Zach Norvell Jr. scored a game-high 18 points as No. 17 Gonzaga pounced on Howard early and often en route to a 106-69 victory Tuesday at the McCarthey Athletic Center.
The Bulldogs (2-0) spent most of the first half producing high-flying highlights, but the biggest moment came on a Johnathan Williams layup with five minutes remaining before halftime as the senior forward scored his 1,000th career point.
Five Zags finished in double figures, including freshman forward Corey Kispert, who earned his second start in as many game for coach Mark Few. Other double-figure scorers were Williams, Silas Melson, Rui Hachimura and Norvell Jr.
Gonzaga finished shooting 57 percent from the floor and 40 percent from deep, with four players hitting three 3-pointers (Kispert, Perkins, Norvell Jr. and Jesse Wade).
Defensively, the Zags held Howard (0-3) to just 31 percent shooting, while dominating the Bison on the glass 51-33.
The Bulldogs return to the court Saturday when they host Utah State at 7 p.m.
Norvell Jr. and the Gonzaga bench played most of the second half with the Bulldogs in control early against the Bison.
This story will be updated.
Norvell Jr. now has a team-leading 18 points on 7 of 14 shooting. Wade has also gotten into the scoring party with a pair of 3-pointers.
Howard has closed the rebounding gap, but the Bulldogs still hold a 49-32 advantage.
Jeremy Jones and Jesse Wade got into the game after preseason injuries kept both players out of the exhibition win over College of Idaho. Jones made his presence known quickly with a huge block that led to a Norvell Jr. slam on the other end.
Norvell Jr. also hit the Bulldogs’ 10th 3-pointer of the evening, giving him 11 points and the team five players in double figures (Kispert, Williams, Hachimura and Melson).
Zach Norvell Jr. also joined the dunk party, taking a quick outlet pass down the floor and slamming it home.
Gonzaga is still shooting above 50 percent from the floor (57.5) and 45 percent from deep.
The Zags have also extended their dominance on the glass, as they now hold a 37-16 rebounding advantage over the Bison.
Gonzaga 54, Howard 27: Corey Kispert has 11 points, including three 3-pointers, and the Gonzaga defense has held visiting Howard to just 25 percent shooting in a dominating first half Tuesday at the McCarthey Athletic Center.
The opening 20 minutes was a high-flying display for Gonzaga, highlighted by a Rui Hachimura one-handed slam.
Gonzaga matched its offensive intensity on the other side of the court as well, pressuring the Bison into both shot clock and 10-second violations.
Howard did end the half on a positive note, as Kyle Foster hit a buzzer-beater to end a 5:24 streak without a field goal.
Perkins finished the half with nine points, while Williams led the Zags with seven rebounds.
Halftime – Gonzaga 54, Howard 27: Hachimura has been perfect from the floor for the Zags in the first half, going 3 for 3 from the floor and making both of his free throw attempts.
Hachimura’s eight points leads all bench players for Gonzaga, and would make him Howard’s leading scorer.
Gonzaga also held the Bison without a field goal over the final 5:24 until Kyle Foster hit a buzzer-beating 3-pointer.
3:43 – Gonzaga 47, Howard 23: Offense starting to slow a bit for the Zags as Howard has made a couple of buckets on the other end of the floor.
Williams had a team-best seven rebounds to go along with his milestone-setting three points.
The Bulldogs are shooting 55 percent from the floor in the first 12 minutes, while the Bison are hovering around the 30 percent mark.
5:00 – Gonzaga 47, Howard 23: With a running layup down the baseline at the five-minute mark remaining in the half, Gonzaga forward Johnathan Williams surpassed the 1,000-point mark for his career.
5:58 – Gonzaga 45, Howard 18: Another Kispert 3-pointer forces a Howard timeout as the Bulldogs continue to turn up the tempo on offense.
Scoring leaders: Kispert 11, Perkins 9, Melson 7, Tillie 6.
7:26 – Gonzaga 39, Howard 15: The Bulldogs turned their defense up to a suffocating level, keeping Howard scoreless for more than three minutes.
In that time, the tandem of Killian Tillie and Jacob Larsen combined to score 11 points.
Gonzaga went into the under-timeout riding a pair of 3-pointers from Silas Melson and Perkins, who now has nine points.
11:59 – Gonzaga 25, Howard 8: True freshman forward Corey Kispert continues to show why he’s in coach Mark Few’s starting lineup.
Kispert hit a pair of 3-pointers and is up to a team-best eight points as the Bulldogs extended its early lead.
The highlight of the game so far though goes to Rui Hachimura, who threw down a huge dunk while getting fouled.
Gonzaga went into the under-12 media timeout by forcing a 10-second call on the Bison, which have still yet to find much of an offensive flow.
15:37 – Gonzaga 12, Howard 3: Josh Perkins hit a pair of early 3-pointers and the Gonzaga defense has put the pressure on early, holding Howard to just 14 percent shooting from the field.
The Bulldogs are also dominating on the boards, outrebounding the Bison 9-2.
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