Gonzaga thumps Saint Mary’s in WCC ultimate, prepares for NCAA seeding
Gonzaga accomplished its yearly pilgrimage to Las Vegas to select up the West Coast Convention match title with a 77-51 blowout victory over Saint Mary’s on Tuesday evening at Orleans Area.
The Bulldogs have change into accustomed to profitable the occasion — they improved to 20-6 in WCC championship video games over 26 straight appearances within the finals — however now they may tread into some unfamiliar waters.
No participant on the present roster has entered the NCAA Match with Gonzaga (28-5) as something however a No. 1 seed carrying large expectations. Nevertheless, the ninth-ranked Bulldogs are projected to be both a No. 2 or 3 seed when the bracket is unveiled Sunday, which might break a run of three straight tournaments as a prime seed, a streak that will have virtually assuredly been 4 had a match been contested in 2020.
“I find it irresistible,” coach Mark Few mentioned of the potential of not being listed on the highest line come choice Sunday for the primary time since 2018.
His star participant, Drew Timme, is able to embrace the problem.
“It’s like somewhat lighter fluid on the hearth,” he mentioned. “However we’re nonetheless Gonzaga. We’ve nonetheless received a goal on our backs, and it’s by no means straightforward to win it doesn’t matter what seed you’re as a result of each staff in that match deserves to be there.”
Timme mentioned how the Bulldogs carried out as a No. 2 seed in their very own convention match by advantage of shedding a tiebreaker to No. 16 Saint Mary’s (26-7) confirmed it is a staff that embraces such moments.
“It’s good to be an underdog,” Timme mentioned, although the Bulldogs have been a slight betting favourite Tuesday. “We have been the two seed in the present day. We’ve by no means been that earlier than, the place we needed to put on the blue jerseys. We didn’t know what that seems like on this match.”
He actually performed like he had a chip on his shoulder. Timme hit 8 of 10 photographs from the sphere on his technique to 18 factors and 6 rebounds in simply 20 minutes to earn match MVP honors.
Timme, who does have one other yr of eligibility however just isn’t anticipated to make use of it, grew to become the college’s all-time main scorer within the first half with a brief jumper off the glass. His 2,210 factors surpass the two,196 scored by Frank Burgess from 1958-61.
The Bulldogs shot 58 % from the sphere and went 8-for-14 on 3-pointers, however it was the defensive finish the place they actually locked down the victory. Gonzaga restricted the Gaels to twenty-eight % capturing within the first half and 33.3 % for the sport, together with 25 % on 3s.
Las Vegas native Julian Strawther had eight factors throughout a 14-4 run over 4 minutes early within the sport that put the Bulldogs up double digits for good. The lead was 18 factors on the half, and the sport by no means received nearer, with the margin rising to 37 with simply lower than 4 minutes remaining.
It’s the form of effort Few has been on the lookout for from a staff that misplaced three video games in nonconference play and dropped an early WCC house sport to Loyola Marymount. This system had misplaced solely eight non-NCAA Match video games within the final 4 seasons mixed.
“I took profitable without any consideration,” Timme admitted. “I received a lot in my profession that it was a shock to me to not win. Our losses early within the yr made me recognize the little issues it takes to win evening in and evening out.
“I feel generally we simply assumed we’d win each evening as a result of we’re Gonzaga. It was a grind this season, and I feel that’s what made us recognize the journey and embrace the small print. You’ll be able to’t simply get up and say we’re going to be a troublesome staff. It’s important to get via the grime and the mud.”
Few, who has been to 2 NCAA championship video games since 2017, hopes that willpower is what helps this system lastly win its first nationwide title.
“It took awhile for us to determine this season,” he mentioned. “But when we maintain enjoying protection like that and working our offense as crisply as we did towards the most effective defenses within the nation, towards a staff I feel will go far within the NCAA Match, it bodes actually, very well for us within the match.”
Gonzaga has received 9 straight and 12 of its final 13 video games, with the lone loss coming in time beyond regulation at Saint Mary’s on Feb. 1. ESPN’s Bracketology had the Bulldogs as a No. 3 seed and the Gaels as a 6 earlier than Tuesday’s sport.
“We’ve got a job to do, and (gamers) one via 10, we didn’t try this,” mentioned guard Logan Johnson, who scored a game-high 20 factors for Saint Mary’s. “All we will do is bounce again and hopefully after we get that subsequent alternative, we will present what we’re able to.”
Contact Adam Hill at [email protected] Observe @AdamHillLVRJ on Twitter.