Moraga, CA – St Mary’s finally set their first perfect home record – and an unforgettable win over top-ranked Gonzaga to go along with it.
Tommy Kohsey scored 14 points and six rebounds for the 23rd seed St. Mary’s, who beat No. 1 Gonzaga 67-57 Saturday night to prevent Bulldogs from completing another undefeated round of the West Coast Conference.
But misery loves company, and the Bulldog wasn’t the only top team in the NCAA that experienced the discomfort.
The top six teams lost in Saturday’s AP poll, and seven of the top nine teams lost. Only No. 7 Duke beat, overtaking Syracuse, 97-72. 2 Arizona fell 79-63 to Colorado; No. 3 Auburn was beaten 67-62 by No. 17 TN; fourth-place Purdue lost 68-65 to unseeded Michigan State; No. 5 Kansas fell 80-70 to No. 10 Baylor and No. 6 Kentucky suffered a surprise 75-73 loss to No. 18 in Arkansas.
Gonzaga had easily defeated the Gaels two weeks earlier and won 34 consecutive conference games, 33 with double figures. But St Mary’s didn’t let Gonzaga feel comfortable on Saturday, driving from start to finish as he won his fourth straight since that loss in Spokane.
They were very aggressive. Few said about Saint Mary. “That was it. When you are the most aggressive and physically strong team, you are likely to win nine times out of 10.”
The St. Mary’s team led by Randy Bennett completed 16-0 at McKeon Pavilion.
“This is really special,” Bennett said. “It was hard to get. We lost it a year to Loyola Marymount in our last home game. It was hard to get and we finally got it. Especially when it’s against the first team in the country, it makes it…a night you will never forget.”
Mary’s side also ended Gonzaga’s 17-game winning streak, defeating the first team for the first time since they knocked out the Bulldog in the 2019 Conference Championship match.
“It kind of comes alive in late February and early March, especially on the roads,” said Gonzaga coach Mark Vu. His team claimed the WCC regular season title last weekend.
Fans flocked to the stadium in wild celebration of the Gaels’ 18th consecutive win at the McKeon Pavilion dating from last season.
Matthias Tass added 13 points for Giles (24-6, 12-3) and made a pivotal block with 1:15 remaining. Kyle Bowman made a pair of clutch three-pointers after missing his first seven shots.
“I wanted to go in the middle of the circle and accept the logo but people were running around on the field so it was difficult,” Tass said. “It was definitely a surreal moment.”
And Raser Bolton scored 16 points for Gonzaga (24-3, 13-1). Drew Tim scored six points and eight rebounds but shot 2 out of 10.
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