Between my game story, John Blanchette's column on Gerard Coleman and Dan Pelle's photo gallery, most of what needed to be written or pictured following Gonzaga's 93-61 dismantling of Colorado State was in today's S-R.
But we have a few more items below in the day-after post.
--Gary Bell Jr. hit eight 3s and scored a career-best 24 points, but he didn’t take the night off defensively. He was often guarding Daniel Bejarano, who had a miserable night (3 of 14 FG, 9 points, 3 turnovers).
Sam Dower Jr. made all 4 of his FG attempts and finished with eight points and nine rebounds. He, too, had a tough defensive assignment, J.J. Avila. Avila managed just two points on 1 of 5 shooting. Avila, Bejarano and Jon Octeus (27 points) will likely be CSU’s top three scorers.
An interesting stat from The Coloradoan’s game story: Only nine of CSU’s 56 field-goal attempts were high-percentage looks.
“I thought we were good (defensively) against a physical team,” coach Mark Few said. “We want to get in the gaps a little bit and stay in there and make plays and I thought we did a nice job. The best thing, I thought, was we were physical on the boards.”
--Gonzaga won the glass 39-33, led by Przemek Karnowski’s 10 and Dower’s 9. No CSU player had more than five. The Rams were the nation’s best rebounding team last year, but they graduated five players and don’t have a lot of bulk inside.
“I was focused on the rebounding for sure because the first game didn’t go as I wanted,” said Karnowski, who had just one board vs. Bryant in 12 minutes. “Me and Sam did a really good job at first.”
--GU’s offense was wildly efficient last night. The Zags made 34 of 59 shots (57.6 percent), 14 of 31 3s (45.2 percent). CSU was content to pack the paint with defenders and Gonzaga made the Rams pay with precision perimeter shooting. Bell’s shots didn’t touch the rim very often.
CSU defenders numerous times went under screens, leaving Bell/Pangos/Stockton open beyond the arc. Those three went 13 of 25 from long distance. As Few pointed out, Bell has improved on his ability to create off ball screens.
Paint points weren’t as available, in part because of CSU’s philosophy, but Gonzaga still had a 36-20 edge there. The Bulldogs were solid in transition (12-4 scoring edge) as Gerard Coleman and David Stockton triggered the running game.
“If we can play like that, we’re going to be a very difficult team to beat, especially when we’re focusing on (the opposing) players’ tendencies and what they want to do,” Coleman said. “I think offensively we’re one of the best in the country.”
STATS OF NOTE
--It’s early, but the new rules/emphasis is evident in Gonzaga’s foul totals. GU averaged 15.7 fouls per game last year, 18.5 in the first two games this season.
--Karnowski had four of GU’s 10 turnovers.
--Luke Meikle and walk-on Brian Bhaskar scored the first baskets of their GU careers.
--Before missing his last three 3s, Bell was 11 of 14 from long distance on the season.
--Bell has played 53 minutes in two games. He has six assists and one turnover.
--Kevin Pangos has played 49 minutes in two games. He has eight assists and one turnover.
Bell: “I don’t think I’ve ever hit eight 3s. In high school I think the most was six, maybe seven.”
ESPN’s Roxy Bernstein: “First appearance for Griffin Connor, a freshman from Portland, a walk-on, as David Stockton’s evening appears to be complete.” (Bernstein later corrected his mistake).
Few on Bell’s run at Pangos/Dickau school-record nine 3-pointers: “We tried to get him some shots there at the end but we didn’t want to get too carried away. Again, he was doing a good job of hunting it and we felt he was feeling it, so we need him to do that when he’s like that. Not any of them were bad shots, so that’s a good thing.”
Few on Coleman: “He is doing what we need him to do. He needs to pick us up, he needs to give us a different look. He is picking his spots pretty well right now, knowing when to do it and when not to. He is different than what we’ve had in the past and he is growing defensively — it’s hard not to from he started defensively — but he is actually growing, so that’s a good sign, too.”
CSU coach Larry Eustachy: “(Jon) Octeus (27 points) was the only guy that showed up. He’s competitive, it (the environment) didn’t bother him. Other guys have been role players and we need them to step up.”
Few on GU handling its first two opponents: “I think Bryant will win 23 games. This team is in the Mountain West so it’ll be a good RPI. That’s how we tried to set this schedule up.”