Moraga, Calif. — Gary Bell, Jr. buried four 3-pointers en route to a team-high 20 points on Thursday as No. 5 Gonzaga earned a 77-60 victory over Saint Mary’s at McKeon Pavilion.
Kevin Pangos followed with 18 points to go with six rebounds, while Kelly Olynyk netted 17 points and grabbed seven boards for the Bulldogs (24-2, 11-0 WCC), who have won seven straight.
“It’s a win in February,” Gonzaga coach Mark Few said of the significance of the win. “If you look across college basketball those are hard to come by, and they’re especially hard to come by on the road.”
Matthew Dellavedova scored a game-high 22 points to go with six assists and Stephen Holt added 17 points and six boards for the Gaels (21-5, 10-2), who had won nine straight since suffering their lone conference loss of the season at Gonzaga on Jan. 10.
Nineteen of Dellavedova’s 22 points came in the first half, as the senior sharp shooter knocked down three 3-pointers in a late 16-4 St. Mary’s surge that helped the Gaels take a 33-32 lead into the locker room.
It was all Gonzaga in the second half, as Bell opened the stanza with a triple to spark a 20-4 surge that Olynyk capped with a trey of his own to provide the Bulldogs with a 52-37 cushion just over five minutes into the final frame.
The margin was 12, 56-44, just past the midpoint of the second before a Beau Levesque triple sparked an 8-0 sprint that Dellavedova capped with a trey — his only bucket of the half — to bring the Gaels within 56-52 with under seven minutes left.
St. Mary’s would get no closer, though, as Drew Barham’s 3-pointer from the right corner quelled the Gaels’ run and sent the Bulldogs on 10-2 swing to push the margin back to 12, 66-54, with just over three minutes remaining.
Gonzaga was able to cruise from there, never allowing the Gaels to get closer than nine the rest of the way en route to the victory.
“You spot them 10, and you’re digging your way out from there,” Saint Mary’s coach Randy Bennett said. “I actually thought we played pretty well for a lot of that game. They played very well, and they had guys who hit shots.”
Early on, the Bulldogs led for much of the first half and held a 26-17 lead after Olynyk knocked down a triple with just under six minutes to play.
Dellavedova answered with a 3-pointer of his own at the other end to spark the Gaels’ 16-4 run before Pangos connected on two free throws to send the Bulldogs into the break facing a one-point deficit.
Gonzaga owns a 56-27 lead in the all-time series … The Zags and Gaels have combined to win every WCC regular-season championship since 2001 … Gonzaga shot 50 percent from the field, including a 9-of-17 mark from long range … The Bulldogs hit 20-of-24 free throws, while the Gaels connected on just 2-of-5 from the charity stripe.