Aidan Mahaney and Mitchell Saxen led No. 18 Saint Mary’s to a 78-70 overtime win over No. 12 Gonzaga on Saturday night in an epic battle between two of the top teams in the West Coast Conference. Mahaney scored 18 points and took control of the game in crunch time, while Saxen added 15 points.
The Gaels (21-4, 10-0 West Coast Conference) trailed four points with five minutes left in regulation, but Mahaney scored or assisted 19 of 21 points in a stretch that put Saint Mary’s under control in overtime. He brought in a 3-pointer and then found Saxen with a no-look pass for a layup that made it 70-64.
Drew Timme scored 23 points to lead Gonzaga (19-5, 8-2), but he got little help offensively from the rest of his team. Alex Ducas also scored 14 points for Saint Mary’s.
The Gaels have been the only team to truly challenge the Bulldogs in WCC for more than a decade, with their 10 wins against Gonzaga since the start of the 2009-10 season more than triple the second-best team. This was the tenth time these teams had met as both were scored, with Gonzaga winning eight of the top nine. But the Gaels, for once, went into this duel as favorites and followed up on last year’s home win against the Bulldogs with another.
Timme passed Jim McPhee (2,015 points) to rank second on Gonzaga’s career scorer list with 2,031 points. He’s reappeared in key spots for the Bulldogs and still has a shot at breaking Frank Burgess’ school record of 2,196 points.
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