The top-ranked Gonzaga men’s basketball team beat No. 20 Saint Mary’s 74-64 to improve to 26-0. The Gaels fell to 22-3.
MORAGA, Calif. – Przemek Karnowski scored 19 points and top-ranked Gonzaga got past seemingly its toughest remaining obstacle to an undefeated regular season by beating No. 20 Saint Mary’s 74-64 on Saturday night.
“We’re not thinking about all that,” said Zags forward Johnathan Williams, who scored 17 points. “We’re thinking about getting better each and every week because if we keep getting better, nobody can stop us.”
Nigel Williams-Goss added 14 points to help Gonzaga (26-0 overall, 14-0 West Coast Conference) sweep the season series and win for the 11th time in the past 13 meetings against its fiercest WCC rival.
The trip to Saint Mary’s (22-3, 12-2) was viewed as the last true test for Gonzaga before the postseason begins. The Zags were listed as three-point favorites.
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Jock Landale scored 24 points despite foul trouble to lead the way for the Gaels, who couldn’t get enough perimeter help for their big man.
Saint Mary’s, which entered the game on a seven-game winning streak, made a mere 4 of 15 three-point attempts.
The scene at overflowing McKeon Pavilion was electric for the first visit by a No. 1 team since Bill Russell and San Francisco came to Moraga in 1955. ESPN’s “GameDay” show was on hand and fans packed the aisles for the standing-room only crowd.
“There was a lot of hype about this game,” Karnowski said. “We knew we had to come here and play aggressive.”
It was a first half of runs, with the teams trading 9-0 spurts early before Gonzaga broke things open with a 17-2 stretch late in the half. The Gaels got the final six points from Landale to cut the deficit to 40-31 at the break.
But Saint Mary’s never got closer than five points in the second half as Gonzaga answered every charge.
The Zags should be heavy favorites the rest of the regular season, with home games against San Francisco, Pacific and Brigham Young and a trip to San Diego left.