it wasn't until Holt's layup made it 18-all with 7:39 left in the half that Saint Mary's pulled back to even.
From that point until halftime, the Bulldogs took over. Barham capped a 10-0 run with a corner 3-pointer in transition and with the score 28-18 Gonzaga, Gaels acting head coach Eran Ganot called time out to stem the tide. Levesque stopped the run briefly with a runner through the lane, but a corner 3 by James Walker III at the end of the half bounced harmlessly off the rim and Gonzaga led by 14 at intermission.
The statistics at half also told quite the tale. Saint Mary's ended the period without an assist and without a made 3-pointer, two keys to the Gaels attack normally. Gonzaga owned the boards to the tune of 23-8, helping the Bulldogs build their lead.
Gonzaga maintained that lead throughout the second half, keeping Saint Mary's advances at bay. The Bulldogs extended their lead to 18 on a corner 3 by Angel Nunez and a Gaels turnover brought the under-12 media time out and left the Gaels with significant ground to make up.
Saint Mary's returns to action Saturday when the Gaels head just a bit further south to face Portland at 7 p.m. That game will be broadcast live in the Bay Area on Comcast SportsNet Bay Area as well as on ROOT Sports Northwest and Rocky Mountain as well as on Time Warner Cable SportsNet in Southern California. In viewing areas outside of those regional sports networks (including DirecTV and Dish subscribers), the game will be available online via www.TheW.tv. Live audio, featuring the voice of the Gaels Alex Jensen, and links to live statistics will be available on SMCGaels.com.