As the second half got under way, it didn't appear that the No. 9 Gonzaga Bulldogs were going to have much trouble with the Saint Mary's Gaels at home on Thursday night. But as St. Mary's comeback attempts closed the gap, the Bulldogs never relinquished the lead, winning in the end, 83-78.
Gonzaga (16-1 overall, 3-0 in the West Coast Conference) stormed out to a 46-28 lead at halftime, pushing it to an even 20 at 48-28 in the first minute of the second half. From there, St. Mary's (12-4 overall, 1-1 in the WCC) began to slowly chip away at the lead, eventually knocking the Bulldogs' advantage down to 67-64 with a little more than six minutes to play.
But, just like a majority of the night, Gonzaga's seven-foot junior forward, Kelly Olynyk, couldn't be stopped. Olynyk scored nine of the team's final 16 points en route to finishing with a game-high 31 points (on 11-of-19 shooting) and eight rebounds.
Sophomore guard Kevin Pangos scored the other seven of the Bulldogs' final 16, ending up with 22 points on an efficient 8-of-12 shooting from the floor.
Saint Mary's was paced by junior guard Stephen Holt, who scored 23 points on 9-of-14 shooting. Guard Matthew Dellavedova and forward Beau Levesque (coming off the bench) each added 14 points in the Gaels' near-comeback bid.