Gaels and Zags collide in pivotal WCC matchup

First place in the West Coast Conference is at ranked Gonzaga Bulldogs head to the McKeon Pavilion for a battle with the Saint Mary's Gaels.

This has been arguably one of the most spirited rivalry in country over the past few seasons. Gonzaga holds a 53-25 edge all-time after a 75-63 victory in last year's WCC Tournament title game. Saint Mary's and the Bulldogs tied for the WCC regular-season title in 2010-2011.

Gonzaga won its eighth straight game on Saturday as it handled Santa Clara 82-60. The win improved the Bulldogs' record to 13-2 for the year. Head coach Mark Few has had a great deal of success in league play, leading his squad to either part of whole ownership of the last 11 WCC regular-season titles. Gonzaga has been great in league play so far, outscoring its first three conference rivals by an average margin of 29.7 ppg. The Bulldogs have the third best scoring offense (75.2 ppg) and the third best scoring defense (61.9 ppg) in the WCC this season.

The Bulldogs are led by the trio of Kevin Pangos, Elias Harris, and Sam Dower. Pangos is a lethal three-point threat. The freshman guard leads the team and is eighth in the WCC in scoring with 14.2 ppg. Harris is chipping in 12.7 ppg and a team high 7.7 rpg. The junior forward has scored in double- figures in seven of his last eight games. Dower has been hot as of late, averaging 12.1 ppg on 73.3 percent shooting from the field over his last eight games.

Saint Mary's comes in with a 15-2 overall record after defeating San Francisco 87-72 on Monday night for its fifth straight victory. The last Gaels' loss came at the hands of the still unbeaten Baylor Bears. Head coach Randy Bennett has led his team to a 4-0 start in the WCC, where the program has done very well in recent history. The Gaels have finished no lower than third in the conference in each of the last eight seasons. Saint Mary's leads the league in scoring defense, scoring margin, rebound margin, and assist to turnover ratio.

The Gaels are led by the dynamic duo of Rob Jones and Matthew Dellavedova. Jones is averaging a team-best 15.4 points and a conference-leading 10.5 rebounds per game. The senior forward has been phenomenal as he has already recorded 10 double-doubles this season. Dellavedova is one of the best point guards in the nation this season. The Australian guard is averaging 15.2 ppg and a WCC-best 6.5 apg. Stephen Holt is making his mark on the defensive end, as he leads the league with 2.0 steals per game. Holt also leads the WCC with a 2.2 assist to turnover ratio. The sophomore guard has been electric in league play, shooting 80 percent from the field and 70 percent from three- point range.