St. Mary’s beats late money, Gonzaga in WCC race

Jan 11, 2005 5:55 AM


Gonzaga used to be the little guy knocking the big boys off as fans stormed the court in Spokane to celebrate. Well, now it’s happening to the Zags.

Saint Mary’s pulled off the biggest victory in the school’s basketball history, 89-81. It was the 11th straight without a loss in the Gaels’ new arena.

The Zags were done in by 16 three-point baskets, including a career-high seven from Paul Marigney. Saint Mary’s benefited from a raucous home crowd and catching Gonzaga two days off a tough four-point road win at Santa Clara.

Late money pushed Gonzaga to a two-point favorite from pick’em, a true indication that the underrated West Coast Conference is more than just the Zags and Pepperdine. Santa Clara and Saint Mary’s are clearly in the mix.

A team not in need of national acclaim is North Carolina, which trounced Maryland for its 12th straight victory. The only loss? The season opener to Santa Clara.

Illinois continues to head the GamingToday Top 25, which featured more than half a dozen upsets during the week. Saturday’s entire slate of games showed a 57 percent edge to the favorites against spread.

We’ll see if that similar pattern continues this week.

Tuesday, Jan. 11

Air Force at St. Mary’s: Can’t imagine the Gaels can possibly come down from the huge high of beating Gonzaga. The Air Force is deliberate, disciplined and a perfect foil to a team that likes to shoot the 3-ball. AIR FORCE.

Wednesday, Jan. 12

GW at St. Bonnie: The Bonnies will be a huge underdog, and they should. GW could win by 30, which we believe will cover. GW.

Thursday, Jan. 13

Marymount at Gonzaga: Loyola has the unenviable task of playing the Zags off a rare conference loss. In Spokane, no less! Hopefully, Turiaf will find his shooting touch. GONZAGA.

Saturday, Jan. 15:

Syracuse at PC: The CBS national game should bring plenty of energy to Providence, which has first-team All-America Ryan Gomes and a definite shot at the upset. PC.

Last week: 1-1-1

Season: 5-3-1