PORTLAND – The Florida Gators and Gonzaga Bulldogs are familiar with each other from last year’s clash won by the Zags 77-72 in the AdvoCare Invitational semifinals in Orlando.
However, Florida’s two top offensive weapons weren’t involved in last year’s game. Egor Koulechov, a graduate transfer from Rice, bumped his scoring average to 21.8 with a 26-point effort in Thursday’s rout over Stanford. The 6-foot-5 wing is shooting 56 percent from distance and he also has a team-high 10 offensive rebounds.
Jalen Hudson sat out last season after transferring from Virginia Tech. The 6-6 guard, who averages nearly 18 points in 24 minutes, dropped four 3-pointers against the Cardinal. He’s at 43 percent beyond the 3-point line.
Silas Melson, GU’s perimeter defensive stalwart, will probably see extended time on one or the other but he’ll be giving away at least a couple of inches. Corey Kispert, who got into early foul trouble versus Ohio State, and the versatile Johnathan Williams are likely options. Don’t be surprised if the Zags go to their zone defense, which has been a factor in their last two wins.
GU did an excellent job against Ohio State wings Keita Bates-Diop and Jae’Sean Tate in Thursday’s easy win.
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