MORAGA, Calif. – Saint Mary’s, who did not lead at all over the final 37 minutes of regular, needed someone to step up. Freshman Aidan Mahaney didn’t just show up for the 18th-ranked Gaels, he showed up for the entire country.
He scored or assisted on 19 of 21 points during the final five minutes of regulation and beginning of overtime to help Saint Mary’s take control of the contest against No. 12 Gonzaga. The Gaels pulled away in the extra period and won 78-70.
Mahaney scored 16 of his team-high 18 points over the final 6:25 of regulation and overtime after he started 1-for-10. He hit the shots to tie the game at 57 and 59 before setting up Mitchell Saxen for the layup that forced OT with five seconds left to even the game at 61.
Midway through the extra period, he torched the net with a 3-pointer to give the Gaels a four-point lead and then assisted on Saxen’s basket that made it a six-point game.
Aidan Mahaney is COOKIN’ pic.twitter.com/LdVclAoGST— The Field of 68 (@TheFieldOf68) February 5, 2023
“He just has it,” SMC coach Randy Bennett said, according to The AP. “A lot of guys would fold and just kind of hang their head and just kind of finish the game like that. That’s where he’s kind of special. He’s got great belief and he really, really competes to win. That’s where he’s special.”
As University Credit Union Pavilion was rocking with Mahaney’s heroics, Twitter went ablaze as well.
AIDAN MAHANEY BANKED IN ONIONS DOUBLE ORDER SAUTEED WITH A JORDAN SHRUG THEN A DIME— Jack Benjamin (@JackBenjaminPxP) February 5, 2023
SAINT MARY’S LEADS GONZAGA BY 6 IN OVERTIME
MADNESS IN MORAGA
“Aidan Mahaney is that dude” - @SeanFarnham.
Saint Mary's now has a two-game lead over Gonzaga in the WCC. Gaels have not won an outright league title since the 2011-12 season. And Aidan Mahaney? On track to join Patty Mills, Matthew Dellavedova, and the great guards to ever play in Moraga.— Jon Rothstein (@JonRothstein) February 5, 2023
Aidan Mahaney is on his way to an incredible college career, of this I'm sure.— Matt Norlander (@MattNorlander) February 5, 2023
Aidan Mahaney. Proper baller.— Jeff Borzello (@jeffborzello) February 5, 2023
Mahaney has 16 of his 18 points after halftime.— Seth Davis (@SethDavisHoops) February 5, 2023
The Aidan Mahaney Game
AIDAN MAHANEY IS SO GOOD— Mid-Major Madness (@mid_madness) February 5, 2023
AIDAN MAHANEY IS PLAYING LIKE AN ALL-AMERICAN— Sam Federman (@Sam_Federman) February 5, 2023
You are now speaking to the No. 1 Aidan Mahaney appreciator— Eamonn Brennan (@eamonnbrennan) February 5, 2023
Aidan Mahaney is him— Ray Belkora (@raybelkora) February 5, 2023
Aidan Mahaney has me wanting to put Saint Mary’s in the Elite 8. pic.twitter.com/mZunrsMO1U— TJ Eckert (@TJEckertKTUL) February 5, 2023
Aidan Mahaney— Nicole Auerbach (@NicoleAuerbach) February 5, 2023
Aidan Mahaney is the hero hero ball has been waiting for.— John Gasaway (@JohnGasaway) February 5, 2023
Aidan Mahaney is making his best case for WCC POY right now. Just an absolutely sick performance in the second half for Saint Mary’s.— Sam Vecenie (@Sam_Vecenie) February 5, 2023
TIED GAME!!!!! DOWN TO THE WIRE IN MORAGA!— Ian Sacks (@ianrsacks) February 5, 2023
In related news, Aidan Mahaney is good at basketball!
Aidan Mahaney is a goddamn monster for St Marys. Dude just took over to beat Gonzaga. That was awesome— Eric Hubbs (@BarstoolHubbs) February 5, 2023
Aidan Mahaney is awesome. Just clear out and let him go the rest of the way— Bobby Reagan (@BarstoolReags) February 5, 2023
Mahaney leads the Gaels at 15.0 points per game this season. He has scored in double figures in all but four games. He has eclipsed 20 points six times, including dropping 25 in his debut against Oral Roberts.
At 10-0 in the WCC, Saint Mary’s has now opened up a two-game lead over Gonzaga. The Gaels are eyeing their first outright regular season title since 2012.
This game was the 10th time in the series the two programs met while both being ranked. The Gaels picked up their second win in these games.