Recap and highlights: Gonzaga crushes Saint Mary’s to win WCC tournament championship 77-51
March 7, 2023 Updated Tue., March 7, 2023 at 9:55 p.m.
Gonzaga Bulldogs forward Drew Timme (2) celebrates with teammates after the Gonzaga Bulldogs defeated the St. Mary's Gaels during the second half of a WCC tournament championship basketball game on Tuesday, March 7, 2023, at the Orleans Arena in Las Vegas, Nev. Gonzaga won the game 77-51. (Tyler Tjomsland/The Spokesman-Review)Buy a print of this photo
Gonzaga proved it was the rightful West Coast Conference champion, crushing Saint Mary’s 77-51 in the tournament final Tuesday night at the Orleans Arena in Las Vegas.
The second-ranked Bulldogs (28-5) were led by senior Drew Timme, who finished the night with 18 points and not one, but two crowns.
Timme scored a jump hook early in the first half to pass Frank Burgess (1958-61, 2,196 points) for first on the Zags’ all-time scoring list. Timme finished the game with 2,210 points and the upcoming NCAA Tournament to add to his total.
The Bulldogs were on a different level than the Gaels (26-7), much different than two teams’ first meetings that came down to the wire.
Gonzaga took a double-digit lead within 8 minutes and extended it to 20 points on the first shot of the second half.
The Zags shot 58% from the field, while the Gaels shot 33%.
The win is Gonzaga’s fourth consecutive WCC tournament title and 10th in the last 11 seasons.
Gonzaga’s NET ranking will be on the rise with another Quad 1 win under the belt – especially in the dominating fashion. GU entered the night No. 9 in the NCAA rankings and likely secured at least a three-seed for the upcoming NCAA Tournament.
The selection show is Sunday at 3 p.m. on CBS.
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17:49 – GU 0, SMC 0: We’re underway in Las Vegas, and on Timme watch, as the senior is five points away from breaking the Zags’ scoring record.
That would of course require someone to score. Five missed shots and three turnovers between the two teams early on.
14:42 – GU 7, SMC 4: Zags make their last three shots into the first media timeout. Hickman opens the scoring with a 3-pointer. Johnson has all four for SMC.
Timme makes a shot to pull within three points of setting the record.
11:55 – GU 17, SMC 6: Strawther is called for a shooting foul at the U12 media timeout, but the Zags build an early double-digit lead and are on a 12-2 run, making their last seven attempts from the field.
Timme tied Burgess’ record and then checked out of the game. Strawther leads with six points.
10:17 – GU 21, SMC 12: Drew Timme becomes Gonzaga’s new career scoring leader. Frank Burgess’ record of 2,196 points (1958-61) stood for more than 60 years, but Timme breaks it on a short hook shot.
7:30 – GU 26, SMC 12: Zags on a seven-point run at the U8 media timeout.
Gaels haven’t scored in 3 minutes. Strawther leads with eight points.
2:41 – GU 31, SMC 19: Zags maintain their lead at the U4 media timeout. The Bulldogs are shooting 57% from the field, while the Gaels are shooting 32%.
Timme leads with 10 points. Watson added three and seven rebounds.
Gonzaga dominated the first half of the WCC championship game, quickly building a double-digit lead over Saint Mary’s and expanding it to 37-19 at halftime.
The Bulldogs were led by Drew Timme, who scored 14 points and became the leading scorer in program history midway through the half.
Julian Strawther adds eight points for the Zags, which are shooting 54% from the field, nearly twice that of Saint Mary’s (28%).
14:37 – GU 48, SMC 24: The rout is on, as Saint Mary’s still isn’t playing with life in the second half. Gaels open 2 of 10 from the field out of halftime, as the Zags continue to build on their lead at the U16 media timeout.
10:54 – GU 53, SMC 29: Zags in full control now. Timme (18 points) still the lone GU scorer in double figures, though seven Zags players have scored.
6:19 – GU 65, SMC 34: Hickman sinks his fourth 3-pointer at the U8 media timeout. Zags on pace to hold the Gaels to the lowest scoring output of any team this season. Previous low is North Florida at 63 points.
Potential to be the most-lopsided WCC tournament championship game since GU beat the Gaels 83-58 in 2009.
3:32 – GU 72, SMC 37: Four Zags reach double figures at the final media timeout, as reserves get ready to enter the game. Timme scored 18 points in 20 minutes, Smith added 14, Hickman 12 and Strawther 10.
Nothing separated Gonzaga and Saint Mary’s through two months of West Coast Conference play.
It’s time to find the rightful champion.
The top-seeded Gaels (26-6) and second-seeded Bulldogs (27-5) clash tonight in the Orleans Arena in Las Vegas. The winner will take home the tournament title, after the two teams shared the regular-season championship.
Tipoff is set for 6 p.m. with the broadcast on ESPN.
Gonzaga beat San Francisco 79-64 in Monday’s late-night semifinal game, while Saint Mary’s held off Brigham Young 76-69.
The two teams split the regular-season series, with SMC winning at home in overtime, and GU edging the Gales in the Kennel. Saint Mary’s earned the tournament’s No. 1 seed via a NET ranking tiebreaker.
Gonzaga has won nine of the last 10 WCC tournaments, with Saint Mary’s winning in 2019.
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