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Day after Portland

These 8 p.m. starts aren’t real conducive to gathering post-game notes and quotes, but we did get about 10 minutes of interview time following Gonzaga’s 93-78 win over Portland on Thursday in an entertaining men’s basketball game.

Here are links to the Oregonian’s Ryan White and Jim Beseda, and the Portland Tribune’s gamer and column.  

Read on my day after post.

 


Portland junior wing Nik Raivio, younger brother of ex-Zag Derek Raivio, scored 18 points on 5 of 21 shooting in his first two games against Gonzaga. He had 17 points in the first half Thursday, draining three 3-pointers and 6 of 10 shots, including one fadeaway 15-footer over Matt Bouldin that was set up by a behind-the-back dribble.

“The first few, he just got away,” GU’s Steven Gray said. “He got those first few to drop and from there he basically put on a show. He was just hitting everything.”

The Bulldogs collared Raivio in the second half with a zone defense. He made 1 of 6 field-goal attempts after intermission and finished with 19 points.

“It was just giving him a different look,” Gray said. “In a zone it’s easier to be able to focus more attention, more help on him.”

Added head coach Mark Few: “Switching our defense slowed him down a little bit. We did a better job of guarding him on the bounce than we did in the first half.”

—Gonzaga’s five starters were in double figures for the first time since the Santa Clara game. All five scored at least 14 points. Against Santa Clara, Jeremy Pargo and Josh Heytvelt each had 11.

The five starters were 30 of 51 from the floor and 8 of 14 from the 3-point line. Guards Bouldin, Pargo and Gray made 21 of 29 shots, 7 of 10 3s and combined for 62 points, 13 assists, six steals and just three turnovers. Bouldin played 39 minutes, Gray 38 and Pargo 36.

Pargo had a highlight-reel play when he forced a turnover, went the length of the court and did a 360-degree spin to make a short banker over T.J. Campbell, who was in pretty good defensive position.

“We’ve had bits and pieces, we’ve had two or three guys have nights like that, but I definitely think this was one of first times in a while where it was coming from everywhere,” Gray said. “It puts it into perspective what this team can accomplish if we get everything clicking at the same time.”

—Gonzaga, which has had its struggles at the free-throw line, was 11 of 11 in the first half and made 16 straight at one point. The Bulldogs misfired in the latter stages to finish 23 of 31.

—A bit overshadowed in Bouldin’s 26-point night was his eight assists, two shy of his career record. Bouldin and Pargo each had three steals, picking off several sloppy passes on the perimeter when the Zags went to a zone at the outset of the second half.

Some other statistics that stood out: Portland had one turnover in the first half, nine in the second. GU had just two points from its bench in 27 minutes of playing time. Portland had 17, led by Luke Sikma’s 10.

All six Zags’ steals came in the second half. GU made its first five 3-pointers before Micah Downs missed from long distance with 7:30 left in the first half.

The scored was tied eight times and there were 11 lead changes in the first 20 minutes, but Gonzaga took the lead for good on Gray’s layup 30 seconds into the second half.

QUOTEBOOK

Mark Few on the second half: “I thought we cranked it up defensively. We used (a zone) we hadn’t played in a while and our deflections went up, we drove their shooting percentage down. Coming into this game and probably over the last 2-3 weeks and the first half, I don’t think anybody was playing better offensively than Portland. They were really clicking and really shooting the ball from a bunch of different spots.”

Pargo on GU’s approach: “One of the things going through my mind was to come out and play hard and match their intensity. They’re a team that plays hard every single time on the court and they’ve beaten teams by playing hard. We didn’t want to let that happen where they out-scrap us and out-tough us. I felt we matched it pretty well in the second half.”

Few on Austin Daye’s and Heytvelt’s presence in the second half: “We survived a lot of foul trouble in the first half, Austin was out, Josh was out for a long stretch of the first half. Once we got those two back we were a little more versatile and we can make plays inside.”

Pargo on Raivio: “He’s tough to guard. He got it going in the first half. That was one of the things we wanted to focus on was not giving him easy shots and take away as much as we could in the second half.”

Few on the first-half defense: “I thought we lacked some real intensity and I thought our alertness wasn’t up to where it needs to be and where we’ve been all year.”

Few on the victory: “This is a good win because I think we took a pretty good shot by them and we didn’t get knocked down. We stepped up and made some plays.”

 


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