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Recap and highlights: Defense optional as No. 1 Gonzaga tops Creighton in second half to remain unbeaten with a 103-92 win

UPDATED: Sat., Dec. 1, 2018, 1:26 p.m.

OMAHA, Neb. – Zach Norvell Jr. scored 28 points – 23 of which came in the second half – as No. 1 Gonzaga stormed back after halftime to defeat Creighton 103-92 on Saturday at the CHI Health Center.

Brandon Clarke added a season-high 27 points for the Bulldogs, who trailed the Bluejays 48-41 at the break.

Norvell scored the first five points of the second half for the Zags (8-0), who pulled ahead for good midway through the period.

Rui Hachimura added 22 points on 9 of 14 shooting for GU, while Josh Perkins finished with a double-double of 13 points and 13 assists.

Hachimura also grabbed a team-best 11 rebounds for the Bulldogs.

Ty-Shon Alexander paced Creighton (6-2) with 27 points.

Gonzaga shot 52.2 percent from the floor and 37.9 percent from 3-point range, while Creighton was 48.6 percent overall and 41.2 percent from deep. GU outrebounded the Bluejays 41-33 and dished out 18 assists to Creighton’s 16. Both teams had eight turnovers.

Gonzaga will return to the McCarthey Athletic Center on Wednesday to take on cross-state foes Washington. Tip is scheduled for 8 p.m. on ESPN2

♦  ♦  ♦

Second half

Final – Gonzaga 103, Creighton 92: 7-0 run for the Bluejays is snapped by a pair of Josh Perkins free throws. Creighton forced into foul mode and Gonzaga makes just enough from the charity stripe to close this one out and move to 8-0 on the season.

Gutsy second-half effort from the top-ranked Bulldogs in a tough environment.

2:57 – Gonzaga 90, Creighton 83: It’s going to take a special defense to put the brakes on Gonzaga this season as the Bulldogs hit the 90-point mark for the sixth time in eight games. The other two times they scored 84 (Illinois) and 89 (Duke).

Zach Norvell Jr. has 27 points (22 this half) to lead four Bulldogs in double figures scoring.

Creighton not quite going away, but it would need to make everything over the last few minutes to get back on top.

6:22 – Gonzaga 84, Creighton 75: Zach Norvell Jr. up to 25 points for the Bulldogs, who have put the clamps on Creighton’s offense.

After a little early foul trouble, GU has played a smart second half, keeping the starters on the floor and off the bench.

Zags doing a great job of sharing the ball this half with 10 of their 16 assists coming after the break. GU also getting it done in the paint (38 points) and on second-chance opportunities (10 points).

9:37 – Gonzaga 81, Creighton 73: Josh Perkins joins the 3-point party for the Bulldogs, getting him to double figures with 11 points. Another Zach Norvell Jr. triple (23 points), gives the Zags their first sizable lead of the game.

Creighton slowing on its offensive end as GU is putting its foot on the gas.

11:31 – Creighton 73, Gonzaga 72: Corey Kispert knocks down another 3-pointer as the two teams are trading blows.

Offensive showcase might be putting this one lightly.

Kispert up to eight points, while Creighton’s Ty-Shon Alexander is the first to 20 points after his fourth 3-pointer.

Both teams shooting over 60 percent from the floor this half.

12:41 – Creighton 68, Gonzaga 68: Gonzaga takes its first lead of the game on a Corey Kispert 3-pointer, his first of the game, but Creighton answers right back with a triple of its own.

Bulldogs able to tie it up going into the media timeout on a Brandon Clarke layup while getting fouled. Gu can take the lead back from the free-throw line after the break.

Clarke up to 16 points for GU.

15:28 – Creighton 63, Gonzaga 56: Snack attack to open the second half for Gonzaga as Zach Norvell Jr. gets an and-one bucket followed by a pair of 3-pointers. He’s up to 14 points.

Witht he Creighton defense pulling back to keep an eye on Norvell, Rui Hachimura has an easy lane to the bucket for a slam to get to 15 points.

