Back with my game story from GU's 82-75 loss to Illinois in Champaign on Saturday. You're getting the hard copy because I've got a two-hour drive back to Indianapolis. I'll post a link later, but you can read my unedited game story below for now.
UPDATE: Here's the story link.
Next up was Gonzaga’s turnovers, many unforced, and Sacre fouling out. Finally, freshman guard
Through it all, the 19th-ranked Bulldogs managed to stay within striking distance but they didn’t play clean enough down the stretch, falling to the Illini 82-75 on Saturday. The victory could elevate
“Every time we made a run
“Great game, great energy, both teams played hard, but I thought
Sacre and Bell Jr. went down on nearly the identical spot on the court, both pursuing loose balls in the second half. Sacre immediately grabbed his neck and went to the bench for a few minutes. After scoring 14 points in the first half, he only had two in the second, a 12-footer jumper just before the shot-clock expired, bringing GU within 69-62 with 4:13 left. He fouled out on GU’s next possession.
“My neck got pulled back, but it’s all right,” he said.
Bell Jr. drove the lane and scored to trim
Gonzaga (5-1) lost this one much earlier. The Bulldogs led 6-4 early, and then spent the last 36 minutes chasing the Illini. Several times they caught up or made it a one-possession game, but they never took the lead as
Leonard heated up, making 7 of 9 shots in the final 17 minutes to finish with 21 points and six rebounds.
“We didn’t want him getting back to his left shoulder and he got to his left shoulder a couple times,” Few said. “Rob probably needed to get around and keep the ball out of there, instead of guarding him after he got the ball.”
The Zags kept threatening, closing to 52-48 on Bell Jr.’s 3-pointer, 58-56 on Pangos’ only 3-pointer and 62-58 when Elias Harris made a pair of free throws with 6:55 remaining. D.J. Richardson answered with two free throws and a key 3-pointer from the wing and Leonard added a dunk and 12-foot fall-away to give
During that stretch, Gonzaga committed four of its 10 second-half turnovers.
“We, especially me, had a couple of turnovers that really took the wind out of our sails,” said Stockton, who finished with nine points and three steals, but committed four turnovers.
Pangos (11 points, three assists) and Bell Jr. (nine points) held up well in their first road test, but the Zags had trouble keeping tabs on guards Richardson and Brandon Paul.
“Their motion is so hard to guard. (Coach Bruce Weber’s) guys sprint and move and come off multiple screens and he teaches his guys how to read screens,” Few said. “Two times we got caught on dunks when we were chasing Richardson and Paul around screens. That’s why we went zone, and it worked for a while.”
With Sacre struggling in the second half, Harris became GU’s primary option and he delivered 12 of his 19 points. He knocked down a 3-pointer but did most of his damage driving to the basket. He made 8 of 12 free throws, 7 of 9 in the second half.
“That’s the best team we’ve played,” Harris said. “I think they’re a little underrated. They have a bunch of really good players.”