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Randy Bennett and the Gaels now head to Las Vegas for the WCC Tournament.
Randy Bennett and the Gaels now head to Las Vegas for the WCC Tournament.
MBK | Gaels Drop Senior Night Showdown To Gonzaga
Release: Saturday 03/01/2014 
by SMC Athletics

MORAGA, Calif. -- Sam Dower Jr. scored a game-high 15 points and visiting Gonzaga pulled away with a big first half to beat the Saint Mary's men's basketball team 75-47 in the 2014 regular season finale at McKeon Pavilion.

Stephen Holt scored 10 points, all coming from the free throw line, to lead Saint Mary's. The Gaels finish the regular season with a 21-10 overall record and 11-7 mark in the West Coast Conference and ended the year fourth in the conference.

Brad Waldow added nine for the Gaels. 10 players scored for Gonzaga (25-6, 15-3 WCC), which clinched the WCC regular season title Thursday at Pacific.

A combination of cold early shooting and a massive run by Gonzaga put the Gaels in a decidedly large hole by halftime with the Bulldogs leading 42-22. Saint Mary's shot just 22 percent (5 for 27) from the floor in the first half, resulting in a 22-point output that tied the teams' meeting in Spokane earlier in the season for second-lowest in a first half this year.

At the other end, Saint Mary's also rivaled a bit of history, allowing the third-most points it has in a first half this season. A large chunk of that came early, with a huge 21-3 run putting Gonzaga in control.

After Beau Levesque scored the game's opening points with a deep 3-pointer and Matt Hodgson bringing the crowd to full tilt with a block, the Bulldogs took command. A layup out of a time out by David Stockton represented the final field goal in the streak, making it 19-5 Gonzaga with 11:09 left. Przemek Karnowski capped the run with two free throws, and by the time it was all said and done, Saint Mary's trailed 21-6.

Every time Saint Mary's tried to establish a rhythm offensively, the Bulldogs had an answer. The Gaels' cold shooting was compounded by Gonzaga dominance on the boards, with the visitors enjoying a 26-15 advantage on the glass heading into the break.

Things got no closer in the second half as the Gaels continued to find the going tough on offense. Gonzaga continued to build the lead and put the game on ice early, allowing both teams to rotate personnel late. Saint Mary's finished just 12 of 52 from the floor (23 percent) and got outrebounded 42-30. The 47 points were the least scored by the Gaels at home this season and the 75 scored by Gonzaga were the most scored by an opponent in Moraga this year.

"I didn't think we competed very well against Portland. I thought we were worse tonight. That's unacceptable. It's leadership. We've got to fix that," Saint Mary's coach Randy Bennett said. "Loose balls early in the game, 50-50 balls, 0-6 their way at halftime. You may not play well and you may lose. You can give me 10 points or something. But you may not bring that kind of effort and expect that to be acceptable. We did not bring a good enough effort across the board. We did not play hard enough. We did not play hard enough against Portland. You get what you tolerate. We'll try to fix that tomorrow."

Saturday was Senior Night for the Gaels as the McKeon Pavilion faithful bid farewell to six seniors and two team managers. Hodgson, Holt, Levesque, Paul McCoyEividas Petrulis and James Walker III were honored in a pregame ceremony along with team managers Zach Silva and Robby Yant. 

Saint Mary's now moves on to the WCC Tournament in Las Vegas and will be the No. 4 seed. That sets the Gaels up to play No. 5 Pepperdine on Saturday in a quarterfinal. For brackets, game times, television details and all things tournament related, visit WCCSports.com.