Bluejays putting up a fight though, shooting 70 percent overall this half. Gonzaga hitting at 83.3 percent in the first four-plus minutes.

17 points now for Creighton’s Ty-Shon Alexander.

First half

Halftime – Creighton 48, Gonzaga 41: Big slam from Brandon Clarke gets the forward to 14 points to lead Gonzaga.

Step-back 3-pointer at the buzzer comes up short for Creighton, which looked impressive on the offensive end in the first 20 minutes.

Bluejays shoot 47.2 percent overall and 45 from deep, while GU hits 53.1 percent of its shots from the floor and 30 percent from 3-point range.

Both teams with 17 rebounds, while Creighton has eight assists to GU’s six.

Five first-half turnovers for the Bulldogs, while the Bluejays have three.

Creighton yet to trail in this one. Josh Perkins, Rui Hachimura and Corey Kispert with two fouls apiece for the Zags.

0:39 – Creighton 48, Gonzaga 39: 50/50 call goes against Rui Hachimura on a charge and the GU big man heads to the bench with his second foul of the half.

After scorching the net from deep in the opening minutes, Creighton now shooting 47.9 percent from 3-point range and 48.6 percent overall. Gonzaga making 51.6 percent of its shots from the floor and 30 percent from deep.

With Hachimura out, the Zags are turning to Brandon Clarke to do the offensive work. He’s up to 12 points.

After having his breakout game last season against the Bluejays, GU’s Zach Norvell Jr. has five points after a slow start.

Creighton’s Damien Jefferson joins the party in double figures with 10 points.

7:16 – Creighton 34, Gonzaga 29: Timeout seemed to spark the Zags as they answer back with a 6-0 run of their own to close the game on the Bluejays.

Rui Hachimura up to 11 points, while Brandon Clarke has 10 for Gonzaga. Josh Perkins also back into the game for GU. He has four points.

8:11 – Creighton 34, Gonzaga 23: Bulldogs try to battle back as Creighton starts to come back to reality from deep.

True freshman guard Greg Foster Jr. checks in for Gonzaga after Perkins’ second foul. With Geno Crandall out for the next month, Foster will be the Zags first guard option off the bench.

With the outside shot going cold, Creighton getting the job done in the paint, while the Zags are looking sloppy on offense with four turnovers.

Ty-Shon Alexander the first player into double figures with 10 points for the Bluejays, who have yet to trail the No. 1 team in the country.

11:40 – Creighton 26, Gonzaga 19: Absolute shooting clinic here from both teams. Bluejays up to six makes from 3-point range, while Rui Hachimura has nine points on 4 of 6 shooting.

Creighton shooting 64.3 percent from the floor and 66.7 percent from deep, while the Zags are 50 percent shooting overall.

This is the first real test for GU without the services of both Killian Tillie and Geno Crandall. Jeremy Jones and Filip Petrusev the first Bulldogs off the bench for coach Mark few.

Bulldogs and Bluejays rank first and second in field goal percentage this season – both teams showing why that’s the case.

Scramble for the ball going into the media timeout leads to a Josh Perkins foul – his second fo the game.

15:37 – Creighton 13, Gonzaga 11: It’s a 3-point party early on in the Chi Health Center as Creighton has already knocked down three shots from deep.

Gonzaga, wearing its black jerseys for the first time this season, taking a different route to score by getting into the paint with ease.

Rui Hachimura leading the way for GU with five points, while Brandon Clarke has four. Josh Perkins with an early bucket and two assists.

Gonzaga announces starting lineup

Killian Tillie set for on-schedule return

Game preview

Gonzaga roster

No.

Name

Pos.

Ht.

Class

11

Joel Ayayi

G

6-5

Fr

2

Jack Beach

G

6-3

So

15

Brandon Clarke

G

6-8

Jr

0

Geno Crandall

G

6-3

Sr

4

Greg Foster Jr.

G

6-5

Fr

21

Rui Hachimura

F

6-8

Jr

22

Jeremy Jones

F

6-7

Sr

24

Corey Kispert

F

6-6

So

10

Matthew Lang

G

6-3

Fr

5

Alex Martin

G

6-5

Jr

23

Zach Norvell Jr.

