Day after Davidson

Back with a day-after post following Gonzaga’s 81-67 win over Davidson in the championship game of the Old Spice Classic. The Zags handled Clemson by 8, Oklahoma by 25 and the Wildcats by 14 en route to their second OSC championship, the first coming in 2008. The debut event was in 2006.

The Zags did things backward in one sense. They went to Disney World before winning the championship. They visited the park on Saturday’s off day.

Read on.


—Gonzaga coach Mark Few appreciates holiday tournaments for a number of reasons, including generally high-level competition, encountering a variety of offensive and defensive styles and a neutral-court environment that comes into play later for teams in the NCAA Tournament.

Davidson, for example, played a lot of 2-3 zone, then switched into a 1-3-1 for a stretch in the second half.

“In two of the games, we’ve seen switching man, doubling the post,” Few said. “You see a lot of different things and that will help you progress through the season.”

—Few rarely substituted over the final 8:15 (that’s when Kelly Olynyk entered and Mike Hart came on with 5:15 left) as Gonzaga was pulling away from the Wildcats. Few did make changes with 1:15 left and the outcome pretty much decided.

Hart, who only played one minute in the first half, played five in the second half and they were productive. He had two rebounds, an assist and a key steal when he sagged off his man and forced a turnover on a Davidson post player.

“The most unbelievable 5-minute player in America,” said Few, repeating a statement he made several times last season. “Every single game there’s an impact. He had a huge offensive rebound (when) nobody expected (Kevin) Pangos to miss a free throw.”

—The Zags’ depth wasn’t quite as evident in this game, but it did show up in one area. Davidson was in foul trouble throughout, with marquee players, forwards De’Mon Brooks and Jake Cohen, both sitting for large portions of the game.

Gonzaga had a few foul issues, too – Sam Dower picked up two in the first few minutes – but the Zags were able to rotate Olynyk, Elias Harris and Przemek Karnowski through while Davidson’s backups had minimal impact.

“Because we’re so deep and have so much versatility it’s tough for others to hold up to that,” Olynyk said. “They got into a little foul trouble so we wore them out that way.”

—It didn’t seem like it at times while watching the game, but Gonzaga’s defense was solid again. Davidson executes as well as any team out there, often keeping the lane clear for cutters and dribble penetration from the perimeter. Their bigs are capable shooters and ball-handlers.

“It was a challenge,” Harris said. “They play a completely different style than Oklahoma and Clemson.”

The Wildcats had several stretches where they piled up points in a hurry, but in the end they made just 36 percent of their field goals and were held to 67 points, nine below their season average. They connected on 6 of 19 3s.

“Looking at it now, yes,” Few said, when asked if he was satisfied with GU’s defensive effort, “but for stretches of that game I didn’t feel very good. They can make you look silly. They run five-man motion with ‘5’s and ‘4’s that can make 3s, they can lift-fake you and bounce it at you.

“You’re on alert to guard the 3-line and then you’re giving up layins. Down the stretch of both halves, we got our feet on the ground and played pretty darn good defense.”

—Gonzaga had 16 turnovers, equaling its season high (South Dakota), but when it did take care of the ball it got quality looks most of the night versus Davidson’s man or zone defense.

“We had some really casual passes,” Few said. “I told them (they’re) passing the ball like it’s July. There was no need for three or four of those turnovers, way too casual.”

—Hard to believe Pangos didn’t make the All-Tournament team after his 23-point performance in the title game, but he did struggle at times during the first two games, going 6 for 20, 1 of 10 on 3s, while scoring 17 points.

“It’s unreal the way he shoots it,” Olynyk said. “Everything’s the same every time, which is what you strive for as a shooter. Misses don’t faze him. He shoots the next one without hesitation.”

GU had two of the five All-Tourney representatives: MVP Harris and Olynyk. Davidson (Nik Cochran), Oklahoma (Romero Osby) and Clemson (Milton Jennings) each had one.

STATS OF NOTE

—Harris entered the game tied with Steven Gray for 15th on GU’s all-time scoring list (1,432 points). He’s now solo 15th after pouring in 24 points. He also has 781 rebounds. Only seven Zags have reached 700 career boards.

—Gonzaga had a little more success at the FT line (20 of 29, 69 percent). The Bulldogs have yet to reach 70 percent in a game this season. In the last 10 years, Gonzaga has made at least 70% at the stripe every season except 2005 (66.4 percent).

—Kyle Dranginis’ stat line didn’t stand out, except in the assists column. He tied Pangos for team-high honors with five. Dranginis played just 12 minutes compared to Pangos’ 38.

—Gonzaga’s bench outscored Davidson’s 24-13.

—The Zags hit 6 of 8 second-half 3-pointers.

—Harris’ three-game totals: 21 of 31 FGs, 12 of 15 FTs, 23 rebounds, 18.3 ppg.

—Olynyk’s three-game totals: 13 of 22 FGs, 9 of 12 FTs, 17 rebounds (5.7 per game), 11.7 ppg.

—Pangos three-game totals: 14 of 34 FGs, 7 of 19 3s, 5 of 7 FTs, 13,3 ppg.

—Davidson made 19 of 21 FTs.

QUOTEBOOK

Olynyk, on how GU benefited from the tournament: “It was really valuable to show us how deep we are and how much we need everybody to come prepared every game. That’s really important for us to recognize and I think we do recognize it. Everybody can score and make the big play on any given night, depending on how other teams match up with us.

“The first three games (of the season) we kind of cruised, but we have to know not everything is going to come easy and it’s not going to be 30-point blowouts. Davidson jumped us at the start and when you hit adversity you have to stick to it and stick to the plan and hopefully over 40 minutes it gives us a chance to win.”

Davidson coach Bob McKillop on GU’s defense: “I thought they sped us up.”

Few, on Davidson: “One thing that’s very deceptive is that they’re an extremely physical team. They challenge you on every cut, on every post-up and on any drive to the basket. We knew that because we’ve played them before.”

Harris: “I got going after the first couple minutes and my teammates found me and helped me out. We’re really unselfish that way.”

Olynyk, on GU-Davidson being an entertaining game: “They like to get up and down the floor and we like to get up and down. There were a lot of possessions, not the typical hold-it-for-35-seconds and grind-it-out. It was a fun game to play in, lots of shots, movement, lots of execution and game planning. It was a battle of wits in some ways.”

 

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