No. 9 Gonzaga holds off Saint Mary's
Spokane, WA (Sports Network) - Kelly Olynyk scored 31 points and grabbed eight rebounds, and No. 9 Gonzaga survived West Coast Conference rival Saint Mary's, 83-78, at McCarthey Athletic Center.
Kevin Pangos and Elias Harris chipped in 22 and 13 points, respectively, for the Bulldogs (16-1, 3-0 WCC), who have won seven straight.
"We played fantastic in the first half," Gonzaga head coach Mark Few said. "They played fantastic in the second half. But we made just enough plays to get the W."
With leading scorer Matthew Dellavedova struggling from the field (4-for-15), Stephen Holt stepped up with 23 points for the Gaels (12-4, 1-1), who had a four-game winning streak snapped.
"He has to play better than that if we are going to win," Saint Mary's coach Randy Bennett said of Dellavedova.
Saint Mary's, which last season won the outright conference title to end Gonzaga's run of 11 straight years with at least a share of the regular season crown, trailed by 20 early in the second half before Holt put the Gaels on his back during a 21-5 run. Holt netted 13 on the stretch, and a Beau Levesque 3- pointer a little later pulled Saint Mary's within 67-64 with six minutes to play.
It was still a three-point Gonzaga lead heading into the final minute, and it appeared the Gaels were about to gain possession when Dellavedova grabbed a defensive rebound. Harris, though, tied up Dellavedova and the jump ball went Gonzaga's way.
Shortly after a Pangos miss, Dellavedova was fouled and hit both from the stripe with 15 seconds remaining. Olynyk pushed the lead back to three with two free throws, and Dellavedova's off-balanced 3-point attempt hit off the rim and bounced over the backboard to end the comeback bid.
Gonzaga connected on a scorching 58 percent from the field in the first half in the wire-to-wire win. It was 9-2 following a Pangos three-point play less than five minutes in, and an 8-0 run over the final three minutes saw the lead balloon to 46-28.
David Stockton assisted on the final three baskets, the last an inside feed to Olynyk as the 7-footer capped his 17-point first half with an easy lay-in.
Olynyk was coming off a 33-point effort in a win over Santa Clara last Saturday. With Thursday's showing, Olynyk became the first Gonzaga player to score 30 or more points twice in the same season since Adam Morrison accomplished the feat in 2005-06 ... Dellavedova and Levesque each finished with 14 points ... Gonzaga earned a 46-34 advantage in the paint.
01/11 02:33:46 ET