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Bigs, point guards take center stage in Gonzaga-Saint Mary’s matchup

UPDATED: Wed., Jan. 17, 2018, 3:55 p.m.

Gonzaga’s Johnathan Williams dunks over Saint Mary’s Jock Landale during the first half of a WCC title game last March. (Colin Mulvany / The Spokesman-Review)
Gonzaga’s Johnathan Williams dunks over Saint Mary’s Jock Landale during the first half of a WCC title game last March. (Colin Mulvany / The Spokesman-Review)

There are quality matchups at all five spots, but we’ll zero in on the bigs and the point guards.

Saint Mary’s Jock Landale is a legitimate All-American candidate at 21.7 points and 10.3 rebounds per game. He’s been even better in WCC play (23 and 11.8). The 6-foot-11, 255-pound center can hit from 10-12 feet but he does his best work closer to the basket. He makes 65 percent from the field and 75 percent at the free-throw line.

GU’s Johnathan Williams is one of the most athletic bigs on the West Coast but he will be giving away two inches and roughly 25 pounds. How often will Gonzaga double-team Landale, which could open up kick-out 3s?

The Gaels’ Emmett Naar leads the nation in assists and he’s a crafty scorer. He’s only made 10 3-pointers, so the majority of his damage comes off penetration. Gonzaga’s Josh Perkins and Silas Melson will probably see time on Naar.

The Zags want to make Naar, who plays 37.3 minutes per game, work extremely hard at both ends of the court to diminish his effectiveness.

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