No. 1 Gonzaga outlasts No. 17 Saint Mary’s, wins WCC tourney

Mar 8, 2022, 8:38 PM

LAS VEGAS (AP) — Andrew Nembhard scored 19 points, Rasir Bolton added 18 and top-ranked Gonzaga outlasted No. 17 Saint Mary’s 82-69 Tuesday night to win its eighth West Coast Conference tournament title in nine years.

Gonzaga 82, Saint Mary’s 69: Box score

The Zags (26-3) had one big run in the first half to build a 10-point lead in its 25th straight WCC title game, but spent much of the night trying to shake the gritty Gaels.

Gonzaga finally did it, making nine shots during a stretch in the second half to pull away after Saint Mary’s had cut the lead to two.

The win all but locks up a No. 1 seed in the NCAA Tournament for the Zags.

The Gaels (25-7) managed to slow the game’s pace to its liking, preventing the Zags from getting out in transition for easy baskets. Gonzaga still found a way to outscore Saint Mary’s, making 16 of 23 shots in the second half to win its 20th WCC tournament title.

Logan Johnson led Saint Mary’s with 21 points and Tommy Kuhse added 15.

The Zags and Gaels have turned the WCC tournament into a running off-Strip show since it moved to Las Vegas in 2009. The teams have met nine times in the title game at Orleans Arena and one or the other has won the championship every year. The Zags have 10 titles over the 13-year run, the Gaels three (the last in 2019).

The rivals split during the regular season: Gonzaga ran roughshod over Saint Mary’s in Spokane, Washington, and the Gaels bullied the Zags for a 10-point win in Moraga, California.

The go-round with a title on the line started as a defensive slog, both teams putting up difficult shots and making sloppy mistakes against the pressure. But Gonzaga revved up its smooth-moving machine midway through the first half, going on a 15-4 run to go up 29-18.

The Gaels made a short push, but the Zags pushed back for a 38-28 halftime lead. And they did it with big men Drew Timme and Chet Holmgren combining for four points on 2-of-9 shooting.

Saint Mary’s bogged the game down again to start the second half, turning it into a half-court duel. The Gaels won the efficiency battle, methodically working for good shots to cut Gonzaga’s lead to 52-50 midway through.

Gonzaga found the right gear again after that, hitting nine straight shots to push the lead to 71-59.

Saint Mary’s had no answer this time.


Saint Mary’s: Played at the pace it wanted to and shot the ball decently, yet couldn’t keep up with the Zags. A disappointing loss, but the Gaels should be a lock to make the NCAA Tournament after missing the bracket last season.

Gonzaga: Had to grind it out at times, but still shot 58%. The Zags also showed off their depth, getting 53 combined points from Nembhard, Bolton and Julian Strawther.


Saint Mary’s: Is headed to the NCAA Tournament, likely as a middle seed.

Gonzaga: Should get a No. 1 seed in the NCAA Tournament, possibly No. 1 overall.

Monday: No. 1 Gonzaga beats San Francisco 81-71 in West Coast semis

710 Sports Pit

Seahawks 2018 NFL Draft...
SeattleSports.com Staff

Where to find Seattle Sports coverage of Mariners-Marlins, Seahawks draft

With Mariners baseball and the NFL Draft for the Seahawks both taking place this weekend, we have both covered at Seattle Sports.
20 days ago
Pat Clayton...
SeattleSports.com Staff

John Clayton Memorial Fund helps Walk MS: Seattle reach fundraising goal

The Walk MS: Seattle event, held Saturday at Seattle's Gas Works Park, reached its goal of $625,000 with a total $643,428 raised.
23 days ago
Sonics George Karl...
The Associated Press

Ex-Sonics coach George Karl, Storm legend Swin Cash to Hall of Fame

George Karl, the winningest coach in Seattle Sonics history, and former Seattle Storm star Swin Cash are among the 2022 class of Basketball Hall of Fame inductees.
2 months ago
gonzaga arkansas...
The Associated Press

Notae, Arkansas muscle top overall seed Gonzaga out of NCAAs

Arkansas made Gonzaga miserable on both ends of the floor, bouncing the top overall seed from the NCAA Tournament with a 74-68 win on Thursday night.
2 months ago
John Clayton Memorial Fund...
No Author

John Clayton Memorial Fund benefiting the Multiple Sclerosis Society

Seattle Sports and Bonneville International are honored to announce the “John Clayton Memorial Fund.” The John Clayton Memorial Fund will benefit the Multiple Sclerosis Society.
2 months ago
Gonzaga Louisville...
The Associated Press

Hailey Van Lith scores 21, Louisville beats Gonzaga in NCAAs

Hailey Van Lith scored 21 points and Louisville advanced to the Sweet 16 after a 68-59 win over Gonzaga in the second round of the women’s NCAA Tournament.
2 months ago
No. 1 Gonzaga outlasts No. 17 Saint Mary’s, wins WCC tourney