Busy day ahead with Gonzaga playing another matinee contest at noon local time (2 PST). Strange to be covering games at that time. GU has almost always played night games, typically the last game of the night, in Maui and the Old Spice Classic, but the first-round loss to Dayton, which let Baylor off the hook in the semifinals, put the Zags on an adjusted schedule.
--Really not much to dissect from the runaway victory over Chaminade. It was a mismatch, Chaminade’s top player, Christophe Varidel, was slowed by Gonzaga’s defense and tendinitis and the Silverswords didn’t have the size or bulk to deal with the Bulldogs inside.
Varidel played just 21 minutes. He scored eight points on 3-of-7 shooting as Kevin Pangos, Gary Bell Jr. and Kyle Dranginis took turns defending the 6-3 guard.
“We usually don’t play teams that we have to double-team,” Chaminade coach Eric Bovaird said, “so we don’t work on that kind of stuff all the time. Usually our big guys can just handle the other team’s big guys.”
GU’s Karnowski and Dower combined for 29 points and 16 boards in just 45 minutes.
--Coleman was electric off the bench, scoring 19 points in 23 minutes. He also had two boards, two assists, two blocks and a steal. On one of the blocks, he swooped in from behind to erase a Chaminade player’s layup attempt, but he came up hobbling – not a sight GU followers want to see with GU already on a thin eight-man rotation.
It turned out to be a leg cramp and he returned in a couple of minutes after drinking a bottle of juice.
Coleman has run hot or cold in six games, three with 15 to 19 points and three with 0 to 7 points. He said after the game that assistant coach Tommy Lloyd has told him to move the ball when he first checks in instead of trying to create on his first touch or two.
GU did something similar with Drew Barham last season. When he entered the game, Barham often turned down an open 3-point look, dished the ball and got into the flow of the game before launching a shot. He seemed to become more comfortable and his 3-point percentage began climbing.
--Few was asked about the play of David Stockton, who had six points and seven assists vs. Dayton but just two points, two assists and three turnovers against Chaminade.
“He’s a phenomenal passer and a great decision maker and he’s one of our tougher guys so it’s not about his scoring,” Few said. “It’s about him making the right plays and giving us kind of a tough, hard-nosed, scrappy entity that kind of needs to be the face of the program a little bit. That’s what it’s been through all these years.
“I mean, I’m not concerned. He kind of comes and goes on the shooting or the scoring.”
--Gonzaga-Arkansas will be an interesting matchup. I saw enough of the Arkansas game to witness a very athletic crew with driving and rebounding ability, not to mention that non-stop pressure defense all over the court. And the Razorbacks are shooting above 40 percent from long distance, so it won’t be as simple as sagging off the perimeter. Arkansas made 8 of 17 3s vs. Minnesota.
“We have to be really strong and have a fortitude about us mentally and physically to take care of the ball and to stay in attack mode,” Few said. “But we do have basically three point guards out there and almost four when you add Dranginis. That’s a lot of good decision makers, but again they just bring something that we don’t face. I don’t even think we saw it last year.
“I was just talking to (Cal coach Mike) Montgomery and they had all week to put in a bunch of press breaks. We don’t have that luxury so we’ll just kind of go with what we have.”
--Arkansas leads the SEC in turnover margin (+5.6) and just over half (51.3 percent) of the team’s scoring comes from a deep bench.
“The big thing is not to panic against the press, take your time and just make the right reads,” Coleman said.
Added Pangos: “Just taking shots on our terms, whether that’s getting it to our post players or not rushing things and taking care of the ball.
STATS OF NOTE
--Gonzaga made 13 3s vs. Chaminade, its fourth game with at least 10 3s.
--The Zags’ 21 assists was a season high.
--Olynyk was the only Zag to foul out of a game last year. It happened twice. Three Zags (Pangos, Karnowski and Dower) have fouled out this year, all in the Dayton game.
--Opponents have taken 31 more free throws than Gonzaga through six games. With Olynyk and Harris last year, GU shot 216 more free throws than opponents.
--Gary Bell Jr. has a 4.25 assist-to-turnover ratio.
Coleman on bouncing back from Dayton: “It’s a long season. We just said, ‘’Keep our heads up and keep moving, on to the next one.’ If you dwell on the past, it’s going to affect you in the future.”
Pangos: “Same thing (Wednesday), a quick turnaround. Even if the shot is not falling you’ve got to find a different way to do things and play as a team. It’s not going to be one guy throughout the whole thing so we’ve got to play as a unit.”
Karnowski on GU’s defensive approach: “(Varidel) was our red alert, to guard him and help on him.”