Saint Mary's (Cal)-Gonzaga Preview

Associated Press  |  Last updated January 09, 2013
Gonzaga beat up on Saint Mary's for more than a decade, but that's hardly been the case over the last few years. Looking to avenge a loss in last season's West Coast Conference title game, the No. 9 Bulldogs try to slow down Matthew Dellavedova and the visiting Gaels in an early season showdown Thursday night. Since winning 28 of 31 matchups from 1999-2010, Gonzaga (15-1, 2-0) has gotten all it can handle - and then some - from Saint Mary's (12-3, 1-0). Led by Dellavedova, the Gaels have taken four of seven in the series, including a 78-74 overtime victory March 5 to win the league's tournament championship. Saint Mary's also won the 2011-12 regular-season WCC crown, snapping Gonzaga's run of 11 straight outright or shared titles. "They've done it for a long time," Dellavedova said of the Bulldogs. "We're just trying to do our thing and keep getting better as a program ourselves because they've done it for so long. We're just trying to keep pushing hard to see how much better we can get." The Australian senior, posting 17.4 points and a league-high 6.7 assists per game this season, has averaged 22.6 points in his last five matchups versus Gonzaga. "It starts with him and it ends with him," Bulldogs forward Elias Harris said of Dellavedova. "He's their main guy ... and the way he reads the court and finds his teammates is incredible. It's really a load. It's hard, even as a team, to guard him. It's going to be a great challenge." While the Gaels have lost to Pacific, Georgia Tech and Northern Iowa, the Bulldogs' only blemish came in an 85-74 loss to then-No. 13 Illinois on Dec. 8. Gonzaga has since strung together six straight victories, most recently winning 81-74 at Santa Clara on Saturday. Junior Kelly Olynyk led the way with a career-high 33 points and 10 rebounds as the Bulldogs finished a 3-0 trek, previously winning at then-No. 22 Oklahoma State and Pepperdine. "It was a great road trip. Probably the best I've ever been on in 25 years," coach Mark Few said. "We're in the most difficult stretch I've ever been a part of." The Gaels, meanwhile, enter Thursday seeking a season-best fifth consecutive win after opening league play with Saturday's 74-61 victory over Loyola Marymount. Dellavedova had 17 points and eight assists while James Walker III and Beau Levesque scored a combined 23 off the bench. "We just really wanted to get a good start to conference," Dellavedova told the school's official website. "We knew they were going to be physical, so we just wanted to come out and be more ready to play." Saint Mary's figures to be in for a much more difficult test at the McCarthey Athletic Center, where Gonzaga has taken 18 straight against unranked opponents by an average of 23.1 points. Although the Gaels won 73-71 at Gonzaga on Jan. 27, 2011, they dropped to 1-16 over their last 17 visits to Spokane with a 73-59 defeat Feb. 9. "It's a challenge," Saint Mary's coach Randy Bennett said. "As a player or a coach, you're a competitor and you look forward to tough challenges. This is a tough challenge. We all look forward to it that way. You try to bring your best when your best is needed and that's what we need."
GET THE YARDBARKER APP:
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45
MORE FROM YARDBARKER

Report: Spurs, Clippers among teams interested in Andre Iguodala

Vanderbilt players shot while trying to get teammate’s phone back from thief

Would adding George, Hayward make Celtics a super-team?

Kevin Durant congratulates Russell Westbrook for earning MVP honors

Colts QB coach: Andrew Luck should not be double-digit INT guy

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

Jim Kelly praises Sean McDermott, throws shade at Rex Ryan

Did John Paxson just admit the Bulls are tanking?

Report: Carmelo may be open to trade to Wizards, Sixers

Report: Roadblock to Kirk Cousins-Redskins deal isn't money

Taco Charlton finally lands taco endorsement deal

Serena Williams told John McEnroe to back off after he said she’d be No. 700 in the men’s rankings

The 'Power hitters are coming for that number one spot' quiz

BIG3 Referee Hotline Bling: Ricky Davis takes unnecessary shots at Al Harrington

Who won Wimbledon the year you were born?

Box Score 6/27: Monday is for all sorts of ballers

Big3 brings summer festival feel to basketball with barnstorming tour

The 10 best sports docs available for streaming

Feeding your roundball addiction through the summer months

The 'Tonight, we settle the Beard vs. Brodie debate' quiz

2016-17 NBA Awards: The 8th Man Award for most overlooked player this year

2016-17 NBA Awards: The Disappearing Act Award for player who came up small

Getaway Day: Welcome back to the world, AL Central

Best of Yardbarker: Diana Taurasi makes history

College Basketball News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Fox Sports Digital Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.
the YARDBARKER app
Get it now!
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

BIG3 Referee Hotline Bling: Ricky Davis takes unnecessary shots at Al Harrington

The 'Power hitters are coming for that number one spot' quiz

Big3 brings summer festival feel to basketball with barnstorming tour

The 10 best sports docs available for streaming

Feeding your roundball addiction through the summer months

The 'Tonight, we settle the Beard vs. Brodie debate' quiz

2016-17 NBA Awards: The 8th Man Award for most overlooked player this year

2016-17 NBA Awards: The Disappearing Act Award for player who came up small

Getaway Day: Welcome back to the world, AL Central

Best of Yardbarker: Diana Taurasi makes history

Today's Best Stuff
For Publishers
Company Info
Help
Follow Yardbarker