Saint Mary’s interrupts Zags’ run of WCC supremacy

Mar 12, 2024, 11:51 PM ET

LAS VEGAS– Gonzaga’s stranglehold on the West Coast Conference tournament had actually been especially frustrating for Saint Mary’s, with the Gaels frequently seeing their bane commemorate at their expense.Not Tuesday night.No.

21 Saint Mary’s led the WCC national championship almost the entire way to beat No. 17 Gonzaga 69-60 behind Aidan Mahaney’s 23 points and Mitchell Saxen’s 19 points and 15 rebounds.Gonzaga(25-7) had won 4 WCC championships in a row and 10

of 11, with Saint Mary’s in 2019 the one year the Bulldogs didn’t claim the trophy.The Gaels (26-7 )earned the conference’s automated bid for the NCAA competition, but both sides were particular to make the 68-team field even before tipoff.Editor’s Picks 2 Related”We beat a great team, a program we have actually got a ton of regard for, “Saint Mary’s coach

Randy Bennett stated.”They have actually assisted us end up being the program that we are since we were brightening there for a very long time and attempting to do what they were doing and be as great as they were.” The sharp-shooting Mahaney was a major reason the Gaels dominated. He made 9 of 15 shots, consisting of 5 of 7 from 3-point variety. And Saxen produced a double-double in spite of fighting foul trouble.Saxen stated he kept his aggressiveness by “playing to the emotions of the game. “”It’s difficult to tone it down in the championship game like that,”he explained.”Got in nasty trouble. I should’ve been wise early and stayed down on my feet on a number of

plays.”WCC player of the year Augustas Marciulionis scored 13 points for St. Mary’s and was named the competition’s most outstanding player.Anton Watson led the Zags with 18 points. Ryan Nembhard finished with 13 points and 11 helps for Gonzaga, and Graham Ike had 10 points despite the fact that he played only 20 minutes because of nasty trouble.Matchup Meetings Period Gonzaga-Saint Mary’s 14 2004-2024 Duke-North Carolina 14 1940-2011 Duke-NC State 11 1929-2003 * Division I history– ESPN Statistics & Details” We’ve got a lot to deal with on this loss,”Watson stated.”We’re anticipating the tournament and attempting to make some

sound there. We can’t hang our heads on this. “The contest was close throughout– Saint Mary ‘s largest lead was 11 points — but the Gaels handled to stay in front nearly the whole way. Gonzaga used an eight-point go to lastly take

the lead with 7:41 left, however that advantage lasted only 22

seconds and was responded to with a seven-point spurt from the Gaels.Both teams can be found in surging. Saint Mary’s now has actually won 23 of 25 games, and the Gaels ended Gonzaga’s nine-game winning streak while holding the Bulldogs to a season-low 60 points. All this after the Gaels began the season 3-5. “It wasn’t just one moment,”Mahaney said of Saint Mary’s turn-around.” We simply kept chipping and breaking and breaking and breaking until ultimately we broke through. It’s challenging. It’s a credit to everybody just thinking.

“The Gaels also, a minimum of briefly, ended the Bulldogs ‘dominance of this series. Gonzaga had won 26 of the previous 32 conferences and had actually been the Gaels’bane in WCC national championship by winning 3 of the previous four against Saint Mary’s. The Associated Press added to this report.

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