Gonzaga got an easy win. Senior guard Matt Bouldin got a bump on his head.
The 21st-ranked Bulldogs delivered the rout most expected, taking control of their non-conference men’s basketball game against NCAA Division III Augustana midway through the first half and coasting to a 79-40 victory in front of 6,000 Wednesday at the McCarthey Athletic Center.
The biggest question on the minds of GU fans was the status of Bouldin, who left with 6:54 remaining in the first half after a head-to-head collision with Augustana’s Troy Rorer on the baseline.
“I got clocked really good in the head,” said Bouldin, who didn’t return for the second half. “My head hurts now. I couldn’t tell you anything about the play.”
Bouldin said he’ll undergo additional tests to determine if he’ll play against Davidson in the Battle in Seattle on Saturday at KeyArena. Bouldin said he’s had a concussion before and was pretty sure he suffered another one.
“I don’t want you to ask questions and I repeat them over and over,” Bouldin joked. Freshman guard Grant Gibbs, at the adjacent locker, interjected, “Tell him you’re excited to play Michigan State.”
Responded Bouldin: “He thinks that’s funny.”
On the court, Gonzaga (7-2) went in front 20-7, but Augustana crawled within 20-11 when Kyle Nelson scored in transition and was fouled. He missed the free throw and the 15th-ranked Vikings (5-1) missed a whole bunch of shots – free throws, jumpers, 3-pointers – the rest of the half.
Gonzaga scored 20 of the next 21 points, with guard Steven Gray and reserves Bol Kong and G.J. Vilarino combining for 13 points, as the Zags led 40-14 at half.
The Bulldogs stretched their lead to 30 early in the second half after buckets by Robert Sacre and Elias Harris. Twelve Bulldogs scored and all 14 played.
“They’ve been busting their tails all year in practice,” head coach Mark Few said, “and it’s great for them to get out and play in front of the fans.”
Gray led Gonzaga with 12 points, snapping out of a recent mini shooting slump with a pair of 3-pointers. Vilarino and Kong, who started in place of Bouldin in the second half, each scored 10 points. Gibbs and Sacre each had eight points.
“Everybody played hard, our defense was good and we got stops,” Vilarino said. “We were running in transition and playing our game.”
Augustana, which came in shooting 35.3 percent from 3-point range, missed their first 15 3s before Mike Avallone connected with 15:05 remaining. The Vikings made just 1 of 21 3-pointers. Avallone’s shot trimmed GU’s lead to 27, but it quickly grew to 36 on a Harris’ steal and dunk. The final margin was Gonzaga’s largest lead.
The stat sheet had a few blemishes. Gonzaga, after a 21-of-34 effort versus Wake Forest, made just 17 of 30 at the free-throw line. The Bulldogs allowed 18 offensive rebounds, another sore spot in the previous two games.
“We didn’t shoot free throws very well, but it probably wasn’t a problem with the main group,” Few said. “I thought we played with more purpose and energy on defense and we shared the ball pretty well on offense. I still don’t think we’re pursuing the ball as well as need to do on the glass. That’s something we have to fix by Saturday.”
Gonzaga 79, Augustana 40
Percentages: FG .270, FT .385. 3-Point Goals: 1-21, .048 (Avallone 1-5, Nelson 0-1, DeSimone 0-2, Anderson 0-3, Pelton 0-5). Team Rebounds: 3. Blocked Shots: 3 (Green 2). Turnovers: 20 (Anderson 6). Steals: 10 (DeSimone 3). Technical Fouls: Team.
Percentages: FG .509, FT .567. 3-Point Goals: 4-14, .286 (Gray 2-4, Gibbs 1-2, Kong 1-3, Bouldin 0-1, Vilarino 0-1, Olynyk 0-1). Team Rebounds: 5. Blocked Shots: 7 (Foster 2). Turnovers: 13 (Gray 4). Steals: 14 (Gray 3). Technical Fouls: None.
Halftime–Gonzaga 40, Augustana 14. A–6,000.