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No. 12 Gonzaga stifles No. 11 Saint Mary’s in Moraga

Gonzaga needed a win to stay in the race for the WCC. They’re back in it, and looking as good as ever.

NCAA Basketball: Gonzaga at St. Mary's D. Ross Cameron-USA TODAY Sports

No. 12 Gonzaga Bulldogs 78 - No. 11 Saint Mary’s Gaels 65

Saint Mary’s came to Spokane last month and knocked off the Zags. Since then the Gaels had extended their winning streak to 19 games, the nation’s longest. But it snapped tonight.

A sluggish performance from the start doomed Saint Mary’s, which falls to 24-3 (13-1 WCC). Gonzaga improved to 23-4 (13-1). The win keeps Gonzaga in the race for the WCC regular season title, a trophy they’ve taken home in all but one year under Mark Few.

Gonzaga came to play

The Zags’ first three possessions ended with threes from Josh Perkins, Silas Melson and Zach Norvell Jr. Their next bucket was a Johnathan Williams alley-oop.

It was 11 to 4 three-and-a-half minutes into the game. Gonzaga never looked back.

Coming out of the break the story was much the same. Silas Melson stole the ball and scored a transition layup on the first possession of the second half. On the second, Emmett Naar turned the ball over on a travel.

The Zags punched the Gaels in the mouth early, and repeatedly. They led by as many as 22 points in what was essentially a rout of a top-15 team.

Jock Landale’s night to forget

The all-America senior center entered the game as the clear frontrunner for WCC player of the year averaging 23 points per game.

His first points in this one came with 8:33 to play in the first. Uncharacteristically, they came in transition. His next points came with 4:20 to play... in the game. Landale finished with 4 points. It’s just the second time this season he’s been held below double-figures in scoring. It’s his worst scoring output since March 8, 2016, against Gonzaga in the WCC Tournament.

Rui shines on the big stage, again

Back in November against Texas Rui Hachimura set a career high with 20 points, in a game televised on ESPN.

Last month at home against Saint Mary’s he set a new career high with 23 points. That game was also televised on ESPN.

Tonight, on ESPN2 in the first top-15 matchup in WCC history, he went for 21. Hachimura’s averaging 11.4 points per game this season. When playing on ESPN or ESPN2, though, he’s scoring 12.6 per game.