Saint Mary's upsets Gonzaga for WCC title, earns NCAA tourney berth

Paola Ditto
Marzo 15, 2019

Exhausted of all the chatter, the Gaels put an emphatic end to it, popping the bubble by taking down a team no one outside their program thought they could beat.

On the heels of a 26-point drubbing of Pepperdine on Monday night in Las Vegas, the Gonzaga Bulldogs appeared to be in a comfortable position in the West Coast Conference Tournament.

Gonzaga were expected to dominate after winning 30 of their 33 games this season, but St Mary's, headed by Sydney centre Jordan Hunter and Hobart guard Tanner Krebs, never faltered. "We didn't need a miracle". "We caught them on an off night, but they are so good".

Saint Mary's (22-11) all but shut down the nation's highest-scoring team by slowing the game and forcing Gonzaga to grind out possessions instead of playing fast and free.

Gonzaga's 18-game WCC tournament winning streak, dating to the 2012 title game, also came to an end, and so too could its bid for a No. 1 seed in the NCAA Tournament.

Gonzaga, victor of the past six WCC titles, was expected to claim their seventh and be an NCAA Tournament No.1 seed but the loss could relegate their ranking. "You've got to believe against those guys", Saint Mary's coach Randy Bennett said on ESPN after the game.

'We knew we were going to win:' How Saint Mary's upset...
Saint Mary's knocks off No. 1 Gonzaga 60-47 for WCC title

Gonzaga steamrolled its way to the regular-season title and through the WCC semifinals by getting out in transition, knocking down open shots.

Saint Mary's has been a quality program for several years, but the win was a stunner considering the Gaels had already lost to the Zags twice this season, including one game by 48 points.

Brandon Clarke led Gonzaga with 16 points and eight rebounds.

Gonzaga coach Mark Few entered the interview room moments after the loss in a fury, saying, "All right, ready to go in here?"

The top-ranked Bulldogs have been unbeatable in conference play, as they own a ideal 16-0 record against their rivals.

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