Back with the game story from Gonzaga's 68-50 win over San Diego. Read on for the unedited version that will appear in Sunday's S-R.
And check back tomorrow for a day-after post.
Gonzaga avoided a potential let down and overcame
“Coach (Mark) Few just stressed that we’ve had such a great stretch, don’t let this opportunity pass you up,” junior guard Steven Gray said. “He said we were 40 minutes from completing one of the greatest strings we’ve had here. We looked at it that it was just 40 minutes, then it’s over and we can get back home and we get to play a few home games.”
The Bulldogs (14-3, 3-0 WCC) share first place with surprising Pepperdine (7-12, 3-0), which visits the
Gonzaga won its sixth straight game after its blowout loss to Duke in
Goodson was in the middle of GU’s two decisive runs. The Bulldogs gave up seven offensive rebounds, including a pair that led to De’Jon Jackson’s driving layup as USD led 18-15. But Harris’ post-up basket and Goodson’s 3-pointer started a 13-0 run and
Gonzaga led by nine at half and stretched it to 15 early in the second half as Goodson twice caught
“They were walking with their backs turned,” Goodson said, “so I just pushed it and kicked it to Steven.”
That combination worked again one minute later as Gray drained another 3, giving GU a 41-26 lead.
“Those are backbreakers,” said coach Bill Grier, whose team dropped to 8-12, 1-3.
The Toreros twice narrowed the gap to seven, but they made just two field goals in the final 11 minutes. In particular, Bulldogs guards limited counterparts Jackson and Brandon Johnson. The two combined for 27 points, but made just 9 of 29 shots.
“They’re hard because they use a lot of dribbles to initiate contact, so it’s kind of hard to guard those guys for 20 seconds,” Few said. “For the most part, I thought we did a pretty decent job.”
Gonzaga was comfortably in front 58-44 with 5:44 remaining when Harris landed hard on his lower back while pursuing an offensive rebound. He limped off the court under his own power and checked back in two minutes later. He scored on Gonzaga’s next two possessions.
“It was hurting so bad it was unbelievable, but now I’m good,” he said. “It hurts when I stand, but I think I just bruised it.”
Said Gray: “Everyone was like, ‘Oh no,’ but he said he should be fine. He’s been phenomenal. He’s going to pose big problems for the rest of the league and it was nice to see him go back in and continue to go to work in the paint.”
“We tried to make things tough for them,” Gray said. “I just tried to stay on their hip pocket, stay down and make them finish plays. That way at least they were earning things and not getting free buckets.”
Gonzaga’s offense was efficient, outside of a couple of brief turnover-prone stretches. The Bulldogs made 53.2 percent from the floor – their sixth consecutive game of hitting at least 49 percent. Harris and Gray were a combined 15 of 25.