St. Mary’s Gaels (15-1 SU, 8-4-1 ATS, 5-8 O/U) at Gonzaga Bulldogs (16-0 SU, 11-2 ATS, 7-6 O/U)
When and Where: Saturday, Jan. 14, McCarthey Athletic Center, Spokane, Wash., 10pmET
Line: Gonzaga -7.5
No. 21 St. Mary’s takes on No. 5 Gonzaga in one of the best rivalries in mid-major basketball. Though these squads play like high-major schools. St. Mary’s has won nine straight, including taking down Portland on the road, 74-33 on Thursday. Gonzaga is 16-0 after beating Loyola Marymount, 93-55 at home on Thursday. Last season, St. Mary’s took both regular season games, but Gonzaga got their revenge in the WCC Tournament, 85-75.
Gaels clamp down on Portland
St. Mary’s held Portland to just 25 percent shooting from the field and just 2-9 from 3-point range. Calvin Hermanson led the way for the Gaels with a career-high 27 points on 10-of-16 shooting. Jock Landale added eight points, 10 rebounds and three blocks for the Gaels. The Gaels shot 50 percent from the field and made 12-of-30 from beyond the arc. They also outrebounded the Pilots by 31. St. Mary’s held Alex Wintering, the West Coast Conference leading scorer, to just four points on 1-of-9 shooting.
The Gaels are led by Landale, who averages 17.8 points per game, 9.7 rebounds, 1.2 blocks and shoots 64.2 percent from the floor. St. Mary’s averages 74.1 points per game and shoots 50.1 percent from the field (39.6% 3pt). They allow 56.6 points per game to rank second in the nation, 40.6 percent from the field and 30.3 percent from beyond the arc. They rank fifth in the nation in rebounding margin at +11.4.
Can anybody slow down the Zags?
This might be Mark Few’s best team at Gonzaga. In their last eight games, they’ve beaten times by double digits since “edging” Arizona, 69-62 on Dec. 3. In their win over Loyola Marymount on Thursday, they held the Lions to just 34.5 percent from the field. The Zags shot 53 percent from the field and 10-18 from beyond the arc. The only thing they didn’t do well was shoot foul shots (13-21). Center Przemek Karnowski (7-1, 300) led six players in double figures with 17 points on 7-of-10 shooting. The big man is averaging 12.8 points and 5.9 rebounds with 2.2 assists per game.
Gonzaga guard Nigel Williams-Goss runs the show, averaging a team-leading 15 points per game, 4.8 assists, 5.9 rebounds and 1.7 steals per contest. The Bulldogs average 86 points per game (15th), shoot 50.2 percent from the field (12th) and 39.8 percent from beyond the arc (24th). They allow just 64.4 points per game (33rd), 37.7 percent from the field (6th) and 28.5 percent from beyond the arc (5th).
College Basketball Trends:
St. Mary’s is:
- 4-1 ATS last 5 road games.
- 10-2-1 ATS last 12 after a SU win of more than 20 points.
The road team is 4-0 ATS last 4 in this series. St. Mary’s knows how to get to defend the Bulldogs. At 6-11, 255 Landale offers a big guy who can neutralize Karnowski and dominate the boards. This should be a rare close game for the Zags and don’t be shocked if St. Mary’s wins it.
Pick: St. Mary’s +7.5
These teams know each other well. It’s tough to really fool either coach, Few or Randy Bennett. In the last 10 games between those two strong opponents, nine have gone under. In the last 17 meetings from Gonzaga, 14 have gone under. Expect a real tight, defensive battle from Spokane.