No. 4 Gonzaga, without Killian Tillie again, beats Saint Mary’s 94-46
NICHOLAS K. GERANIOS
SPOKANE, Wash. (AP) – Brandon Clarke scored 24 points and blocked three shots as No. 4 Gonzaga routed Saint Mary’s 94-46 on Saturday night for its 14th consecutive victory.
Rui Hachmiura added 18 points and Filip Petrusev had 15 for Gonzaga (23-2, 10-0 West Coast), which is likely to move up in The AP poll after No. 3 Virginia lost to No. 2 Duke earlier Saturday.
The Zags rolled to the win despite losing Killian Tillie for the second time this season. The 6-foot-10 forward is out indefinitely after suffering a torn ligament in his right foot in Thursday’s win over San Francisco.
A big contributor last year, Tillie already missed the first two months of this season with a foot injury and has played in only nine games. The team said prior to Saturday’s game that Tillie’s injury will not require surgery, and coach Mark Few expressed hope the 6-foot-10 forward will be back for the postseason.
On Saturday, Tommy Kuhse scored 12 points and Malik Fitts 11 for Saint Mary’s (15-10, 6-4), which has lost 14 of its past 17 games against Gonzaga.
Saint Mary’s Jordan Ford, the leading scorer in the WCC, was held to eight points.
The Gaels shot just 25.9 percent as Gonzaga’s defense prevented them from getting clean looks. The Bulldogs shot 58 percent.
Gonzaga scored the first 11 points of the game and jumped to a 19-6 lead by making its first seven shots.
Gonzaga led 30-10 midway through the first.
Corey Kispert and Norvell hit consecutive 3-pointers to ignite a 17-2 run that lifted Gonzaga to a 53-20 lead at halftime. Saint Mary’s was scoreless for the final 4:38 of the first half, missing six of seven shots.
The Gaels shot just 20 percent in the first (6 of 30), while Gonzaga was shooting 60.7 percent from the field and making 14 of 16 free throws.
Clarke scored 12 points early in the second half as Gonzaga pushed the lead beyond 40 points at 74-33.
The Gaels did not threaten after that.
Saint Mary’s: The Gaels, tied for third in the conference, dealt the Zags a rare home loss last season … Jordan Ford averages 21 points and Malik Fitts 19 points per game. … Saint Mary’s and Gonzaga have met in the WCC tournament finals for seven of the past 10 years.
Gonzaga: The Bulldogs are seeking a seventh consecutive regular season WCC crown, and outscoring league foes by 29 points … Gonzaga leads the nation in scoring at 91 ppg. … Clarke leads the nation in field goal shooting at 68.5 percent. … Gonzaga has won 21 straight home games.
Saint Mary’s plays at Santa Clara on Thursday.
Gonzaga plays at Loyola Marymount on Thursday.