SANTA CLARA, Calif. – As good as Santa Clara senior guard Jared Brownridge was on the perimeter, it was no contest inside.
No. 4 Gonzaga worked over the smaller Broncos in the lane and cruised to an 88-57 victory on Thursday in front of full house of 4,738 at the Leavey Center.
Center Przemek Karnowski led Gonzaga (18-0, 6-0 WCC), the only unbeaten team remaining in Division I, to its 10th consecutive double-digit win. He had plenty of help from frontcourt teammates Zach Collins, Johnathan Williams and Killian Tillie.
Karnowski finished with 19 points in just 21 minutes. When he wasn’t scoring on the low block, he was exerting serious foul pressure on Santa Clara’s defenders. Emmanuel Ndumanya fouled out and Nate Kratch and Henrik Jadersten both sat for extended periods with four fouls.
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“That’s kind of who we are,” coach Mark Few said. “We’re built inside out, even though our guards are more than capable of making plays. Our bigs are usually an advantage going into every game.”
Collins came off the bench to contribute 16 points in only 16 minutes. Williams did the majority of his damage in the first half, scoring eight of his 10 points and grabbing six of his eight rebounds. Tillie added seven points and three boards.
At one point, Gonzaga had a 24-2 edge in paint points.
“The guards were delivering the ball down low,” Karnowski said. “And J3 (Williams), especially in the first half, was phenomenal on the boards, basically getting every offensive board.”
Brownridge, No. 8 on the WCC’s all-time scoring list, finished with 23 points, including six 3-pointers, but he didn’t score after hitting a 3 with 14:30 remaining.
“He’s really streaky,” GU guard Silas Melson said. “When he gets one or two, he might run off five in a row. In the second half we got him to cool off a little bit and started playing more team defense.”
Gonzaga never trailed and took command with a 13-0 run midway through the first half. Santa Clara went scoreless for more than seven minutes as the Zags’ lead grew from 19-12 to 32-12.
Santa Clara pulled with 52-41 in the second half but the Zags broke it open with an 11-3 run. Many of those points came at the free-throw line as Gonzaga pounded the ball inside.
“They were in the double bonus really early in the second half and we tried to take advantage, go inside and pin fouls on them,” said Karnowski, who was 7 of 9 at the line in the second half. “I’m happy the free throws went in.”
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