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Johnathan Williams returns from injury to lead No. 15 Gonzaga past San Francisco 75-65

UPDATED: Sat., Jan. 13, 2018, 11:16 p.m.

Gonzaga’s Josh Perkins, left, lays up a shot over San Francisco’s Erik Poulsen (31) during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game Saturday, Jan. 13, 2018, in San Francisco. (Ben Margot / Associated Press)
Gonzaga’s Josh Perkins, left, lays up a shot over San Francisco’s Erik Poulsen (31) during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game Saturday, Jan. 13, 2018, in San Francisco. (Ben Margot / Associated Press)

SAN FRANCISCO – Johnathan Williams returned from injury to score 16 points and grab nine rebounds as No. 15 Gonzaga (16-3 overall, 6-0 WCC) overcame a sluggish second-half start to defeat San Francisco (10-9, 2-4) 75-65 on Saturday at War Memorial Gymnasium.

Williams missed all of the second half against Portland on Thursday after hitting his right knee. The senior forward returned to the Bulldogs’ starting lineup Saturday.

Josh Perkins added 16 points and Silas Melson scored 14 for the Zags. Rui Hachimura was the only other Gonzaga player in double figures with 10 points.

Gonzaga once again shot over 50 percent from the floor (52.8), while hitting 36.8 percent from 3-point range.

San Francisco was led by freshman guard Souley Boum’s game-high 22 points, while Frankie Ferrari added 18.

The Bulldogs outrebounded the Dons 42-29, but lost the turnover battle 13-8. Gonzaga also found itself in foul trouble early in both halves, but the Dons failed to convert from the charity stripe, knocking down just 9 of 19 free throws.

Next up for the Zags is a visit from Saint Mary’s at 6 p.m. Thursday (ESPN). The Bulldogs and Gales are the last remaining unbeaten teams in WCC play.


Highlights


Second half

Final – Gonzaga 75, USF 65: And exhale.

Gonzaga passes its first real test of the WCC season against a hungry San Francisco team. Nice game from USF’s Boum, along with Gonzaga’s Williams and Perkins.

This sets up a Thursday matchup between the league’s two unbeatens as Gonzaga will host Saint Mary’s.

2:15 – Gonzaga 69, USF 63: Dons heating up from 3-point range, making this one uncomfortably close for the Zags.

Huge block by Hachimura keeps the Bulldogs up by six, but the Zags are struggling from the free-throw line the last few minutes.

3:35 – Gonzaga 69, USF 60: Zags starting to up the defensive pressure as Melson gets a steal and a slam at the other end to force a USF timeout. Melson moves into double figures with the dunk.

Opening minutes of the half had to be a wake-up call for Gonzaga, as it enters the toughest part of its WCC schedule so far with unbeaten Saint Mary’s coming to Spokane on Thursday.

Perkins up to 16 for the Bulldogs, while Williams is nearing a double-double with 15 points and nine boards.

Boum having a nice night for the Dons. The freshman guard from nearby Oakland, California is up to 20 points.

7:47 – Gonzaga 62, USF 51: Perkins getting hot again as her drills a deep trey. Zags also clamping down on defense and outrebounding the Dons 34-22.

Hachimura with a nice move inside to become the third Zag into double figures with 10 points. Good response over the last few minutes from the visitors after an uninspiring start to the half.

11:21 – Gonzaga 57, USF 48: Perkins and Boum trade 3-pointers as the Zags are still searching for a spark to break this sluggish start to the half.

Zach Norvell Jr., who early in the season feasted in the second half, is starting to warm up with four quick points to put him at seven for the game.

Bulldogs also get some quality minutes from reserve big man Jacob Larsen with Williams in foul trouble.

Melson and Hachimura also up to eight points for the Zags.

15:37 – Gonzaga 46, USF 38: San Francisco comes out of the break swinging to get right into this one. Getting a few early calls as well as all five Gonzaga starters have two fouls, with the exception of Williams who has three. Two of the calls have been offensive on Gonzaga as well

Boum into double figures with 12 points for the Dons as he and Ferrari are carrying the team.

Gonzaga also getting a little sloppy with the ball. The Zags now have eight turnovers to USF’s four.

First half

Halftime – Gonzaga 41, USF 30: Scoring from both teams slowed to a crawl near the end of the half.

Refs really calling this one tight, including an intentional foul on Perkins on a USF fast break. Both Perkins and Norvell with two fouls, but the Dons are a frosty 4 for 12 from the charity stripe so far.

Perkins and Williams lead the Zags with 10 points apiece, while Melson and Hachimura each have scored six.

