RTC Live: Gonzaga @ St. Mary’sPosted by rtmsf on January 14th, 2010
It’s already time for the first Gonzaga vs. St. Mary’s game that will establish conference supremacy in the WCC. For the past several seasons, SMC has set its sights squarely on the Zags with the knowledge that breaking through in the WCC would be the first step toward consistent national recognition for the tiny school from Moraga, California. The Gaels have gotten close, finishing second in the league (behind the Zags) in five of the last six seasons, including twice (2005 and 2008) where they finished a mere one game behind Gonzaga in the regular season standings. Last year was thought to be the year, as SMC held a working margin in the first half of the Spokane game when superstar Patty Mills went down with a wrist injury, effectively ending the team’s hopes to catch the Zags last season. There’s a similar buzz this year, though, even without the mercurial Mills running the show. With center Omar Samhan coming into his own as a dominant big man (21/11/3 blks), and three-point bombers Matthew Dellavedova (13/3/4 assts; 42% 3FG) and Mickey McConnell (13/2/6 assts; 53% 3FG) torching the nets if left open, Gonzaga’s defense — its worst since 2006-07 — is going to have its hands full tonight. The Zags are not the nine-time defending WCC regular season champs for nothing, though, and they have been known to step up in big road games a time or two under Mark Few’s direction. There will be a lot of pressure on Robert Sacre and Elias Harris to handle Samhan inside, but if they’re up to the task and Matt Bouldin (15/5/4 assts) gets his stroke going again (he averaged 17.3 PPG in three games against SMC last year), then we could be looking at another close one. The combined scoring of the last four games between these two teams in Moraga results in Gonzaga +1, as they have split the last four, all relatively close games. Join us tonight for another great one!