SPOKANE, Wash. ( Associated Press) — Drew Timme scored 25 points and grabbed eight rebounds to help No. 2 Gonzaga beat No. 22 Saint Mary’s 75-58 on Saturday night and win its 14th straight.
Julian Strawther hit a pair of 3-pointers in the closing minutes to choke off a Saint Mary’s comeback. Andrew Nembhard added 16 points and Chet Holmgren had 11 points and 13 rebounds for the Zags (21-2, 10-0 West Coast Conference), who have won a nation-leading 66 consecutive home games.
With top-ranked Auburn losing to Arkansas earlier this week, the door is open for the Zags to return to the No. 1 in the Associated Press Top 25 poll on Monday.
Tommy Kuhse scored 16 points and Matthias Tass had 14 for Saint Mary’s (20-6, 8-3), which is ranked for the first time this season. But the Gaels ended up with two losses (Santa Clara on Tuesday and Gonzaga) and a win (San Diego on Thursday) for the week.
Gonzaga came in having won its first nine league games by an average of 30.6 points.
Saint Mary’s slowdown offense threw the Zags off in the early going, and the Gaels led 12-11 nine minutes into the game. But the Zags put together a 15-4 run, with nine of the points by Timme, to take a 26-16 lead.
Gonzaga led 36-23 at halftime, behind 15 points from Timme. Saint Mary’s shot just 29% (8 of 28) in the first half.
The Zags opened the second half with an 11-3 run to take a 47-26 lead. The Gaels replied with a 10-2 run to cut Gonzaga’s lead to 53-40.
Tass got Saint Mary’s within nine, 65-56, with 4:21 left as the Zags went five minutes without a field goal. But a pair of 3-pointers by Strawther gave Gonzaga a 74-58 lead with a minute left.
Saint Mary’s: The Gaels, who are second in the WCC, have consistently been one of Gonzaga’s biggest rivals. But they have lost seven straight to the Zags … The Gaels came in ninth in the nation in scoring defense, allowing 59.1 points per game.
Gonzaga: The Bulldogs have won 31 consecutive conference games, dating to a loss at BYU in 2020. … Their home-court winning streak dates back to 2018. … Gonzaga leads the nation in scoring at 90.8 ppg, and all five starters average in double figures.
Saint Mary’s: Hosts San Francisco on Thursday.
Gonzaga: At Pepperdine on Wednesday before wrapping up its home schedule against Santa Clara on Saturday.
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