St. Mary’s faces tough test vs No. 1 Gonzaga
No. 1 Gonzaga (28-2, 15-0) vs. Saint Mary’s (20-10, 11-4)
McKeon Pavilion, Moraga, California; Saturday, 10 p.m. EST
BOTTOM LINE: No. 1 Gonzaga presents a tough challenge for Saint Mary’s. Saint Mary’s has lost both of its games against ranked teams this season. Gonzaga has won its last 29 games against conference opponents dating back to last season.
TEAM LEADERS: The prolific Jordan Ford has averaged 21.5 points to lead the charge for the Gaels. Malik Fitts has paired with Ford and is producing 15.9 points and 7.7 rebounds per game. The Bulldogs are led by Rui Hachimura, who is averaging 20.7 points and 6.6 rebounds.
NIFTY FORD: Ford has connected on 43 percent of the 149 3-pointers he’s attempted and has made 9 of 15 over the last three games. He’s also converted 79 percent of his free throws this season.
TWO STREAKS: Gonzaga has won its last seven road games, scoring 87.7 points and allowing 63.4 points during those contests. Saint Mary’s has won its last 12 home games, scoring an average of 79.8 points while giving up 61.5.
ASSIST DISTRIBUTION: The Bulldogs have recently used assists to create buckets more often than the Gaels. Saint Mary’s has 33 assists on 70 field goals (47.1 percent) over its previous three matchups while Gonzaga has assists on 52 of 106 field goals (49.1 percent) during its past three games.
DID YOU KNOW: The Gonzaga offense has recorded a turnover on only 14.3 percent of its possessions, which is the fifth-lowest rate in the nation. The Saint Mary’s defense has forced opposing teams to turn the ball over on just 16.5 percent of all possessions (ranked 314th among Division I teams).