NCAA

No. 1 Gonzaga beats No. 20 Saint Mary's 74-64

gonzaga-saint-marys.jpg
USATSI

No. 1 Gonzaga beats No. 20 Saint Mary's 74-64

MORAGA — Przemek Karnowski scored 19 points and No. 1 Gonzaga survived its toughest remaining obstacle to an undefeated regular season by beating No. 20 Saint Mary's 74-64 on Saturday night.

Johnathan Williams added 17 points and Nigel Williams-Goss had 14 to help the Bulldogs (26-0, 14-0) sweep the season series and win for the 11th time in the past 13 meetings against their fiercest conference rival.

The trip to Saint Mary's (22-3, 12-2) was viewed as the last true test for Gonzaga before the postseason begins. The Bulldogs were seeded fourth overall in preliminary rankings for the NCAA tournament released earlier Saturday and can ill afford a slip-up if they want to be assured of being a top seed in a region next month.

Jock Landale scored 24 points despite being limited by foul trouble to lead the way for the Gaels, who couldn't get enough perimeter help for their big man to stay with the Bulldogs. Saint Mary's made just 4 of 15 3-point attempts.

The scene at overflowing McKeon Pavilion was electric for the first visit by the No. 1 team since Bill Russell and San Francisco came to Moraga in 1955. ESPN's "GameDay" show was on hand and fans packed the aisles for the standing-room only crowd.

It was a first half of runs with the teams trading 9-0 spurts early before Gonzaga broke things open with a 17-2 stretch late in the half. The Gaels then got the final six points from Landale to cut the deficit to 40-31 at the break.

But Saint Mary's never got closer than seven points in the second half as Gonzaga answered every charge.

BIG PICTURE

Gonzaga: The Bulldogs should be heavy favorites the rest of the regular season with home games against San Francisco, Pacific and BYU and a trip to San Diego left. They have won all but three games this season by at least 10 points, including the last 18 as no one in the WCC seems up to challenging them this season.

Saint Mary's: After holding the previous two opponents to 26 percent shooting, the Gaels had a much tougher time slowing down the more talented Zags. Gonzaga made 10 straight shots at one point in the first half and shot 55.3 percent overall as Karnowski and Williams overpowered Saint Mary's inside to shoot a combined 16 for 22.

UP NEXT

Gonzaga: Host San Francisco on Thursday.

Saint Mary's: Host Loyola Marymount on Thursday.

Louisville has 'effectively fired' head coach Rick Pitino

pitino-sad-ap.jpg
AP

Louisville has 'effectively fired' head coach Rick Pitino

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) — Louisville has placed coach Rick Pitino and athletic director Tom Jurich on administrative leave amid a federal bribery investigation.

Jurich is on paid leave, while Pitino is on unpaid leave. The coach’s attorney, Steve Spence, told the Courier-Journal Wednesday that Louisville has “effectively fired” Pitino.

Pitino’s exit comes after the school acknowledged on Tuesday that the men’s program is part of a federal investigation into alleged bribery of recruits. The 65-year-old coach was not named in the indictment that resulted in the arrest of 10 people including four assistant coaches at other schools and an Adidas executive.

It is the latest black eye for the Cardinals program. Pitino and Louisville are in the middle of appealing NCAA sanctions following an embarrassing sex scandal.

Jurich has supported Pitino through his transgressions during the athletic director’s nearly 20-year tenure at the university.

Cal fights USC into fourth quarter, can't complete the upset

cal-usc-ap.jpg
AP

Cal fights USC into fourth quarter, can't complete the upset

BOX SCORE

BERKELEY -- Stephen Carr ran for a fourth-quarter touchdown two plays after Southern California's defense forced one of its six turnovers and the fifth-ranked Trojans won their 13th straight game, 30-20 over California on Saturday.

USC (4-0, 2-0 Pac-12) has dominated the series with its in-state rival by winning 14 straight against the Golden Bears (3-1, 0-1), but this was one of the tightest matchups in years as the game was tied early in the fourth quarter.

Sam Darnold threw for 223 yards and two touchdowns for the Trojans but also had an interception and was under pressure for much of the day.

It was the defense that stepped up for USC, intercepting a pass from Ross Bowers in the first quarter to set up a field goal and then delivering the big play early in the fourth quarter after Chase McGrath gave the Trojans a 16-13 lead with his third field goal of the game.

Josh Fatu knocked the ball out of Bowers' hand and Uchenna Nwosu recovered the fumble at the 3. Carr ran it in two plays later from the 2 to make it 23-13.

Ykili Ross then intercepted Bowers' pass on the next possession, setting up Darnold's 4-yard TD pass to Deontay Burnett that put away the game.

Bowers finished 22 for 50 for 303 yards with one touchdown, four interceptions and two lost fumbles.

THE TAKEAWAY

SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA: The Trojans struggled for much of the game without starting RB Ronald Jones (ankle) and WR Steven Mitchell (groin) but managed to pull away late in their first road game of the season.

CALIFORNIA: The Bears used an improved defense to start 3-0 under first-year coach Justin Wilcox but this was supposed to be the test of how far they had come. Cal showed plenty by sticking with a national title contender for three quarters. A sequence on the opening drive of the second will haunt the Bears. Patrick Laird dropped a potential TD in the end zone and Matt Anderson then missed a 29-yard field goal that kept the game tied at 13.

POLL IMPLICATIONS

A win against an unranked team should do little to alter USC's poll position.

UP NEXT

SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA: Visits No. 18 Washington State on Friday.

CALIFORNIA: Visits No. 24 Oregon on Saturday.