MORAGA, California – Josh Perkins scored 19 points and top-ranked Gonzaga finished its fifth unbeaten run through the West Coast Conference regular season with a 69-55 win over Saint Mary’s on Saturday at McKeon Pavilion.
Rui Hachimura added 17 points for the Bulldogs (29-2, 16-0 WCC), while Brandon Clarke added 15 points, seven rebounds and four blocks.
Jordan Ford paced the Gaels (20-11, 11-5) with 19 points.
After clinching the regular-season title last week, the Zags earn a bye into the WCC Tournament semifinals and won’t take the court again until March 11 at 6 p.m. (ESPN or ESPN2).
Gonzaga shot 52.8 percent from the floor and just 14.3 percent from deep, but held Saint Mary’s to 40.4 percent shooting overall and 33.3 percent from 3-point range.
Both teams grabbed 30 rebounds, while the Zags outscored the Gales 38-34 in the paint. Gonzaga also forced 13 SMC turnovers, while committing 10.
Final– Gonzaga 69, Saint Mary’s 55: Bit of a late push from Saint Mary’s gets this one back closer to the betting line, but the win was never in doubt for Gonzaga.
Brandon Clarke all over the place after a foul-plagued first half. He finishes with 15 points, seven rebounds and four blocks.
Fifth unbeaten WCC campaign is complete for GU, which gets a bye into the WCC semifinals, along with No. 2-seeded Saint Mary’s.
3:42– Gonzaga 64, Saint Mary’s 46: Geno Crandall nearly puts this one to bed as he skies for a massive slam, but the high-flying guard just catches too much rim.
Zags running away with this one though as coach Mark Few is likely nearing bench-clearing time.
Bulldogs locked up the regular-season title a few games ago, but finishing unbeaten in WCC play is quite the accomplishment for the nation’s top team.
Rui Hachimura matches Josh Perkins as 17 points, while Jordan Ford (15) is still the only SMC player in double figures.
5:49 – Gonzaga 62, Saint Mary’s 44: This one is starting to slip away from Saint Mary’s as the Gonzaga offense is kicking into high gear.
Brandon Clarke all of a sudden up to 15 points on 6 of 9 shooting. Add that to Josh Perkins’ 17 and Rui Hachimura’s 15 and it becomes a tough task to topple the Zags.
GU rides a 15-0 run to push the lead to nearly 20 before the media timeout finally gives the Gaels a break. Saint Mary’s is scoreless over the last 6:18.
Zags now just five-plus minutes from completing a perfect run through the West Coast Conference.
10:31 – Gonzaga 53, Saint Mary’s 44: After a speedy start to the half, both teams are settling into the game a little more as buckets are getting harder to come by.
Stats really balanced for both teams in terms of turnovers, rebounds and points in the paint.
Zags guards now getting it going as Josh Perkins gets to a game-high 17 points. Zach Norvell Jr. also with four quick points to get to six for the game.
15:55 – Gonzaga 46, Saint Mary’s 40: What a start for Brandon Clarke after sitting a good chunk of the opening half in foul trouble.
Zags go right to the big man to start the half, followed by a massive two-handed slam on a fast break to get to eight points.
Josh Perkins also with a great start to the half. He’s up to 15 points, matching Rui Hachimura for the team high.
Both offenses really clicking so far this half. Zags shooting now up to 60.6 percent.
Halftime – Gonzaga 36, Saint Mary’s 34: Quite the battle over the opening 20 minutes between these teams.
Saint Mary’s sitting right on the NCAA Tournament bubble, so they’ve got a lot to play for in the regular-season finale for both teams.
Rui Hachimura and Jordan Ford each with 13 points in the half. Hachimura also picked up his second foul near the end of the half.
Filip Petrusev hits a 10-footer at the buzzer to put GU back in front, but this has been one of the closer games the Zags have had in WCC play this season.
GU shooting 57.7 percent overall and 20 percent from deep, while Saint Mary’s is shooting 46.4 percent from the floor and 55.6 percent from 3-point range.
SMC outrebounding the Zags 14-12, while GU is outscoring the Gales in the paint 18-16.
2:48 – Gonzaga 28, Saint Mary’s 26: Jordan Ford and Rui Hachimura having a nice scoring battle at the moment. Hachimura with 11 for the Zags, while Ford is pacing the Gaels with 10 points.
Josh Perkins also getting in a scoring groove. The senior guard has nine points on 4 of 9 shooting.
Quiet night on offense so far for GU’s Zach Norvell Jr., but the high-scoring guard does have an impressive block on a Ford breakaway, along with a team-high three rebounds.
7:36 – Saint Mary’s 21, Gonzaga 19: Fouls starting to add up for Gonzaga. Reserve forward Filip Petrusev picked up two quick calls in three minutes, followed by a second on Brandon Clarke.
Nifty finish on a layup from Saint Mary’s Jordan Ford, who has seven points. GU’s Josh Perkins answers with a bucket of his own to get to four points.
Saint Mary’s also with foul concerns Malik Fitts, the team’s second leading scorer picks up his second and heads to the bench.
11:31 – Gonzaga 13, Saint Mary’s 10: Both teams getting it going a little more on offense as the Zags are shooting 45.5 percent from the floor and the Gaels at 36.4 percent.
Rui Hachimura leading the Zags with five points, while SMC’s Matthias Tass also has five.
GU has forced Saint Mary’s into four turnovers. SMC outrebounding Gonzaga 7-6.
15:52 – Gonzaga 7, Saint Mary’s 2: Offenses taking a little while to get going tonight in Moraga, California.
Zags miss their first two shots, while the Gaels miss their first four.
Strong defensive play a big part of the equation for the Zags as Brandon Clarke gets his first block of the game on the opening possession.
Just to make the start of things even more odd, the first 3-pointer of the night for the Bulldogs comes via Rui Hachimura. Both teams are a combined 3-12 from the floor so far.
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