Tonight's game wasn't quite the classic that the first two meetings between the Gonzaga Bulldogs and St. Mary's Gaels were, which might be considered an encouraging sign for Mark Few's team.
Gonzaga (24-9) defeated St. Mary's 75-63 (24-8) in the WCC Championship game to secure an automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament, which has to come as something of a relief after a season filled with inconsistency and anxiety about whether they'd be ready for March Madness at all.
Steven Gray led the Bulldogs with 15 points and seven rebounds while Robert Sacre added 12 points and eight rebounds. However, a significant reason why the Bulldogs were as successful as they were on the boards - particularly in the second half when they out-rebounded the Gaels 21-13 - was foul trouble. With both Rob Jones and Mitchell Young in foul trouble for much of the second half, SMC simply wasn't able to put up much resistance in the post and while it wasn't necessarily Gonzaga's posts taking advantage of that, the driving lanes were plenty open for their guards and Sacre was set up for 10 free throw attempts and a massive uncontested dunk late in the game.
Despite being without a post rotation, SMC deserves credit for staying in this game as long as they did by continuing to run what they could and managing to minimize the bigger Sacre in the post. Meanwhile, their perimeter players did their best to keep them in it by playing the full 40 minutes - crafty Mickey McConnell came up big with 24 points, including 13-for-15 free throw shooting and Matthew Dellavedova came up big with 21 points on 8-for-17 shooting.
To celebrate with Gonzaga fans, visit the celebration thread at The Slipper Still Fits.