NCAA

No. 21 Saint Mary's routed by undefeated Gonzaga

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USATSI

No. 21 Saint Mary's routed by undefeated Gonzaga

BOX SCORE

SPOKANE, Wash. -- Zach Collins said No. 5 Gonzaga wanted to make a statement against No. 21 Saint Mary's on Saturday night.

"There was a lot of hype going into this game," Collins said, after the Zags beat Saint Mary's 79-56.

"We were hoping to come in and make a statement to the rest of the conference and the rest of the country. We know how to win."

Nigel Williams-Goss scored 19 points and added six assists to help Gonzaga win its 17th game in a row, the longest streak in the nation.

"We are as good as we think we are," Williams-Goss said. "We are a group with a lot of confidence."

Jordan Mathews added 16 points, Johnathan Williams had 14 and Collins 10 for Gonzaga (17-0, 5-0 West Coast).

Jock Landale was held to 10 points and was in foul trouble much of the game for Saint Mary's (15-2, 5-1), which saw a nine-game winning streak broken. Calvin Hermanson led the Gaels with 12 points.

This game was seen as one of the major barriers remaining for the Zags as they seek to go undefeated through the regular season. The teams play again at Saint Mary's on Feb. 11.

Saint Mary's has never beaten an opponent ranked higher than No. 9.

Gonzaga shot 64.7 percent in the game, while holding Saint Mary's to just 39.7 percent. Gonzaga coach Mark Few was asked which achievement was greater.

"They are an excellent defensive team," Few said. "To shoot 65 percent is an amazing night against anybody."

Landale picked up his second foul with 14:22 left in the first and sat out the rest of the half. The Gaels' stayed close for a while, as Hermanson converted a four-point play to tie the score at 18-18.

Saint Mary's sank three straight baskets for a 27-23 lead.

But Mathews' 3-pointer ignited a 12-2 Gonzaga run that gave the Zags a 43-34 lead at halftime.

Landale scored three unanswered baskets early in the second as Saint Mary's cut Gonzaga's lead to 46-40.

Shortly after, Williams-Goss erupted for five quick baskets as Gonzaga took a 63-52 lead, and the Gaels went into a prolonged drought.

Consecutive baskets by Williams lifted Gonzaga to a 67-52 lead with 4:50 left. Saint Mary's made just one of 12 field goal attempts at one point.

"We didn't close the last 10 minutes well at all, and then we lost our composure" Saint Mary's coach Randy Bennett said. "It should have been a good game but we didn't do our part to finish it."

POLL IMPLICATIONS:
Gonzaga is making a case to climb in the polls, while Saint Mary's is likely to drop as the game was not as close as anticipated.

STATS:
Gonzaga sank 33 of 51 shots, while the Gaels made just 23 of 58. Saint Mary's made just 6 of 16 from 3-point range.

BIG PICTURE:
Saint Mary's: The Gaels relinquished first place in the West Coast Conference. Saint Mary's is second in the nation in scoring defense, allowing only 56.6 points per game. Landale was held well below his averages of 17.8 points and 9.7 rebounds per game.

Gonzaga: The Bulldogs took over first place in the West Coast Conference. Gonzaga came in averaging 86 points, with five players averaging in double figures.

HOME COOKING:
Gonzaga is 170-13 in the McCarthey Athletic Center since it opened in 2004.

UP NEXT:
Saint Mary's hosts Pacific on Thursday.

Gonzaga plays at Santa Clara on Thursday.

Louisville has 'effectively fired' head coach Rick Pitino

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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

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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.