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Sports >  Gonzaga basketball

Recap and highlights: Aidan Mahaney takes over in final minutes to lead Saint Mary’s over Gonzaga 78-70 in OT thriller

Feb. 4, 2023 Updated Sat., Feb. 4, 2023 at 11 p.m.

From staff reports

MORAGA, Calif. – Saint Mary’s got the game it wanted. Gonzaga thought it had result.

Saint Mary’s guard Aidan Mahaney engineered a second-half comeback, making five straight layups and finding a key assist at the end of regulation, to lead the Gaels in a 78-70 overtime win over the Bulldogs on Saturday in front of a capacity crowd at the UCU Pavilion.

The 18th-ranked Gaels (20-4, 10-0 West Coast) made their first four shots in overtime to pull away from the win. It is their second straight home win over the Zags.

Mahaney led with 18 points, while Mitchell Saxen, who scored the tying basket to force overtime, added 15 points and 11 rebounds.

The 12th-ranked Bulldogs (19-4, 8-2) led for over 36 minutes before Mahaney’s scoring spurt.

Drew Timme led with 23 points and passed Jim McPhee for second on the GU all-time scoring list.

The loss dropped Gonzaga to two games behind Saint Mary’s in the WCC standings. They also lost starting guard Nolan Hickman, who appeared to roll his ankle on a layup attempt in overtime.

The two team will meet again for the conference finale on Feb. 25 in Spokane.


First half

18:24 – GU 3, SMC 2: Strawther converts a 3-point play to give the Zags and early lead.

15:30 – GU 8, SMC 4: Timme is fouled at the first media timeout. Hickman made a step-back 3-pointer to grow the Zags lead.

11:56 – GU 19, SMC 8: Zags couldn’t ask for a better start, as Gregg makes a 3-pointer to extend their lead to 11.

Bulldogs open 7 of 10 from the field and go 2-for-2 on 3-pointers. Timme leads with six points. He is two away from tying Jim McPhee for second on the GU all-time scoring list.

6:27 – GU 27, SMC 18: Quality play at both ends of the floor, highlighted by a huge block from Sallis that turns into a breakaway dunk on the other end.

Zags are shooting 61% from the floor, as the Gaels try to keep up. Eight different scorers for GU, which is effectively driving inside for pull-up jump shots and floaters.

2:24 – GU 30, SMC 22: Gaels’ staying in it at the U4 media timeout despite Johnson’s shooting woes, just 1 of 8 from the field.

Gonzaga led by Timme’s eight points.


Gonzaga turned up its defense, holding its opponent to 24 halftime points for a second-straight game.

The Bulldogs lead host Saint Mary’s 32-24 at the half. The Gaels shot just 34% from the field and made 2 of 13 3-point attempts. 

Gonzaga’s Drew Timme leads eight Zags scorers with eight points. The Bulldogs started the game 7 of 10 from the field, but declined toward the end of the half, making 1 of their last 7.

Second half

15:15 – GU 38, SMC 30: Zags keeping their distance, as Timme is up to 14 points and has passed Jim McPhee for second on the GU all-time scoring list.

12:01 – GU 42, SMC 35: Gaels cut the Zags lead to three points, but miss a layup on a steal and GU builds it back to seven. SMC is in the bonus.

7:30 – GU 49, SMC 41: Gonzaga maintains its lead over Saint Mary’s. The Bulldogs have led since the 17:57 mark in the first half. 

5:33 – GU 51, SMC 49: Johnson makes a 3-pointer and Gonzaga calls a timeout. Johnson now 4 of 14 in the game, but makes up for it with that shot. 

3:22 – GU 57, SMC 57: Mahaney takes over, making driving layups on four straight possessions to tie the game. He’s up to 13 points. Gonzaga calls a timeout.

1:13 – GU 59, SMC 59: Timme called for an offensive foul, his fourth and the Gaels have a chance to take the lead.

0:19 – GU 61, SMC 59: Strawther makes a runner to give the Zags the lead.

0:00 – GU 61, SMC 61: Mahaney threads the needle inside to Saxen who ties the score. Strawther’s final heave misses the mark. We’re headed to overtime.


2:32 – SMC 70, GU 64: Mahaney makes a 3-pointer, then plays a perfect pass to Saxen for a layup. Gonzaga calls for a timeout. Mahaney has 18 points.


Usually when these teams meet, Gonzaga is the one boasting an unblemished conference record.

Saint Mary’s, unbeaten in West Coast Conference play and riding an 11-game win streak, welcomes Gonzaga to the McKeon Pavilion in Moraga, California tonight at 7:30 p.m. The game will be broadcast on ESPN.

The Bulldogs (19-4, 8-1 WCC) have strung together three wins since losing to Loyola Marymount on Jan. 19. They coasted off an impressive first half in a 88-70 win over Santa Clara on Thursday.

The Gaels (20-4, 9-0) last slipped up in a close game to Colorado State on Dec. 18, but haven’t lost since. They’ve won their conference games by an average margin of 17.8 points, with two wins coming by three or less points.

SMC beat San Francisco on Thursday 68-59, pulling away in the final minutes. On Jan. 28 it stunned Brigham Young, when Aidan Mahaney scored a go-ahead turnaround jumper with 0.3 seconds left.

Saint Mary’s is a 3½-point favorite according to VegasInsider.

Team stats

  Saint Mary’s (20-4, 9-0) Gonzaga (19-4, 8-1)
Points 71.3 86.4
Points allowed 57.2 73.2
Field goal pct. 46.1 52.1
Rebounds 36.7 37.3
Assists 12.7 16.6
Blocks 3.6 3.1
Steals 7.5 7.9
Streak Won 11 Won 3

Individual leaders

Aidan Mahaney (SMC) 14.8 45.9 74.4
Drew Timme (GU) 21.1 60.4 59.1
Mitchell Saxen (SMC) 8.3 5.0 3.3
Drew Timme (GU) 7.7 5.3 2.3
Logan Johnson (SMC) 3.8 1.8 33.9
Nolan Hickman (GU) 3.5 1.7 28.4

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