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Rui Hachimura’s offense, interior defense lift No. 12 Gonzaga to 78-65 win over No. 11 Saint Mary’s

UPDATED: Sat., Feb. 10, 2018, 11:32 p.m.

MORAGA, Calif. – Rui Hachimura scored a game-high 21 points as No. 12 Gonzaga jumped out to an early lead and never looked back in a 78-65 victory over 11th-ranked Saint Mary’s on Saturday at the McKeon Pavilion.

Johnathan Williams added a double-double of 12 points and 11 rebounds for the Bulldogs (23-4, 13-1 West Coast Conference), which avenged a 74-71 loss to the Gaels (24-3, 13-1) last month in Spokane.

Four Gonzaga players finished in double figures, but the more eye-opening stat line was that of Saint Mary’s standout Jock Landale.

Coming into the contest, the senior center was averaging over 22 points per game, but was held to just four points on four shot attempts. Both are his lowest totals of the season.

Gonzaga finished the game shooting 47.1 percent overall and 33 percent from deep. The Zags also outrebounded the Gaels 38-34 and had just four turnovers to SMC’s nine.

Jordan Ford paced the Gaels with 19 points.

Gonzaga will now return home for a 6 p.m. Thursday contest against Loyola Marymount (SWX). Both teams have four games remaining in the WCC regular season.

Second half

Final – Gonzaga 78, Saint Mary’s 65: After struggling the last few games to take control of the contest, Gonzaga played one of its better games since entering WCC play.

Quick start, great defense on one of the nation’s best scorers and production from the bench.

Great win for Gonzaga.

4:00 – Gonzaga 74, Saint Mary’s 57: Perkins finally into double figures with 11 points. He then turns around and forces a Saint Mary’s turnover, just as the Gaels were starting a scoring spurt.

Bulldogs still with a comfortable lead, but need to focus to close this one out.

7:10 – Gonzaga 72, Saint Mary’s 53: Hachimura matches his point total for the last meeting with 23 on 10-of-13 shooting. Very efficient from Rui.

Gonzaga shooting at a 52 percent clip in this one overall and nearly 40 percent from deep.

Landale still stunned silent in this one. The nation’s 10th leading scorer has just two points on three shot attempts.

Ford leading the way for the Gaels with 15.

Zags also dominating on the boards (35-25), while committing only three turnovers.

11:11 – Gonzaga 64, Saint Mary’s 45: Balanced scoring all night for Gonzaga as Perkins is at nine points, inching toward being the fourth GU player in double figures.

The biggest offensive threat for Gonzaga though continues to be Hachimura as he keeps making it look easy around the bucket. Rui at 19 points.

Williams also pulls down his 10th board for a double-double.

All Zags the last few minutes as the lead has swelled to 20.

15:46 – Gonzaga 53, Saint Mary’s 38: It’s been a good offensive game for GU’s Johnathan Williams, but more importantly, he’s been in charge of shutting down Landale.

Bulldogs looking much more composed then in last month’s loss, but Saint Mary’s has shown an ability to stick in games like this until the end.

Team’s trade 3s, with Norvell hitting his second of the night for Gonzaga as he’s into double figures with 10 points.

First half

Halftime – Gonzaga 42, Saint Mary’s 30: Much like last time out in Spokane, Rui is taking the game over for the Zags.

The sophomore is up to a game-high 12 points on 5-of-6 shooting off the bench. He’s also added a pair of free throws.

Solid shooting numbers that half for Gonzaga, at 48.6 percent overall and 35.5 from 3.

SMC led by Ford’s 11 points, while Landale has been limited to just two points on a single shot attempt.

3:37 – Gonzaga 34, Saint Mary’s 25: Williams with a much needed shot of adrenaline for the Zags on another offensive board and putback. He’s up to 10 points and seven boards.

Saint Mary’s (38 percent overall) starting to shoot closer to its season average of 53 percent.

Ford up to nine points for the Gaels, who have cut the lead back to single figures.

Hachimura, who scored 23 in the last game between the teams, has scored Gonzaga’s last six points and is up to eight for the game.

8:34 – Gonzaga 26, Saint Mary’s 12: Bulldogs shooting 52 percent overall, while holding the Gales to 25 shooting.

Zags also outrebounding Saint Mary’s 15-7.

Gonzaga getting into some foul trouble as well though, as both Norvell and Hachimura are up to two fouls and will likely sit for the rest of the half.

Gaels get into double figures on a tough layup from Jordan Ford.

Landale also finally gets his first shot up, an uncontested dunk, which leads to a Gonzaga timeout.

11:24 – Gonzaga 24, Saint Mary’s 8: Killian Tillie joins the 3-point parade for the Zags with a straightaway make.

Williams continues his hot start with another big slam after an offensive board. He has eight points to go with six rebounds in the first eight minutes.

GU coach Mark Few gives both Norvell and Perkins a breather as Rui Hachimura and Corey Kispert check in from the bench.

More bad news for the Gales as well, as forward Calvin Hermanson picks up his second foul. He scored 16 last time out against the Zags.

15:24 – Gonzaga 15, Saint Mary’s 4: Gonzaga burning the nets from deep early on as Josh Perkins, Silas Melson and Zach Norvell Jr. all hit 3-pointers in the opening minutes.

Bulldogs then show a little flare in the lane as Norvell finds Johnathan Williams, who throws it down.

Pretty much the best start the Bulldogs could have hoped for. Norvell with five points and Saint Mary’s can’t buy a bucket.

SMC superstar Jock Landale has also yet to take a shot. That won’t be the case for much longer though.


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