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No. 23 Saint Mary’s stuns No. 1 Gonzaga, ending Bulldogs’ win streak

Sportsnaut
Feb 26, 2022; Moraga, California, USA; Saint Mary's Gaels center Mitchell Saxen (10) handles the ball while being defended by Gonzaga Bulldogs center Chet Holmgren (34) during the first half at University Credit Union Pavilion. Mandatory Credit: Darren Yamashita-USA TODAY Sports
Feb 26, 2022; Moraga, California, USA; Saint Mary’s Gaels center Mitchell Saxen (10) handles the ball while being defended by Gonzaga Bulldogs center Chet Holmgren (34) during the first half at University Credit Union Pavilion. Mandatory Credit: Darren Yamashita-USA TODAY Sports

Tommy Kuhse scored 14 points and No. 23 Saint Mary’s posted an epic wire-to-wire 67-57 victory over top-ranked Gonzaga on Saturday night in West Coast Conference play at Moraga, Calif.

It marked the second time the Gaels have defeated a No. 1 team in 13 opportunities. The other time was the school’s memorable 60-47 victory over Gonzaga in the 2019 West Coast Conference Tournament title game.

Matthias Tass added 13 points as Saint Mary’s (24-6, 12-3 WCC) halted the Bulldogs’ 17-game winning streak. The Gaels ended a seven-game skid in the series while beating Gonzaga (24-3, 13-1) for just the fifth time in the past 27 meetings.

“That was a historic win,” Logan Johnson, who had 10 points and eight rebounds for Saint Mary’s, said in a postgame television interview. “Shout-out to all the Gaels before us who paved the way to this point.”

Rasir Bolton scored 16 points, Andrew Nembhard had 15 and Julian Strawther tallied 14 for the Bulldogs, who were held to a season-low point total far below their national-best average of 89.5 per game.

Gonzaga stars Drew Timme and Chet Holmgren both had poor outings. Timme had six points on 2-of-10 shooting and Holmgren had six points before fouling out.

The Bulldogs shot just 36.7 percent from the field and were 5 of 15 from 3-point range.

Saint Mary’s held a 40-28 edge in points in the paint. The Gaels shot 44.3 percent and were 6 of 16 from behind the arc. Alex Ducas added 10 points for Saint Mary’s

The Gaels led 46-30 after Tass’ short basket with 15:05 remaining.

Timme scored his first points of the game 11 seconds later on a short hook shot.

The Gaels led by 13 after Tass’ basket with 7:08 remaining. Gonzaga answered with an 8-2 run and pulled within 57-50 on Strawther’s 3-pointer with 5:39 left.

Kyle Bowen missed his first seven shots before draining a 3-pointer to give Saint Mary’s a 10-point advantage with 3:48 left.

Nembhard converted back-to-back baskets to bring the Zags within 60-54 with 2:16 left. But Bowen knocked down another 3-pointer 19 seconds later to make it a nine-point margin.

After Gonzaga pulled within six, Johnson and Ducas each made two free throws to seal it.

Kuhse scored 10 points as the Gaels led 36-21 at the break. Saint Mary’s had a 28-8 edge in points in the paint over the first 20 minutes.

Timme struggled mightily, missing all eight of his field-goal attempts.

Saint Mary’s exploded out of the gates with eight straight points and 12 of the first 15 to set the tone for the game.

–Field Level Media