News agency4 minutes to read
LAS VEGAS – Gonzaga players have heard the criticism that this wasn’t the same Bulldogs team that has been among the nation’s elite in recent years, and have struggled themselves to live up to the program’s massive expectations.
“There were many days when I didn’t feel fun to be around,” said Gonzaga coach Mark Feu.
The Bulldogs continued to work on it, and on Tuesday Night No. 9 Gonzaga sent a message to the rest of the country with a dominant from the start with a 77-51 victory over No. 16 St. Marys in the West Coast Conference Championship game.
The Zags (28-5) continued their domination of the NFL’s fourth consecutive World Cup championship and tenth in 11 years, with St. Mary’s in 2019 being the lone exception. Gonzaga has won 21 championship titles overall.
Drew Timme scored 18 points and became Gonzaga’s all-time leading scorer, earning tournament MVP.
“I took winning for granted,” Timmy said. “I’ve won so much in my career, it’s a shock not to win. I think early in the year, it kind of made me appreciate what it takes to win day and night. I think sometimes we kind of assume I’m going to win just because we’re Gonzaga.
“Sometimes it’s hard not to fall into the mindset we just need to get through March. It’s been tough this season. I think that grind has made us as a group appreciate winning every night and what it takes to win and be a good team.”
Saint Mary’s (26-7) was ranked #1 in the tournament after the teams split the regular season series, and Tim said it was strange to wear a blue jersey instead of the usual white jersey. The Gaels were the last team to edge out Gonzaga, who had a nine-game winning streak in the NCAA Tournament that includes upsetting Saint Mary’s to finish the regular season.
Both teams will find out their rankings and destinations on Sunday.
Gonzaga hits 58% of her shots, while Saint Mary’s holds on 33% of her shots. The Bulldogs led by as many as 37 points and were never behind.
Timme was instrumental making 8 of his 10 shots to lead four Bulldogs to double figures. Malachy Smith scored 14 points, Nolan Hickman 12, Julian Strother had 10. Anton Watson had 10 rebounds.
Timmy’s short jump with a time of 10:18 left him alone as the leading scorer in Gonzaga history. He entered just five points short of breaking the mark, and his 18 points per game gave him 2,210 career points. The previous record of 2,196 was held by Frank Burgess from 1958-1961.
Logan Johnson led the Gaels with 20 points, and Alex Ducas scored 10.
Gonzaga took control early on, using nine points to go up 14-4 and holding a double-digit lead most of the way from there. The Zags at one point in the first half made 10 of their 12 field goals, and by halftime, they had taken the full lead by a 37-19 lead.
“I told our guys we’ve played 32 games and we’ve played well in 32 of them,” St. Mary’s coach Randy Bennett said. “That, we’re out. You can give them credit. They played well. We didn’t show up.”
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