CBS Sports Graphic
Gonzaga will be a No. 1 seed in the NCAA Tournament for the fourth time in a five-tournament span when the bracket is unveiled Sunday. That’s the byproduct of the Zags beating Saint Mary’s 82-69 late Tuesday in the title game of the West Coast Conference Tournament inside the Orleans Arena in Las Vegas.
“[The Zags’] offense is as good as any in the country,” said Saint Mary’s coach Randy Bennett. “There’s a lot of things you have to do right to have a chance [against Gonzaga], and we did that for a while. But you have to do it for 40 minutes.”
As was the case in the previous meeting between the Zags and Gaels, Gonzaga stars Drew Timme and Chet Holmgren both operated below their normal standards in Tuesday’s 13-point victory. Timme only finished with 10 points and four rebounds. Holmgren was limited to eight points and eight rebounds. But four of their sidekicks — Andrew Nembhard (19 points and seven assists), Rasir Bolton (18 points), Julian Strawther (16 points) and Anton Watson (10 points and five rebounds) — all performed well and helped the Zags win the WCC Tournament for the eighth time in the past nine years. At one point in the second half, Nembhard and Bolton combined to score 17 straight points in a run that allowed Gonzaga to pull away after Saint Mary’s had cut the lead to 56-54 with 7:28 remaining.
“We had to dig very, very deep,” said Gonzaga coach Mark Few. “We called on everybody and everybody delivered. That’s what makes it so special.”
Gonzaga remains No. 1 in Wednesday morning’s updated CBS Sports Top 25 And 1 daily college basketball rankings. Saint Mary’s remains No. 14.
Itching for more college hoops…