Back with my day after West Virginia post. Gonzaga made quick work of the Mountaineers — just as it did eight months ago in the NCAA Tournament. It was the worst loss in coach Bob Huggins' six-year tenure at West Virginia. It was WVU's worst lost since an 84-46 setback to Villanova in Jan., 2005.
We linked to these late last night, but here's my game story, Jesse Tinsley's photos and John Blanchette's column. Here's a report from WVU sports information (with Huggins' blunt-as-always quotes), More from the Charleston Daily Mail.
—With all the links above, there’s not a whole lot of ground left to cover. Gonzaga played a ton of zone defense and it clearly left the errant-shooting Mountaineers frustrated. Of course, that was happening against GU’s man-to-man defense, too.
“I’m more happy defensively. I feel like if we play good defense, I play better offense,” guard Gary Bell Jr. said. “We’re trying to be way more aggressive on the defense end this year, be in the gaps and make plays.”
Of the zone defense, Bell said. “We worked on it a little bit in practice the last two days but we really don’t work on it that much. Just a matchup zone, it kind of hurt them. It looked like they were really frustrated. We just played really hard on the defensive end.”
Bellwas a force at both ends. He had 13 of his 15 points and all four of his assists in the first half. He finished 3 of 5 from long distance.
“I let the game come to me,” he said. “In the beginning it felt like I was trying to press but once the game came to me I felt a little better. ‘Stocks’ (David Stockton) found me and got me going a little bit, and it steamrolled through the whole team.”
—Gonzaga more than stood up to WVU’s physical style of play. There was little flow throughout because the teams were whistled for 52 combined fouls and attempted 61 free throws. GU won the boards, 38-36, but those numbers are probably skewed a bit because West Virginia had 18 offensive rebounds on 40 missed shots while GU had 11 offensive boards on 24 misses.
“It was much more physical (than Southern Utah),” center Przemek Karnowski said. “We knew it would be a really physical game. When we prepared Saturday and Sunday, the coaches told us to prepare for a physical game. We did a really good job to play tough, play hard, run hard.”
—Mike Hart had a career-high with 10 points. He made 2 of 2 3s, including an early one when GU began stretching its lead. He didn’t miss a shot (3 of 3 on FGs, 2 of 2 on FTs) and also had two rebounds, a block and a steal in 17 minutes.
—Guy Landry Edi’s two-game totals: 30 points, 14 rebounds.
STATS OF NOTE
—Interesting stat line for David Stockton. He had five assists, five turnovers, two boards and two steals.
—Nobody played more than 30 minutes. Bell and Sam Dower each logged 30 minutes. Kevin Pangos, battling foul trouble, played 18 minutes.
—GU has outscored WVU 161-104 in the last two meetings.
—The Bulldogs made 9 of 16 3s, WVU 3 of 26.
—Gonzaga had big edges in points off turnovers (25-11) and bench points (23-17).
Karnowski: “I thought it would be a close game. Everyone that came on the floor did a really good job. We had really good pressure on the ball, we didn’t let the big guy (Deniz Kilicli) duck in, we didn’t let them score easy points on layups and 3-pointers, and they missed so many shots.”
Few on Edi: “Guy also did a nice job tonight. He battled some bigger and probably more explosive athletes than him and did a real nice job carving out some space on the glass. He made strong simple plays and did a good job all night.”