Saturday’s clash between 21st-ranked Saint Mary’s and fifth-ranked Gonzaga will be the 93rd matchup between the schools.
The Bulldogs have won nine of the last 11 meetings and are 63-29 against the Gaels. Head coach Mark Few is 37-9 versus SMC.
Gonzaga received an automatic bid to the NCAA tournament following its victory over Saint Mary’s in the WCC tournament championship last year. The Zags won 85-75 behind 20 points from Eric McClellan and 17 from Kyle Wiltjer. GU shot 62 percent from the field in the win.
Six of the eight previous WCC championship games have been between Saint Mary’s and Gonzaga. The Bulldogs defeated SMC in the WCC championship in 2016, 2013, 2011, 2009, 2005 and 2004. The Gaels won in 2012 and 2010.
Despite falling to the Bulldogs in the WCC championship last year, the Gaels swept the regular-season series, which included a rare Gonzaga loss in the McCarthey Athletic Center. The Bulldogs are 11-2 against SMC at McCarthey, and 28-9 in Spokane.
Saint Mary’s defeated the Zags 63-58 in Spokane last year. Josh Perkins scored 21 points in the Bulldogs’ loss. The Gaels edged GU 70-67 last year in Moraga, California.
This will be the third meeting between SMC and Gonzaga when both have been ranked in the Associated Press Top 25. The Bulldogs have won both of these matchups. The last meeting in which both schools were ranked was on Jan. 29, 2009, when GU won 69-62.
Gonzaga is 2-4 against the Gaels when SMC has been ranked. The most recent matchup against a ranked Gaels squad was in the 2012 WCC tournament championship. SMC edged the Bulldogs 78-74 in overtime.
The Bulldogs won the first meeting against Saint Mary’s 86-84 on Dec. 23, 1971.
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