The Saint Mary's Gaels face their biggest test of the season as they welcome the No. 21/23 Gonzaga Bulldogs to Moraga in a battle of the two remaining unbeaten WCC squads. Saint Mary's is 15-2 overall and 4-0 heading into the game, while Gonzaga is 13-2 and 3-0 in conference. The game tips off at 8:00pm PT and will be broadcast on ESPN2 and streamed live online at ESPN3.com with Dave Flemming and Sean Farnham calling the action. The game will also be broadcast internationally on ESPN Pacific Rim and and ESPN Brazil and on tape delay by ESPN2 Australia.
SMC is off to the second best start in school history and are receiving votes in the AP Poll and Coaches Poll. Following their win over San Francisco on Monday, a win over Gonzaga followed by a Saturday win over Portland would just about assure the Gaels of a spot in next week's Top 25.
The Gaels are off to a strong start in a West Coast Conference that has taken a step forward with the addition of BYU. The Gaels handled the Cougars with ease in their WCC opener and have continued their strong play. Saint Mary's ranks among the top-2 in the WCC in 14 of 21 statistical categories including scoring margin (+17.4), scoring defense (59.5), rebounding defense (29.2), rebound margin (+9.0) and assist/turnover ratio (1.4).
Gonzaga is averaging 75.2 points per game and is third in the league in scoring margin. The Bulldogs give-up 61.9 points per game and hold opponents to .462 from the field and .325 from 3-point range. Freshman Kevin Pangos is the team's scoring leader, averaging 14.2 points per game. He is shooting .400 from 3-point range and connects on 2.5 treys per game.
Elias Harris and David Stockton are the league's top two outside shooters, ranking one and two in 3-point field goal percentage. Harris averages 12.7 points and leads the team with 7.7 rebound per game. Center Robert Sacre is among the WCC's top-10 in rebounds, averaging 6.8 per game, while Sam Dower is second in field goal percentage.
Saint Mary's and Gonzaga have won or shared every regular season WCC title since 2001 and have met in the last three WCC championship games. Needless to say, this is kind of a big game.