Even with the benefit of instant replay, I’m still not completely sure where Steven Gray dinged his right big toe last night. More on Gray and the Zags in my day-after post below.
(I’ll post my GU-Baylor preview early this afternoon).
—Nearly forgot to post the link to my game story.
—I watched the replay, in particular the sequence where I’m guessing Gray hurt his toe, a couple times last night and a couple more this morning. Watched it in actual time, and I slowed it to 1/15th speed and 1/4th speed. It looks like he did it after deflecting a pass out front. He chased the ball toward the sideline but started to pull up when he knew he couldn’t reach it in time. David Stockton joins the chase from the wing and it appears the two briefly bump into each other. Gray takes a hobbled step or two, then heads for the bench during a timeout.
That’s my best guess when it happened (perhaps an alert viewer with 20-15 vision saw something else?). Anyway, Gray didn’t return in the first half, and actually left the bench to have the toe looked at by the training staff. I asked him if he had X-rays and he shook his head.
“Nope, they just touched it, poked around at it, that was that,” he said. “I’m not (concerned).” His body language seemed to back up his words.
He wasn’t icing the toe, he wasn’t hobbling around and he said he’ll play Saturday against Baylor.
—One of the game’s more impressive plays came about as the result of Robert Sacre hustling down an offensive rebound in the first half. He ran the ball down near the sideline, jumped and fired it back underneath to Elias Harris for a dunk.
—Stockton provided an immediate boost when he entered the game early in the first half. He drew a charge and fed the ball inside on 2-3 straight possessions. He later made a couple of 3s, dished to Marquise Carter for an easy layup and drew another charging foul.
Mathis Mönninghoff also drew a charge in the first half.
—The Zags had 25 assists and 85 points with nine minutes left, in the neighborhood of GU’s single-game assists record (32). The offense slowed a bit and GU registered just two more assists the rest of the way.
—Gonzaga continues to have success at the free-throw line. GU is shooting 73.4 percent this season after coming in at 66.4 percent last year. Sacre has made a huge jump (44 of 55, 80 percent), which carries additional importance because he leads the team in attempts. He made 62.9 percent last season and has never been above 63.4 percent in his career.
STATS OF NOTE
—All kinds of season/career highs last night. As you’d expect, most involved the younger players who haven’t been involved in a ton of games.
I might overlook one or two, but here’s a rundown: Kelly Olynyk, career-high 14 points. Harris, season-high 19 points, season-best nine boards. Mönninghoff, career-high 15 points. Mike Hart, career-high five boards. Mathis Keita, career-best seven points.
—Points off turnovers: GU 29-4. Fastbreak points: GU 12-0.
— Mönninghoff 5 of 6 3-pointers, Olynyk 2 of 2,
—Demetri Goodson was the only Zag who didn’t score. He had three assists and two turnovers.
—Olynyk also had four assists, Sam Dower three and Sacre two. Against LCSC’s undersized frontcourt, GU had numerous high-low, post-to-post feeds.
Few: “We were able to get Steve out in the second half and then Rob and ‘E’ didn’t have to do too much but those other guys deserve that time, too. We’ve been through so many tough games that we haven’t been quite able to maybe go as deep in the bench as we like at this time of the year. It was nice to see (Mathis) Keita. He’s been working really, really hard and eventually he’ll help us down the road as he gets more and more comfortable. Obviously Mike Hart plays so darn hard. It’s great to reward him with some time.”
Gray: “It’s tough to have fun when you’re losing the way we have been. It’s been a long non-conference. It was nice to get back home and be able to get out and enjoy ourselves like that. Hopefully we’ll bring that same mentality on Saturday. That would be another big step to take.”
Carter: “When you have fun playing basketball, good things happen.”