Saint Mary’s (11-6, 2-4) vs. No. 1 Gonzaga (20-0, 11-0)
McCarthey Athletic Center, Spokane, Washington; Thursday, 9 p.m. EST
BOTTOM LINE: No. 1 Gonzaga presents a tough challenge for Saint Mary’s. Saint Mary’s has played a ranked team only once this season and lost. Gonzaga remains No. 1 in the latest AP rankings following wins over Brigham Young and San Francisco last week.
SAVVY SENIORS: Gonzaga’s Drew Timme, Corey Kispert and Joel Ayayi have combined to account for 54 percent of the team’s scoring this season and have scored 50 percent of all Bulldogs points over the last five games.
DEFENSIVE IMPROVEMENTS: The Bulldogs have given up just 65.8 points per game across 11 conference games, an improvement from the 73.6 per game they allowed in non-conference play.TERRIFIC TOMMY: Tommy Kuhse has connected on 33.3 percent of the 48 3-pointers he’s attempted and has made 3 of 12 over the last five games. He’s also converted 83.1 percent of his free throws this season.
LONG-RANGE THREAT: Gonzaga’s Kispert has attempted 121 3-pointers and connected on 47.9 percent of them, and is 11 of 25 over his last five games.
STREAK SCORING: Gonzaga has won its last eight home games, scoring an average of 93.9 points while giving up 63.8.
DID YOU KNOW: The Gonzaga offense has recorded a turnover on only 16 percent of its possessions, which is the 25th-best rate in the country. The Saint Mary’s defense has forced opposing teams to turn the ball over on just 18.2 percent of all possessions (ranked 253rd among Division I teams).
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