Gonzaga shooting 55.6 percent from the floor and 50 percent from deep compared to 40.7 and 33 percent for teh Dons.

USF’s Ferrari leads all scorers with 13 points.

4:08 – Gonzaga 36, USF 27: Williams nearing the double-digit mark in scoring with eight points.

Zags still shooting at a 60 percent clip, but are starting to slow down on the offensive side of the ball.

Lots of 1-on-1 scoring for the Bulldogs tonight, as they’ve only registered five assists on 15 made baskets.

5:48 – Gonzaga 34, USF 24: Josh Perkins the first Gonzaga player into double figures with 10 points.

Killian Tillie still the only Gonzaga player without a basket, as Williams, Melson and Hachimura all have six points.

Bulldogs doing a good job defensively as well, forcing four turnovers from the Dons, who are shooting 40 percent.

Zags facing more of a test than they did Thursday against Portland, but San Francisco not shooting well enough from 3-point range (3 of 10) to really cut into the lead.

10:23 – Gonzaga 27, USF 19: Nice start from Williams, who is up to six points and one big swat. Knee doesn;t look to be bothering the big man early on.

Rui Hachimura also gets on the board quick for the Zags. The sophomore from Japan leads Gonzaga in scoring in WCC contests this season.

Josh Perkins at eight points for Gonzaga, while Frankie Ferrari leads USF with nine.

Bulldogs shooting the lights out at 64.7 percent overall and 57.1 from deep.

15:39 – Gonzaga 11, USF 11: Two nights after setting a new career-high scoring mark, Gonzaga’s Silas Melson hits a pair of early 3-pointers.

San Francisco sticking right with the Bulldogs though as leading scorer Souley Boum has four early points.

Bulldogs do get forward Johnathan Williams back though after he left Thursday’s game early with a knee injury. He scored the Zags’ first bucket of the game. Zach Norvell Jr. also hit a 3-pointer for the Bulldogs.

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Johnathan Williams in Gonzaga’s starting lineup

  (Colin Mulvany)
(Colin Mulvany)

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Dons missing two key players due to injuries

San Francisco will be without starting forward Chase Foster and reserve forward Taavi Jurkatamm tonight vs. Gonzaga.

Foster, the Dons second leading scorer at 11.5 points per game, is out with a sprained ankle. Jurkatamm, who has started seven games this season and averages 2.1 points and 2.5 rebounds, is recovering from a concussion. Both players were injured in Thursday’s loss to LMU.

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Williams good to go

Johnathan Williams, who left Thursday’s win over Portland in the first half, appears to be fit to play tonight at San Francisco.

Williams took a knock to the outside of his right knee when Portland’s JoJo Walker collided into the Gonzaga forward late in the first half. Williams hobbled off the court and into the locker room, under his own power, for treatment.

After the halftime break, Williams ran some sprints in the hallway while his teammates warmed up. He eventually returned to the Zags’ bench to watch the rest of the 103-57 win.

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Dons’ top scorer to put Melson to the test

Gonzaga will likely turn to its defensive stopper Silas Melson against San Francisco’s freshman guard Souley Boum. In this photo from Nov. 29, 2017, Melson ties up Augustine Ene during a game against Incarnate Word. (Dan Pelle / The Spokesman-Review)
Gonzaga will likely turn to its defensive stopper Silas Melson against San Francisco’s freshman guard Souley Boum. In this photo from Nov. 29, 2017, Melson ties up Augustine Ene during a game against Incarnate Word. (Dan Pelle / The Spokesman-Review)

San Francisco’s top offensive weapon has been freshman guard Souley Boum. The Oakland product has been in a bit of a slump, but he managed 12 points in Thursday’s loss to Loyola Marymount. In the two games before that, Boum was just 4 of 14 from the field for a combined 12 points. … READ MORE »

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No. 15 Bulldogs vs. Dons

NCAA BASKETBALL

At War Memorial Gymnasium, San Francisco

➤ Saturday, Jan. 13: Gonzaga Bulldogs at San Francisco Dons, 6:30 p.m. PT TV: ESPNU



Top stories in Gonzaga basketball

Ex-Gonzaga forward Johnathan Williams signs with Lakers

UPDATED: 5:21 p.m.

Former Gonzaga Bulldog Johnathan Williams’ pursuit of a spot in the NBA took another step forward.The 6-foot-9 forward apparently made a good summer league impression on the Los Angeles Lakers. The NBA club announced Saturday it has signed Williams. No terms of the contract were released.