(Sports Network) – The Gonzaga Bulldogs began the season ranked in the Top 25, but stumbled to a 5-5 start after struggling to beat the nation’s elite.
On Saturday, though, the Bulldogs finally got their signature win of their non-conference schedule.
Robert Sacre scored 17 points, and Gonzaga (6-5) notched a 68-64 win over the ninth-ranked Baylor Bears in The Showcase at American Airlines Center.
Marquise Carter scored 13 points, including five free throws in the last minute that helped the Bulldogs beat a ranked school for the first time this season.
While Gonzaga has beat up on its lesser opponents, four of its five losses have come to teams currently ranked in the AP Poll.
Perry Jones III scored a game-high 19 points for the Bears (7-1), who had attained their highest ranking in school history with a season-opening seven- game win streak. LaceDarius Dunn added 17 points, as Baylor was held to a 34.6 shooting percentage from the floor in defeat.
The Bears, who had notched at least 11 assists in each of their seven wins, managed only six as a team on Saturday.
The 64 points was also the second-lowest total of the season.
The largest margin the entire game was six, and the first 19 minutes of the second half passed without either school leading by more than four.
Baylor’s final lead came with just over two minutes to play after a Jones jumper and two Quincy Acy free throws provided a 59-58 score, but Kelly Olynyk quickly responded for Gonzaga with a three-pointer.
Jones’ potential game-tying jumper for the Bears missed, and Demetri Goodson poured in two free throws to extend the Bulldogs’ advantage to 63-59 with 1:35 to play
Gonzaga carried its lead into the final minute, and Carter made sure Baylor’s strategy to foul him didn’t pay off. He went to the line three different times in the final 45 seconds, making five of his six attempts to prevent a comeback.
Gonzaga went 20-for-24 from the free throw line to tie a season-best in percentage (83.3)…Baylor shot a season-worst 16.7 percent from three-point range…The Bulldogs have won the three all-time matchups between the schools…Acy had 11 points.