Gonzaga Looks For Win #8 Against San Francisco, New Mexico Plays Boise State to Keep Top SpotBy Debbie B.
#5 Gonzaga (24-2, 11-0) continues sitting at the top for NCAA West teams in national rankings. It has won seven straight games and will look to keep the streak alive on Saturday against San Francisco (11-14, 4-8).
Joining the school in the Top 10 is #9 Arizona (20-4, 8-4). The Wildcats have struggled lately, losing two straight games against an improving Cal and Colorado. On Sunday, the team will play Utah (11-13, 3-9).
With another loss, will the team drop out of the Top 10?
Rounding out the AP Top 25 from the West, is the #19 Mountain West-leading New Mexico (21-4, 8-2). On Saturday they’ll play bubble team Boise State (16-7, 4-5).
#20 Oregon and #24 Colorado State round out the Top 25.
Gonzaga vs. San Francisco
So much for trying to achieve an eight-game win streak, Gonzaga will attempt to snap its three-game road losing streak against San Francisco.
They haven’t won on the Don’s home court since Feb. 14, 2009 and all of the games have been close losses including two overtimes and a last-second 66-65 defeat in 2012.
In that match up, Gonzaga suffered a season-high 22 turnovers but shot 51.1 percent.
The two teams have met once this year with Gonzaga winning 66-52 on Jan. 26. They slashed turnovers (eight) and held the Dons to 39.2 percent shooting while not allowing any of its players to hit double-digit scoring.
Fortunately for Gonzaga, Elias Harris plays well against the Dons. In January, he had a double-double (12 points and 11 rebounds) and in last season’s loss, scored a team-high 21 points with 11 boards.
For Saturday’s home team, they play better when they hit the road as they’re 1-5 over its previous six home games. They had an opportunity to win a third straight game on Thursday but lost–at home–against Portland, 78-76. They shot 41.3 percent and went 9 for 22 from beyond the arc.
The team’s leading scorer is Cole Dickerson, who had 17 points on Thursday; he leads the conference in rebounding at 9.8 per game.
The Bulldogs are poised to capture the Western Coast Conference title but need to get some road wins first. San Francisco doesn’t play well against Top 25 teams (3-20) and on Saturday, this will continue as Gonzaga gets the win (-12.5).
New Mexico vs. Boise St.
New Mexico will enter Saturday’s game looking for Mountain West home win No. 12 while Boise St will try to end a four-game road skid.
The two have already played one another this season on Jan. 16. After lagging behind by as much as nine points, New Mexico rallied and won 79-74 in overtime. Tony Snell had 22 points in the game, followed by Hugh Greenwood’s 15 points; nine came in overtime.
With the win, New Mexico snapped the Broncos’ seven-game win streak and handed them their only home loss for the season.
In the teams’ match up last season at New Mexico on March 3, Boise State got off to a good start but in the game’s last six minutes or so, New Mexico got hot and the Broncos lost 76-61.
This season they will bring the conference’s leading sophomore duo of Derrick Marks with his 16.6 point per game and Anthony Drmic at 16.1. Against New Mexico last month, Marks contributed 27 points and Drmic added 10.
The Broncos Jeff Elorriaga will also keep New Mexico’s defense on its toes. He sits at the top of the league for 3-pointers with his 46.1 percent. In the Jan. 16 game, he hit three of his team’s nine 3-pointers.
New Mexico will bring center Kenny Buckner who did not play against Boise St last month. He’ll assist Alex Kirk and Cameron Bairstow. This pair is tied for a team-high 57 points and a combined 75 rebounds since Bairstow returned to the lineup after missing five games.
New Mexico is a half-game ahead of Colorado State and will continue with its lead after its win over Boise State (-8).