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Gaels Force Their Way Conference Supremacy With Rare Spokane Win

SPOKANE (AP) -- Home losses are rare for Gonzaga, even against archrival Saint Mary's. The Gaels relied on experience and their characteristically efficient offense to pull the upset on Thursday night.

Jock Landale had 26 points and 12 rebounds, and the Gaels beat the 13th-ranked Bulldogs 74-71 to take sole possession of first place in the West Coast Conference.

"You have to have experienced guys and big guys to win here, and our guys handled the atmosphere," Saint Mary's coach Randy Bennett said. "It was a heck of a win for us."

Saint Mary's shot 56.6 percent, slightly above its season average, and won its 13th consecutive game. The Gaels had lost 12 of their previous 14 against Gonzaga.

"It's a huge win," said Tanner Krebs, who had 10 points and six rebounds for Saint Mary's (18-2, 7-0 WCC). "It looks good on our resume and puts us on top of the conference."

Calvin Hermanson added 16 points for the Gaels, while Jordan Ford also scored 10. Landale made 12 of 15 shots.

"We did a better job of staying in front of them in the second half and kept them out of the paint," Landale said. "We just tried to stick to what we know. It was a battle the entire game."

Rui Hachimura came off the bench to score 23 points, 15 in the first half, for Gonzaga (16-4, 6-1 WCC), which shot poorly in the second half. Johnathan Williams added 13 points.

Gonzaga is 188-18 at McCarthey Athletic Center since it opened in 2004.

"That was two heavyweights going back and forth," Gonzaga coach Mark Few said. "Both teams were having a hard time stopping the other's offense."

Gonzaga and Saint Mary's have won the past nine WCC tournament titles, with Gonzaga claiming seven. The Gaels were the preseason pick by league coaches to win the conference this season.

"We had a couple of empty possessions in the second half and they didn't," Few said. "We uncharacteristically took a couple of tough ones that we shouldn't have."

"Hey, we get another shot at them," Few added.

Leading by four at halftime, Gonzaga outscored the Gaels 8-3 to open the second half and push their lead to 50-41.

Saint Mary's came back and Landale's basket tied the score at 63 with seven minutes left. Landale scored again to put the Gaels up 65-63.

After Josh Perkins sank three free throws to put the Bulldogs ahead, Landale's basket tied it at 68.

Hermanson's layup put the Gaels up 70-68 with 2:45 left. Hachimura's basket tied it again.

Landale's layup put Saint Mary's up 72-70 with 1:06 left.

Zach Norvell Jr. hit a free throw for Gonzaga with 41 seconds left to cut Saint Mary's lead to one, and then Landale broke free and scored on a layup with 15 seconds left that turned out to be the game's final points. Hachimura missed a 3-pointer at the buzzer.

© Copyright 2017 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

 

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