SPOKANE, Wash. — No. 21 Saint Mary’s (15-2, 5-1 WCC) went toe-to-toe with No. 5 Gonzaga (17-0, 5-0 WCC) for nearly 32 minutes, but 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.
“I think we were bad defensively in the second-half,” said head coach Randy Bennett. “Last ten minutes of the game, we weren’t good offensively. Took bad shots, we didn’t finish well.”
“Ten minutes to go, it was a good game and then we took bad shots, turned it over and didn’t guard well. I’m really disappointed in how we defended them today.”
Three players scored in double-figures for SMC, as Calvin Hermanson recorded 12 points after scoring a career-high 27 versus Portland Thursday night. Dane Pineau provided a major boost off the bench tonight, as the 6-9 Aussie recorded a 10 point, five rebound performance. 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.
GU started hot, and stayed hot offensively, shooting 64.7 percent from the field (33-for-51 FG). The Zags found their range from beyond the arc, finishing the game with 7-of-13 three-point shots. Defensively, they were led with six blocks. Nigel Williams-Goss led the Bulldogs with 19 points and six assists.
Saint Mary’s will return home to host Pacific on Thursday night (Jan. 19) for an 8 p.m. tip. The matchup against the Tigers will be broadcasted live on CSN Bay Area. Fans can also listen to the action through the TuneIn app with Alex Jensen on the call. For tickets, visit the tickets link on SMCGaels.com or by calling the SMC Athletic Ticket Office during weekday business hours at (925) 631-GoTx (4689).
Two early fouls on Landale limited the Aussie’s production, as he played in just six minutes in the half. Trailing 11-5, the Gaels came storming back to cut the lead to two. Calvin Hermanson carried his hot shooting from Portland to The Kennel with a three-pointer and four-point play afterwards. SMC tied the game 20-20 off a nice find and finish from Dane Pineau.
Saint Mary’s took its first lead just after the 10-minute mark, embarking on a 7-0 run before the under-eight mandatory timeout. Pineau’s defensive presence on Zags center Przemek Karnowski made an immediate impact, forcing a pair of GU turnovers.
Back-and-forth both teams went, as the Zags were able to regain the one-point advantage with 4:37 on the clock. Emmett Naar rolled a sweet finish at the rim to take back the lead, but Cal transfer Jordan Matthews was left unmarked for a transition three-pointer which gave GU the 34-32 advantage. A Gael turnover translated into a fast-break dunk for the Zags and the 36-32 lead.
The Gaels dropped chances with unfortunate turnovers which sparked a GU 12-0 run to end the half for a 43-34 lead at the half for the Zags.
The Gaels defense picked it up a notch forcing back-to-back turnovers which led to six straight points for Landale and cut the deficit to just six points, 46-40.
Landale continued to claw the Gaels into the lead, as the league’s leading rebounder scored a beautiful right-shoulder hook for his eighth point of the half.
After a Williams-Goss jumper gave GU the 52-44 lead, a Dane Pineau three-pointer in front of the student section trimmed the lead to five, 52-47.
Saint Mary’s struggled to get anything going offensively as the Gaels faced a tough stretch. The team went scoreless for a six minute stretch and finished the game converting just two of their last 11 field-goals. The Zags ended the remaining 8:20 on a 21-4 run en route to win the first matchup of the season between the two rivals.
SUPPORT THE GAELS
A gift to the Gael Athletic Fund directly benefits Saint Mary's student-athletes, allowing them the opportunity to attain an education guided by our Catholic, Lasallian and Liberal Arts traditions. Click the link for more information.
FOLLOW THE GAELS
@SMCGaels (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram) SMC_Gaels (Snapchat)