ATB: St. Mary’s – Gonzaga

Posted by rtmsf on February 5th, 2008

ATB v.4

We had the pleasure, and we really mean pleasure, of attending that outstanding SMC-Gonzaga game last night in Moraga, CA. First of all, for anyone who ever tries to locate St. Mary’s College, good luck. It’s not really close to anything in particular, yet it’s only a half-hour away from one of the world’s great cities. Still, given the sparse environs surrounding the campus, you’d think you were a million miles away from anything resembling a place where ESPN would show up and televise a basketball game.
    Zag Dog
      Gaels and Zags in Moraga
      Anyway, the campus was small but very pretty, befitting the $42k/year price tag. We were told that the doll/guy ratio there was 2:1, which made us quickly regret our age, choice of undergraduate colleges and decision to work outside of academia, in that order. We had to walk a while to the gym, but once we got there, we were impressed. The gym is really dark for a normal college hoops arena, but in contrast to some other WCC gyms we’ve been to, it’s actually a pretty nice place, all things considered. SMC has clearly spruced it up in recent years, but the one bathroom situation really needs to go.
        Here are a few of the thoughts and observations we had at the game:
        • The Jeremy Pargo dunk in the first half of the open court was one of the most shockingly powerful dunks we’ve ever witnessed from a guy his size (similar to this one). Unreal. Pargo was pretty much unstoppable throughout – he got everywhere he wanted to go on the court with his strength, handle and ability to finish going either way, and he showed some range with two late second half threes that appeared to have given Gonzaga control of the game.

        Patty Mills

        Mills and Pargo Played Each Other Tough

        • Josh Heytvelt continued to look like a shell of the former player we saw dominate the likes of Carolina last year. 2 pts and 5 rebs in 19 minutes against a team that clearly struggles with any and all interior size? Maybe he was sick? Still hurting? From our view, Heytvelt should be an All-American on par with what Nick Fazekas was at Nevada the last few years. But he’s not. Most of the time we watched him, he looked completely uninterested in playing basketball. His lateral movement and body language sucked. What’s up, Zag fans?
        • Austin Daye is so long and skinny that he looks like Marcus Camby did when he was a freshman at UMass. He’s nowhere near as developed as Camby defensively, but he’s already very skilled on the offensive end. He has great touch out to 3-pt range on his shot, and he clearly thinks very highly of himself, as he loves to woof and congratulate himself after a good play. He’s already projected as a lottery pick in 2009, and we believe it.
        • Patty Mills was a wonder to watch. He clearly needs some more strength, and his jump shot looked suspect all night long, but he never got rattled and made several big plays down the stretch. The fast break where he outraced the entire Gonzaga team to reverse the layup and get the and-1 foul was fantastic. He really reminds us a lot of Tony Parker his first couple of years in the NBA. Potentially great things await this young player.
        • The unsung hero last night was SMC’s #24 Todd Golden and his push shot jumper, which hit nothing but net all six times he released it. He helped get St. Mary’s the lead in the first half, and hit the huge one in the OT period that pretty much sealed it. When the Gaels were busily blowing their lead in the late second half, we kept referring to our significant other that perhaps they should consider running a play to get the ball to “#24.” They never did, but Mills saved them anyway.

        #24

        #24 Hits the Big 3 in Overtime

        • There were a few home cooking calls where it was clear the refs were unsure what had happened, so it seemed as if they said “screw it, this crowd looks pretty involved, let’s just go their way…” We didn’t see the key disputed call in front of Gonzaga’s bench until we got home and watched the replay, but yeah, that was a horrendous call.
        • One cool thing we saw the SMC players do with eight seconds remaining in the game was to motion the Gael Force student fan group to not RTC after the victory was secured 89-85. Although a few students ran onto the court, the majority did not, and that signifies a shift in the attitude of the program about beating the Zags. As of this date on this season, SMC has proven it is every bit the team as Gonzaga; but that’s merely the first step in becoming every bit the program. Still, this acknowledgement by both fans and players was nice to see for a program on the rise.

        In our dreams, when we envision writing the great american travelogue about college basketball, last night’s game was exactly the type of environment we’d hope to capture. There was a bandbox arena with poor lighting, a rabid crowd so fired up for the contest that it sang the last stanza of the national anthem in unison, multiple eye-popping plays on both ends of the court, a sprinkle of controversy, and an overtime classic that went to David. Oh, and a 2:1 ratio. :-)

        rtmsf (3748 Posts)


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        4 Responses to “ATB: St. Mary’s – Gonzaga”

        1. Go Zags says:

          Very good write up. I really hope both these teams meet in the WCC Final and both go on to the big dance.

          Thanks for acknowledging the tough calls.

        2. Ty Keenan says:

          Watching Pargo in person is an absolute pleasure. Yet more evidence for my theory that fast point guards with no jumpers are the most exciting players.

          I’ve been to that gym for a scrimmage before and kept thinking that it would be absolutely fantastic for a game like that one. Reminded me of an overgrown high school gym. Very jealous you were able to be there.

        3. rtmsf says:

          Ty:

          Fast PGs w/ no jumpers who can GET UP…

          Pargo is an exciting player, no doubt.

        4. P says:

          It’s been weeks and I still get chills. Nice writeup. Go Gaels.

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