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Monday, October 26, 2020  Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Day after San Francisco

Micah Downs, left, and Josh Heytvelt of Gonzaga crash the offensive boards against San Francisco  during their game Saturday, Jan. 17, 2009, in Spokane. Downs controlled this rebound and got the putback for a score. (Christopher Anderson / The Spokesman-Review)
Micah Downs, left, and Josh Heytvelt of Gonzaga crash the offensive boards against San Francisco during their game Saturday, Jan. 17, 2009, in Spokane. Downs controlled this rebound and got the putback for a score. (Christopher Anderson / The Spokesman-Review)

A bunch of notes, quotes, etc., as we recount Gonzaga's 85-51 dismantling of San Francisco on Saturday night. Read on for the day-after USF post.

ALSO: Find a photo gallery of GU-USF game here.

--Links of interest: S-R gamer, and updates on Saint Mary's and San Diego. Much like last year, another three-team race is shaping up.

--Gonzaga's four-game winning streak and 2-0 week will probably put the Zags back in the A.P. top 25. No. 21 Baylor, No. 22 Cal, No. 24 Tennessee and No. 25 Michigan all lost at least once during the week. Michigan lost twice.

GU was 26th in last week's A.P. poll.

--Austin Daye poured in 45 points on 18-of-24 shooting in Gonzaga's last two wins. He also had 20 points against Tennessee, giving him three 20-plus outings in GU's last four games. He can score in a hurry. Counting the Santa Clara game and the first half of the USF game, Daye had 38 points in 34 minutes.

"Austin is back to being more aggressive and not settling," coach Mark Few said. "It helps when you make shots. When the shots go in, you play with more confidence and people like you guys think you play better."

"He’s back to shooting like we expect him to. It’s kind of the law of averages evening out. He’s had some pretty good looks he missed for a while."

As mentioned in the game story, Few subbed for Daye after the forward picked up his first foul at the five-minute mark, much the same way the coach did with ex-Zag Ronny Turiaf. "He seems susceptible to cheapies," Few said.

"I just tried to make sure I didn’t get into stupid foul trouble tonight," Daye said.

Daye made his first five shots from the field. On one play, Daye drained a tough 17-foot jumper over USF's Dior Lowhorn, who was in good defensive position.

"Daye is an absolute matchup nightmare," USF coach Rex Walters said. "He can guard 1 through 5, he can shoot perimeter jump shots, he can trail, he can make plays, he can post feed. He is an absolute stud."

Daye also forced another turnover on a Dons' inbounds pass. Not sure how many that is this season, but I'd guess 6-7.

--Gonzaga's defense held USF to 32.1 percent shooting. That's the 12th time in 16 games opponents have failed to crack 40 percent. The four that did (Arizona, UConn, Portland State and Utah) all defeated the Zags. Gonzaga blocked nine shots, one short of its season high (Arizona, Montana State-Billings).

--Lowhorn scored 15 points in 26 minutes. He only played 10 minutes in the second half. It was his second lowest point total of the year (he had seven against Pacific). Gonzaga made Lowhorn work for his points. He was 6 of 13 and scored in a variety of ways (mid-range, one 3-pointer, inside).

"Our guards (Jeremy Pargo, Matt Bouldin and Steven Gray) did a great job on him," Few said. "We switched ball screens and I think our guards really worked hard in there."

Pargo forced two turnovers while defending Lowhorn in the low block.

--In the last two weeks, Gonzaga has held Lowhorn, the WCC's top scorer, five points below his average, No. 3 John Bryant of Santa Clara to 12 points, five below his average; and No. 4 Nik Raivio of Portland to nine points, seven below his average.

--Walters didn't mince words when asked why he stayed in zone essentially the whole game, even after GU's shooters heated up.

"We need a 1-3-1 or we've really got to fricking figure out how to guard," he said. "Saying that, you can’t match up with their size and strength and shooting ability – and their feel. They have great, great feel."

--Gonzaga led 43-29 at half, largely because it had only two turnovers (to USF's eight) and it got to the free-throw line 16 times (to USF's two). The Bulldogs outscored USF 15-2 on points off turnovers. At the line, GU struggled, making 10 in the first half and 12 of 21 overall.

Gonzaga finished with eight turnovers, three by Josh Heytvelt. GU's season low for turnovers is seven (Texas Southern).

"One of the things that lost us the game against Davidson (in the NCAA tournament) was turnovers," Pargo said. "They cost us a lot of games last year and probably cost us two games this year. Anytime you can keep turnovers to a minimum you always have a great chance of winning.

"That’s one of the things I came out focused on this year, then I had a couple games where I had some turnovers and I wasn’t successful doing that. Anytime you can get the ball in the right areas and into the right hands in the right spots, you’re always successful."

--Heytvelt and Gray had quiet nights. Heytvelt was scoreless in the first half, missing his only two shot attempts (both 3s) and two free throws. He had a putback dunk in the second half and finished with six points, nine rebounds and two blocks.

Gray missed all four of his 3-point attempts. He finished with four points, snapping a streak of four straight games in double digits, to go with three assists, two rebounds and two blocks.

--Bouldin, who turned 21 on Saturday, was 0 of 4 on 3s in the first half. After scoring just two points in the first half, he made 4 of 5 shots in the second and closed with 12 points, three boards and three assists.


--Daye on finding the shooting 'zone': "I've felt that way at times (this season). We have so many guys, so many shooters, so many ballplayers, that it's hard to get as many shots as I probably got tonight."

Daye had 14 attempts, one shy of his season high.

--Few on GU's improvement rebounding: "We’re pursuing better. We're rebounding maybe with a better sense of urgency. Again, that was in the second half. We didn't rebound particularly well in the first half."

--Downs on the rebounding: "It’s key. It gives us second opportunities. We get a lot of open 3s on offensive rebounds because the pockets collapse and we have guys spotted up (behind the arc)."

--Andrew Sorenson, who was awarded a scholarship after the game (see S-R game story): "Student-athlete on scholarship. It's kind of cool to say. It's cool."

--Sorenson, asked about the reaction of his dad, who watched the game in the Kennel: "I haven’t told him yet. I'm sure he'll start crying out there."

--Pargo on the bench contributing 32 points: "Micah, Will (Foster), Ira (Brown), it really shows how deep we can go."


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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