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Gonzaga Basketball

Recap and highlights: No. 23 Gonzaga makes statement with 70-57 win over No. 17 Saint Mary’s

From staff reports

Gonzaga’s legitimacy as a NCAA Tournament team has been under scrutiny the past few months.

Consider that a thing of the past.

The No. 23 Bulldogs started strong and never let up during a 70-57 win over the No. 17 Saint Mary’s Gaels on Saturday at UCU Pavilion in Moraga, Calif.

The Bulldogs (24-6, 14-2) put an end to the Gaels’ (24-7, 15-1) bid at a West Coast Conference sweep. In the process, they earned their third Quad 1 win and should rise in the NCAA’s NET Rankings, all put assuring a spot in the NCAA Tournament.

How far they rise will be determined.

The Zags flashed their potential Saturday, leaning on a dominant two-man game between Ryan Nembhard and Graham Ike. 

Both earned double-doubles: Nembhard with 20 points and 10 assists and Ike with 24 points and 10 rebounds. Ike became the first GU player since Adam Morrison to scored over 20 points in seven consecutive games.

GU took over with a 12-0 run midway through the first half. Every time the Gaels threatened to come back, the Zags had an answer.

• A 6-0 SMC run in the first half: Four-straight points from Ike. 

• A 10-0 SMC run to start the second half: Seven-straight points from Nolan Hickman and Ben Gregg.

• A 5-0 SMC run midway through the second: Five-straight from Nembhard and a layup from Ike. 

• Another 6-0 SMC run late: Four more points from Ike.

Gonzaga will turn to the WCC Tournament in Las Vegas and will open with the semifinal on March 11, followed by a potential rematch with the top-seeded Gaels on March 12.


First half

18:51 – SMC 3, GU 0: Couple of empty possessions and the Gaels push the pace for a Ducas 3-pointer to open the scoring.

15:13 – SMC 6, GU 5: Tight possessions on either end, as Ike is called for a foul on Saxen at the first media timeout. Ike briefly gave GU the lead after a nice pass from Nembhard in the lane.

Gonzaga is 2 of 8 from the field, while Saint Mary’s is 2 of 5.

10:27 – GU 17, SMC 12: Big stretch for the Zags, on a 7-0 run at the U12 media timeout.

Nembhard hit a transition 3-pointer to add to Ike’s scoring. Gonzaga forward up to eight points.

Marciulionis picked up his second foul for the Gaels, which have missed their last four attempts from the field.

9:25 – GU 24, SMC 12: Stromer hits a wide open 3-pointer in the corner and SMC calls a timeout with Gonzaga on a 14-0 run. Impressive stretch for GU, which has capitalized on five turnovers.

5:08 – GU 36, SMC 19: Gregg hits a 3-pointer and SMC calls another timeout.

Impressive performance from the Bulldogs so far, who are shooting 61% from the field and 4 of 6 on 3-pointers. GU has also forced seven turnovers and scored nine points off those.

Nembhard has been excellent with 11 points and four assists.

3:43 – GU 38, SMC 23: Gaels get a couple buckets to stop the run, but Zags still have made 11 of their last 12 attempts from the floor at the U4 media timeout. SMC needs to close the half strong here.


Gonzaga made a statement with 44-28 lead over Saint Mary’s at halftime. There’s still 20 minutes to go.

The Gaels will need to find a way to slow the Zags offense to get back in this one. Gonzaga is shooting 64% from the field and 4 of 6 on 3-pointers, leaning on the two-man game between Ryan Nembhard and Graham Ike. 

Nembhard has 13 points and six assists with no turnovers, while Ike has 14 points. Combined the two are 12 of 15 from the field.

SMC’s star backcourt of Augustaas Marciulionis and Aiden Mahaney combined for a lackluster six points. The Gaels also struggled with seven turnovers.

Second half

17:59 – GU 46, SMC 35: Gaels go on a 7-0 run after Ike opens the half with a layup. GU calls a timeout.

Zags miss their last three attempts from the floor.

15:18 – GU 52, SMC 38: Nembhard is called for a foul at the U16 media timeout.

Gaels cut GU’s lead to eight, but the Zags answered back with their own 6-0 run, thanks to a couple of turnovers. Hickman leads with four points in the second half, after going scoreless in the first.

9:41 – GU 60, SMC 46: Ike is called for a foul at the U12 media timeout, right after Nembhard hits a 3-pointer to extend the Zags lead.

Nembhard up to 16 points with nine assists. Ike has 18 points. Gregg joins them in double figures with 12.

Mahaney and Saxen lead SMC with 11 apiece.

7:06 – GU 64, SMC 46: Nembhard dishes to Ike as the Zags are on a 7-0 run at the U8 media timeout. Nembhard secures a double-double with 18 points and 10 assists.

Ike reaches 20 points again, he’s the first GU player since Adam Morrison to score 20+ in seven straight games.

3:34 – GU 66, SMC 52: Ike gets a couple of offensive rebounds and muscles in a basket. He’s called for his third foul at the U4 media timeout. 

2:14 – GU 68, SMC 52: Ike called for his fourth foul, but looking like the Zags are going to win this one. Would be a great win ahead of the WCC Tournament for GU.

Programing: Tipoff has been delayed and broadcast will begin on ESPNEWS. Will switch back to ESPN after end of Tennessee-Alabama.

Starting 5: GU going with Nembhard (12.6 ppg), Hickman (14.3), Ike (16.7), Watson (14.6) and Gregg (8.5). SMC with Marciulionis (12.5), Mahaney (13.6), Ducas (9.9), Forbes (4.6) and Saxen (11.5)


Gonzaga returned to the Associated Pres Top 25 on Monday. It didn’t need to wait long for its first ranked-on-ranked matchup.

The No. 23 Zags close their regular season at the No. 17 Saint Mary’s Gaels tonight. Tipoff is set for 7 p.m. on ESPN.

The Bulldogs (23-6, 13-2 West Coast) stormed past San Francisco in the second half on Thursday to extend their win streak to seven games. That’s second to the Gaels (24-6, 15-0) in the WCC, who already locked up the regular-season title and the first overall seed.

It’s likely the two teams will meet again in the conference tournament championship game, with tonight’s meeting serving as a measuring stick.

SMC has won 16 consecutive games – the longest win streak in the country – including a 64-62 win at GU on Feb. 3. 

Team stats

Individual leaders

Game preview

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