Skip to main content

Gonzaga falls short to Saint Mary's in 2024 WCC Tournament: 'We still have everything in front of us'

Bulldogs fall to the Gaels, 69-60, after a slow start offensively

Mark Few couldn't quite pinpoint the turning point for his Gonzaga Bulldogs in their 69-60 loss to the Saint Mary's Gaels in the 2024 West Coast Conference Tournament championship game on Tuesday.

Perhaps it was a clutch 3-pointer from Aidan Mahaney that made it a 63-57 game in the final minutes after Gonzaga had fought valiantly to overcome an 11-point deficit. Or maybe it was a midrange jumper from Mahaney over an outstretched Graham Ike moments later that made it a 7-point game. Both plays summed up a Saint Mary's team that made winning plays down the stretch on both ends of the floor to clinch the program's first conference tournament championship since 2019.

A slow start out of the gate didn't help Gonzaga's cause, either. Four turnovers in the opening minutes set the tone early, as the Gaels' swarming defense and physicality shocked the Zags from the opening tip.

"We just should have come a little bit more prepared for that," said Anton Watson of the Gaels' physicality. "The whole game it was just battle and I think we knew it was going to be."

Gonzaga got beat on the boards worse than it had all season long, as the Gaels owned a 39-22 advantage on the glass, including 12 offensive rebounds and 11 second-chance points. Mitchell Saxen had his way inside with 19 points and 15 rebounds on top of drawing eight fouls, a handful of which came at the expense of Ike.

Here are three takeaways from Gonzaga's loss.