Yesterday's big Metro Conference basketball game between third-ranked Gonzaga and fourth-ranked DeMatha was like a dream for one team, a nightmare for the other.

The celebrator was DeMatha, which staged one of its typical clinics and dismantled a good Gonzaga team, 75-51, before a standing-room crowd at Gonzaga.

"Everything just went right," said DeMatha Coach Morgan Wootten. "The execution was there, the defense played well and the bench contributed. And we came out and played just as hard in the second half."

The game was practically decided by halftime. Stags center Jerrod Mustaf had 16 of his game-high 29 points and half of his 10 rebounds; Rod Balanis, the Stags' designated three-point shooter, successfully performed his specialty three times; Reggie Veney added a pair of three pointers and had four assists, and Ken Blakeney scored eight of his 10 points before intermission.

The visitors held the Eagles to seven points in that key second quarter and rushed ahead to lead, 44-23, at intermission.

"That was it," Gonzaga Coach Dick Myers said. "They shot the bell extremely well, we picked up some fouls and didn't handle their press. We were just flat. I think we played about as bad as they played good. They gave us a clinic out there."

The outmanned Purple Eagles (11-2, 3-1 in the league) made some early shots and did a good job outhustling the much taller Stags (13-2, 4-0) in taking an early 12-7 lead. But the Stags, who earlier this week beat No. 6 McNamara, 54-53, and are the only unbeaten team in conference play, slowly got back in the game.

Mustaf made three free throws and a short jumper in the lane, Bobby Hill had two free throws and Balanis threw in two rainbow jumpers from beyond three-point range, his second one coming just before the buzzer, to boost DeMatha to a 20-16 lead.

The crowd was about to settle back and enjoy what was expected to be a close game. So much for expectations.

Veney opened the second period with a three-pointer. David Credle (eight points) scored for Gonzaga but Veney connected again over the sagging Eagles zone for a 25-18 DeMatha lead.

"They were hitting from outside and we had to go man to man," Myers said. "Then they went inside."

DeMatha's statisticians keep a chart on how many times the ball goes inside. Yesterday, Mustaf and his fellow front line players got the ball inside the paint area 24 times and they delivered. Mustaf had seven more points, Balanis sank another three-pointer and Blakeney, who plays at breakneck speed, ran past the frustrated Eagles for eight straight points. Blakeney's spurt capped a 11-0 run that allowed the Stags to pull away from a 31-23 lead to a more comfortable 44-23 lead.

Gonzaga went almost three minutes without a point, committing four turnovers, missing three shots and three front ends of one-and-one situations.

"I think we came ready to play this one," Balanis said. "I know I've had a couple of tough games {he missed nine three-point tries against McNamara} and shooting is mental. Coach told me to get in the flow first before shooting. I did that and the first couple of shots felt good."