11:00 PM ET, February 4, 2008
McKeon Pavilion, Moraga, California
MORAGA, Calif. (AP) -- Todd Golden, the fifth-year senior, knows all the ins and outs of Saint Mary's rivalry with Gonzaga. Patty Mills, the standout freshman from Australia, has been hearing about it for years now.Golden hit his sixth 3-pointer of the night with 1:19 left in overtime, Mills scored the final 10 points of regulation and five more in extra time, and the Gaels (No. 23 ESPN/USA Today, No. 25 AP) held off the Zags 89-85 on Monday night."It was everything I expected," Mills said.Golden went 6-for-6 from long range and finished with 19 points, his 3-point shooting a school record."I was shooting well in warmup," he said. "Sometimes it's easier to shoot in these tough games because you have so much Adrenalin."Mills scored 23 despite shooting 0-for-6 on 3s and 5-of-15 overall. He made 13 of 18 free throws, six over the final 2:55 of regulation and five in OT, and had four steals and four assists."What was really going through my mind was that I wished I'd had a fifth slice of vegemite toast," he said. "I had four for lunch today. When you're in a slump like that, you really have to believe in yourself."Omar Samhan scored five points in OT and finished with 15 for the Gaels (19-3, 6-1), who stayed unbeaten at home at 13-0 in yet another wild game between these West Coast Conference rivals. Saint Mary's also moved into a tie for first place in the conference with Gonzaga and San Diego, which won at Pepperdine.Diamon Simpson added 10 points and 11 rebounds for the Gaels, who overcame 26-for-42 free-throw shooting to beat the Zags at home in McKeon Pavilion for the third time in four years and second in a row."This one gives you confidence because you know you beat a good team," Saint Mary's coach Randy Bennett said. "All teams like to play up tempo. We knew there were going to be a ton of possessions, which there were."Gonzaga's Micah Downs missed short on a 3 that would have tied it with 5 seconds to play.Jeremy Pargo did everything he could to keep the Zags in it, hitting a tying 3 with 3:17 left and another the next time down to give Gonzaga the lead. He scored nine in OT and finished with 27 points and nine assists for Gonzaga, which had three players foul out during the extra session.Austin Daye scored 15 points for Gonzaga (17-6, 6-1), which faced a ranked conference opponent for the first time since Jan. 27, 1990, the Loyola Marymount team featuring Bo Kimble and the late Hank Gathers."People nationally think we have to be perfect in this league," Gonzaga coach Mark Few said. "That's an unfair burden put on us."Oh how the tides have turned in this rivalry. This time, for a change, it's Saint Mary's that is the ranked team while the Zags are hanging below receiving votes."Todd is Golden!" the fans chanted. But the students didn't rush the floor this time as they have in recent wins in this series. Perhaps because the Gaels were no longer considerable underdogs."Coming in, we still thought we were the better team," Zags senior David Pendergraft said. "This is still our league. We've won it seven straight times for a reason. But they're doing really well and made big plays."This one stood up to the thrillers that these teams are known for, with regulation ending in wild fashion at 74-all.Mills picked off a pass from Daye, drove the length of the floor and converted a go-ahead three-point play with 23.3 seconds left. Pargo scored moments later, then Mills was fouled and missed the first of two free throws -- giving Gonzaga another chance. Abdullahi Kuso dunked with 5.9 seconds left and Tron Smith missed an off-balanced attempt just before the buzzer. Kuso would foul out 56 seconds into OT, then Daye and Pendergraft followed him to the bench.The Gaels just stayed in the poll this week, dropping four spots after the team's 63-55 loss at San Diego on Jan. 28 that snapped a five-game winning streak.And it was the regular raucous, standing-room only crowd of more than 3,500 packed into McKeon Pavilion for this nationally televised matchup. Students began their usual chants of "Beat the Zags!" nearly an hour before tipoff in the same building where the Gaels already upset then-No. 12 Oregon back on Nov. 20, and also defeated Drake and Seton Hall.Gonzaga, which has reached nine straight NCAA tournaments and could get in again even if it doesn't win the WCC tournament, started the season ranked 14th and was picked by the conference's coaches to win an eighth straight regular-season title.Saint Mary's and Gonzaga will play again March 1 in Spokane during the final weekend of conference action.Saint Mary's shot 47 percent and led 39-37 at halftime.Andris Biedrins of the Golden State Warriors sat courtside on one baseline.
Team Stat Comparison
|FG Made-Attempted||32-63 (.508)||27-65 (.415)|
|3P Made-Attempted||9-22 (.409)||9-22 (.409)|
|FT Made-Attempted||12-18 (.667)||26-42 (.619)|
|Fouls (Tech/Flagrant)||29 (0/0)||17 (0/0)|