LAS VEGAS – The first 20 minutes of Gonzaga’s 82-50 win over Pacific on Saturday night wasn’t a crowd-pleaser.
The Zags’ 27 points heading into halftime gave the Orleans Arena crowd of mostly Gonzaga fans few chances to applaud.
But those fans found one reason to get on their feet and cheer before intermission — the return of freshman forward Killian Tillie.
It was the first time Tillie has been on the court since Gonzaga took down Saint Mary’s in Moraga, California. He suffered a broken finger on his right hand during practice on Feb. 14 ahead of Gonzaga’s matchup against San Francisco.
“It’s good to be back. I practiced all week for this,” Tillie said.
Tillie checked in for Johnathan Williams with two fingers taped together and his wrist wrapped since his finger is not fully healed.
“It hurts a little bit, but I can play, so it’s good,” Tillie said.
He played for six minutes on Saturday night, hitting two points at the line. Tillie also pulled down a pair of rebounds and dished out two assists.
“He got Jordan a couple of those 3s, he got those high-low passes to Przemek and had a nice drive from there,” Gonzaga coach Mark Few said of Tillie. “He’s a good player with a good feel who does a little bit of everything for us, which is different from those other three bigs.”
One more Zag received a big applause from the crowd after stepping onto the floor in the final minutes on Saturday. Sophomore guard Bryan Alberts, who also missed the last four games after he sprained his ankle during practice on Feb. 14, took over for Mathews with three minutes left in the game.
But just as quickly as two missed Zags returned to the court, one Zag left. Sophomore guard Josh Perkins took a tumble in the first part of the second half along the sidelines. Perkins appeared to be jogging down the court unguarded and fell to the floor, grabbing his ankle. He stayed on the sidelines for the remainder of the game.
Few didn’t know the status of Perkins’ ankle immediately after the game.
Perkins declined any questions on Saturday, but was seen limping while leaving the arena.
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