Sophomore forward Rui Hachimura matched his career high of 23 points to help No. 12 Gonzaga roll to a convincing 78-65 victory over No. 11 Saint Mary’s on Saturday in a West Coast Conference showdown at McKeon Pavilion at Moraga, Calif.
Freshman guard Zach Norvell Jr. added 15 points for the Bulldogs (23-4, 13-1 WCC), who snapped the Gaels’ national-best 19-game winning streak and moved into a tie for first place in the conference race. Junior guard Josh Perkins had 13 points and senior forward Johnathan Williams contributed 12 points and 11 rebounds for Gonzaga, which won its 22nd consecutive conference road game.
Senior guard Cullen Neal scored a season-best 18 points and sophomore guard Jordan Ford added 17 points for Saint Mary’s (24-3, 13-1), which had a 16-game home winning halted. Senior center Jock Landale, who has 16 double-doubles this season, was bottled up most of the night by the Bulldogs and had just four points on 2-of-4 shooting.
Gonzaga committed just four turnovers and shot 47.1 percent from the field. The Gaels shot 41.5 percent.
Hachimura, who was 10-of-14 shooting, also scored 23 points in the first meeting on Jan. 18. Saint Mary’s won that contest 74-71.
The Bulldogs led by 12 points at the break and built on the lead in the second half.
Sophomore forward Killian Tillie hit a jumper and Hachimura followed with seven consecutive points to end a 9-0 run as Gonzaga stretched its lead to 64-42 with 11:55 remaining.
Landale made his second and final basket of the game with 4:42 left to cap a 7-0 burst and pull the Gaels within 72-57.
But there wouldn’t be another Saint Mary’s flurry, as the Bulldogs closed it out to defeat the Gaels for the 13th time in the past 16 meetings.
Hachimura had 12 points on 5-of-6 shooting and Williams produced 10 points and eight rebounds as Gonzaga held a 42-30 halftime lead.
The Bulldogs came out firing with 3-pointers by Perkins and senior guard Silas Melson to open the contest. A short time later, Gonzaga went on a 13-1 burst to open up a 22-5 advantage with 12:53 left in the half.
Landale’s dunk with 8:34 to play was his only shot of the first half, as the Bulldogs repeatedly double-teamed the 6-foot-11, 255-pound Australian. Saint Mary’s eventually pulled within 28-21 before Gonzaga went out another surge and took a 40-26 lead on Hachimura’s jumper with 1:31 left in the half.
—Field Level Media