Zags Survive Saint Mary's Scare 56-53
Jan. 17, 2003
MORAGA, Calif. - Saint Mary's College took its best shot at knocking off league powerhouse Gonzaga, but in the end it was the Zags who were still standing among the West Coast Conference unbeatens as Gonzaga held on for a 56-53 victory. The Bulldogs improved to 12-5, 3-0 in the WCC while Saint Mary's fell to 8-7, 1-1 in WCC action.
Trailing for most of the second half Gonzaga took the lead at 50-49 with 4:01 remaining on a Cory Violette jump hook from the left side of the lane. Violette would go on to score Gonzaga's next seven points as the Bulldogs increased their lead to 55-49 with 42 seconds left, the last Violette bucket a 3-pointer that banked in with five seconds remaining on the shot clock. Violette would finish with his sixth double-double of the season with 16 points and 15 rebounds.
The Gaels trimmed the lead to 56-53 with two free throws by Adam Caporn, but Gonzaga's defense turned away a desperation 3-pointer with no time left. Caporn had been crucial to the Gaels offense in the first-half as he scored 10 first half points including a lay-up with no time remaining to carry SMC to a 28-24 halftime lead. Caporn would finish with 13 points to lead Saint Mary's.
Gonzaga took an early second half lead as Richard Fox hit a jump hook to go up 29-28 with 17:52 remaining. Saint Mary's would regain the lead on a Samuel Saint-Jean tip-in at 17:25 and lead until the 4-minute mark. Saint Mary's had pushed its lead to as many as eight points when Daniel Kickert connected on a 3-pointer at 8:19 extending the Gaels lead to 46-38.
The Bulldogs had one of their worst shooting halves of the season to open the contest as they hit only 8-of-28 shots for 28 percent. The Bulldogs also struggled from the free throw line hitting 6-of-12 and finished shooting only 50 percent from the charity stripe for the contest. Blake Stepp added 16 points, 11 coming in the second half. Gonzaga dominated play on the glass with a 43-27 advantage including 16 offensive rebounds.
Gonzaga returns to action on Sunday afternoon against the University of San Francisco at 1 p.m. Fans can watch the game on Fox Sports Net or listen on KGA 1510 AM.
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