Zags frustrate Samhan

MORAGA, Calif. -- Omar Samhan, the West Coast Conference's leading scorer, was held without a field goal for nearly 14 minutes, and for a second, the Saint Mary's star center appeared to nearly lose it.

Samhan charged after Gonzaga's Robert Sacre after a hard foul, with nearly his entire team restraining him. Zags coach Mark Few signaled wildly for a technical foul, but didn't get it.

And to think, before the game in which Gonzaga leads 45-33 at halftime, Sacre had nice things to say about the chatterbox Samhan to The Spokesman-Review.

“I know he talks a lot of trash, but he really just came up to me (last year) and said, ‘I hope you get better from your (foot) injury, I hope everything is good and I hope your healthy, just keep working,’” Sacre said. “I’m like, ‘Who is this guy?’ You (media) guys put horns on him, but he has a halo around his head.”

Tonight, especially with 7:20 left in the first half, Samhan was not as angelic. Credit the Gonzaga defense for that. Samhan couldn't establish himself in the low post and missed his first five field goal attempts.

The heated sequence came after Samhan drove in for what appeared to be an open look, but was sent to the floor without a foul call. The ball was quickly stolen, with the pass going back to Samhan for what he hoped would be a dunk that would end his frustration.

Instead, Sacre fouled Samhan, who crashed into the basket support.

Elias Harris leads all scorers with 16 at the half, and Matthew Dellavedova is keeping the Gaels in the game with 15, going 4-for-4 from three-point range.

Dellavedova is one of three Australians in the lineup for Saint Mary's, and every time one of them scores, the student section here chants, "Aussie Aussie Aussie, Oi Oi Oi."

The Gaels would prefer it if Samhan, who has six points on 2-for-9 shooting, gets in on more of the scoring action in the second half.