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Monday, September 16, 2019  Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Day after Duke

A shorter day-after post than usual because we weren't at the day-of event.

First, the links: S-R, Charlotte Observer, Herald-Sun of Durham, halftime and post-game blogging on ESPN.com, S-I, and the New York Post.

Notes and quotes below.

--The final outcome was alarming, but not as much as Gonzaga’s inability to function offensively. Frankly, if there was going to be a result like this, I thought it would have come early on against a rugged Michigan State team, but GU’s bigs were stellar in that one. Nobody was in sync Saturday, as evidenced by 15 field goals in 40 minutes and another shaky effort at the free-throw line.

Nearly everything went wrong: Turnovers, perimeter shooting, ineffective inside play, little in the way of drive-and-create, two fastbreak points and just 10 points off turnovers. Duke was in the passing lanes repeatedly contesting Gonzaga’s first pass. GU coach Mark Few gave Duke ample credit, but also made a key point about the Zags’ offensively.

First on Duke: “Their pressure defense was good and their concepts were good,” Few said. “They really came to take us out of some things and option A wasn’t there. We didn’t do a great job exploring other options and that had a lot to do with Duke’s defense. It was as good as we’ve played against this year, by far.”

Added Few: “We were missing so many little chippies in there we were trying to get our guys to slow down and take it through contact. And then just get back to moving the ball. I think we were getting hung up trying to score on the first side. When we’ve struggled this year, that has been primarily one of our problems.”

Still, many of GU’s turnovers were unforced: Matt Bouldin and Steven Gray unable to connect on a simple pass out front 35 feet from the hoop; a couple of traveling calls on Elias Harris, who looked rushed in the first half; a Bouldin steal, followed a second or two later by a poor pass that was intercepted.

--Bouldin’s health status was mentioned in several articles. One said Bouldin was still ‘cloudy’, another said he had been dealing with nausea and headaches. That’s not the impression I got from Mark Few at Wednesday’s media day, who did acknowledge Bouldin was feeling a bit off last Saturday, but didn’t have sickness/headaches. Bouldin himself said he was feeling much better.

Regardless, nobody could use the team’s 4-5 days off more than Bouldin. He clearly wasn’t himself on the court, going 1 of 7 with five turnovers in a team-high 32 minutes.

The only post-game quote I saw from Bouldin noted that he didn’t use his health as an excuse. Few didn’t go there, either.

“Matt has had a terrific season,” Few said. “He’s made plays and posted numbers against great competition and high-level players. They did a nice job on him. Matt’s had far better games than that obviously.”

 

QUOTEBOOK

Few, on GU’s upcoming schedule: “We still have a tough regional game at home against Eastern Washington, Oklahoma and then Illinois, so we don’t get to move to the Western Conference yet. Saint Mary’s looks to have another really solid club. It looks probably, maybe NCAA worthy. Some of the other teams have played pretty well. Loyola beat Notre Dame, San Diego beat Oklahoma and Stanford; Stanford is good. We have to take a break, get to our families, get a rest. We have been going pretty hard since October and then we ramp up and have three important games.”

Duke’s Mike Krzyzewski on Jon Scheyer: “Jon is just a really smart, good player. He doesn’t have position. He is just a good basketball player.”

Krzyzewski on Duke’s defense: “They talk it out. It is not a new assignment. They actually talk to each other when we go through a walk-through. It is kind of like, not on that level, how our Olympic team is.  They have been in these situations a lot. They talk about defense. It is just a very mature way of doing that.  The kid who really hasn’t gotten much attention for us, is (Brian) Zoubek. Brian has had a hell of a year so far. Our veteran guys, they just know how to play. That veteran group, in the first half, did not let them score when we got that double-digit lead.”

Krzyzewski on Nolan Smith: “Nolan is a natural scorer. When he played in high school, he played in the same backcourt with (Ty) Lawson and then (Brandon) Jennings. It is not like he had the ball a lot. That is a great decision because those two guys are great. Nolan is a little bit more comfortable in that scoring role but then we try to alternate with him and Jon bringing the ball up so we don’t wear out either one of them.”

 




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Jim Meehan
Jim Meehan joined The Spokesman-Review in 1990. Jim is currently a reporter for the Sports Desk and covers Gonzaga University basketball, Spokane Empire football, college volleyball and golf.

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