Gonzaga got an exhibition men’s basketball win – and several items to work on.
Curtailing turnovers will probably be at the top of the practice agenda after the Bulldogs committed 12 in the first half of their 90-58 rout of Southern Oregon in front of 6,000 Friday at the McCarthey Athletic Center.
GU was turnover-free most of the second half before finishing with four turnovers in the final 6 minutes. It hardly mattered on the scoreboard as the Bulldogs overwhelmed the NAIA visitors from Ashland. GU led 44-24 at intermission and by as many as 39 in the second half.
“He (head coach Mark Few) just flat-out told us (at half) we can’t turn the ball over like that,” senior guard Steven Gray said. “We have to clean things up with our feet and not force passes into the post. Just make simpler plays.”
Ten Bulldogs scored in the first half and five eventually reached double figures. Gray and redshirt freshman forward Sam Dower each scored 17 points. Demetri “Meech” Goodson had 12 points, seven boards and three assists. Robert Sacre and Kelly Olynyk combined for 23 points, 19 boards and four blocks.
Gray, JC transfer Marquise Carter and walk-on sophomore Mike Hart started in the backcourt. Goodson, who had seven points and three rebounds coming off the bench in the first half, joined Gray and Carter as second-half starters.
“Nobody has really totally established themselves at that (point guard) spot, or at several spots on the perimeter,” Few said. “It depends on what practice you watch or scrimmage or game. I thought ‘Meech’ was really good, so starting Monday we’ll probably start giving him some more reps.”
Gonzaga led by nine points 5 minutes in and stretched it to 19-7 after Dower swatted a shot and Goodson raced down court for a three-point play. It was 35-15 after Mathis Keita’s putback basket with 6:32 left, but the Zags got careless with the ball, leading to a 5-minute, 10-second field goal drought. Shortly after the 10th turnover of the half, Few sent five players to check in at the scorer’s table.
Dower scored eight points in a 3-minute span early in the second half.
Sophomore forward Elias Harris sat out with what he described as “basically a badly bruised (left) shoulder,” but he expects to be ready for Friday’s season-opener against Southern.