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Sunday Recap: Gonzaga holds off Cyclones, Saint Mary’s rolls, Dayton outlasts UNM and more

NCAA Basketball: Iowa State at Gonzaga Jonathan Dyer-USA TODAY Sports

In a game that had a March Madness feel to it, Gonzaga proved that it’s a team to be reckoned with. The Bulldogs picked up their best win of the year by defeating No. 21 Iowa State, 73-71, and took the Advocare Invitational title back to Spokane.

A full recap of the Bulldogs’ win can be found here.

When the polls come out tomorrow morning, don’t be surprised to see Gonzaga in the top-10. The Bulldogs had one of the best weeks in the country, picking up three wins, including a victory over Florida.

Gonzaga is off to another hot start with a 6-0 record, of which three wins have come over top-50 teams in the Kenpom rankings.

The Bulldogs get a cupcake against winless Mississippi Valley State before traveling to Los Angeles to face Arizona at the Staples Center. That game is the biggest on their non-conference schedule, and a neutral site win over a ranked team would be huge when the committee is seeding them in March.

Saint Mary’s cruises to 5-0 start

For as good as Gonzaga has been this year, the Bulldogs might not even be the best team in their conference. Saint Mary’s picked up its 5th win of the year by defeating a solid UAB team, 76-63.

Jock Landale led the Gael’s with 20 points, while Calvin Hermanson, Emmett Naar, and Stefan Gonzalez each chipped in with 12. Saint Mary’s continued to be a model of offensive efficiency by shooting 52% (27-52) from the floor, and 50% (13-26) from behind the arc. The ball movement was on display all night, as the Gaels assisted on 20 of their 27 made shots.

Saint Mary’s is now up to No.4 in the Kenpom offensive efficiency rankings, and cracks the top-10 in effective field goal percentage and turnover percentage metrics. If you haven’t had a chance to watch them, make it a point to do so because their offense is a work of art.

Dayton surges late to defeat New Mexico

Charles Cooke led the charge in the final minute as Dayton picked up a much-needed win over New Mexico. His free throws with 45 seconds remaining put the Flyers ahead for good en route to a 64-57 victory.

Cooke left earlier in the game with what appeared to be a groin injury, but returned in the second half to finish with 12 points, six rebounds, and five assists. For a team that’s been ravished by injury this season, he was huge for Dayton to improve to 4-2.

New Mexico’s dynamic duo of Elijah Brown and Tim Williams each contributed 16 points for the Lobos, but fell short as New Mexico fell to 4-2.

Monmouth beats Holy Cross in final seconds

With 18 seconds remaining, Monmouth was trailing Holy Cross 77-72. One would think that it was all but over, right? Wrong.

The Hawks closed on a 8-0 run, capped off by Micah Seaborn’s 3-point play in the closing seconds.

Chris Brady led the way with 21 points, and the Hawks improved to 4-2 after picking up their third win of the week.

Also of Note:

  • Valparaiso improved to 6-1 with a 79-73 win over Ball State. The Crusaders will host Rhode Island on Tuesday in what should be one of the best Mid-major games of the non-conference slate. After that, the Crusaders get the pleasure of playing at Kentucky.
  • Arkansas State continued its hot start with a 97-89 win over Lehigh. The Red Wolves have now won six straight, and have been one of the biggest surprises in college basketball.
  • UNC Wilmington capped off a busy three days by throttling Toledo, 102-77. The Seahawks are 5-1, and have jumped to No. 68 in the Kenpom rankings.
  • San Jose State upset Washington State, 88-76. The win was their first over a Power-5 team since Dave Wojcik took over in 2014.
  • Hosting a tournament in your home gym is a sweet gig. Wright State did just that and picked up three wins in three days to move to 6-1. Two of these wins (North Dakota and CSU Bakersfield) came against teams in the KenPom top-155.
  • The jury is still out on a talented Missouri State team, but the Bears got a very solid home win against a North Dakota State team many think will be a factor in the Summit League.
  • Vermont isn’t the only America East that had a good week. New Hampshire used a game-ending 7-0 run to pick up a true road win at Winthrop. The Wildcats held Keon Johnson to just eight points after his 38-point outburst against Illinois. 6-4 rebounding whiz Jaleen Smith had 11 boards to push his season average to 8.8 per game