G

6-5

So

20

Paul Pennington

G

5-10

Fr

13

Josh Perkins

G

6-3

Sr

3

Filip Petrusev

F

6-11

Fr

33

Killian Tillie

F

6-10

Jr

LEADERS

Player

G

MPG

FG%

FT%

3P%

RPG

APG

SPG

BPG

PPG

Rui Hachimura

7

29.0

.600

.667

.500

5.4

1.3

0.6

0.7

21.9

Zach Norvell Jr.

7

29.3

.440

.806

.386

5.6

3.7

1.6

0.0

17.3

Brandon Clarke

7

24.4

.778

.478

1.000

7.4

1.4

1.0

4.1

15.9

Josh Perkins

7

30.7

.538

.875

.400

3.0

8.0

1.7

0.1

11.4

Filip Petrusev

7

15.9

.525

.800

.385

4.6

0.3

0.3

0.7

9.6

Corey Kispert

7

28.0

.431

1.000

.389

4.4

1.6

0.3

0.6

9.0

Jeremy Jones

7

14.6

.833

.789

1.000

4.9

1.0

0.1

0.0

5.4

Geno Crandall

6

18.2

.300

.688

.083

1.5

2.3

1.3

0.2

5.0

Joel Ayayi

4

6.8

.600

-

.000

1.8

0.5

0.3

0.0

3.0

Greg Foster Jr.

7

6.0

.333

.500

.333

0.7

0.7

0.3

0.0

0.9

Jack Beach

4

3.3

1.000

-

1.000

0.3

0.0

0.0

0.0

0.8

Matthew Lang

1

6.0

-

-

-

0.0

0.0

0.0

0.0

0.0

Alex Martin

1

1.0

-

-

-

0.0

0.0

0.0

0.0

0.0

Creighton roster

No.

Name

Pos

Ht.

Class

5

Ty-Shon Alexander

G

6-4

So

24

Mitch Ballock

G

6-5

So

13

Christian Bishop

F

6-7

Fr

10

Jett Canfield

G

5-10

Fr

2

Connor Cashaw

G

6-5

Sr

41

Jacob Epperson

C

6-11

So

31

Samson Froling

C

7-0

Fr

23

Damien Jefferson

G/F

6-5

So

14

Kaleb Joseph

G

6-3

Sr

15

Martin Krampelj

F

6-9

Jr

34

Denzel Mahoney

G

6-5

Jr

1

Davion Mintz

G

6-3

Jr

12

Jordan Scurry

G

6-2

Jr

11

Marcus Zegarowski

G

6-2

Fr

LEADERS

Player

G

MPG

FG%

FT%

3P%

RPG

APG

SPG

BPG

PPG

Ty-Shon Alexander

7

32.7

.518

.708

.472

3.0

2.9

0.4

0.3

18.3

Damien Jefferson

7

24.9

.667

.737

.750

5.1

1.1

0.4

0.3

11.9

Mitch Ballock

7

29.9

.472

.800

.463

3.3

3.7

1.4

0.0

11.0

Marcus Zegarowski

7

23.0

.490

.688

.435

3.7

3.1

0.7

0.0

10.1

Davion Mintz

7

23.0

.524

.733

.467

3.7

2.4

0.9

0.1

8.9

Martin Krampelj

7

21.0

.475

.600

.222

4.4

0.3

0.7

0.7

7.9

Jacob Epperson

6

9.3

.778

.714

.500

2.7

0.0

0.2

0.5

5.7

Samson Froling

7

12.4

.522

.400

.500

2.6

0.7

0.1

0.6

3.9

Kaleb Joseph

7

11.7

.524

.500

.333

0.7

0.4

0.0

0.1

3.6

Christian Bishop

2

4.0

.500

.000

-

2.5

0.5

0.5

0.5

3.0

Connor Cashaw

7

11.3

.500

.750

.667

0.9

1.0

0.9

0.0

2.3

Jordan Scurry

2

3.5

.000

.500

.000

0.0

0.0

0.0

0.0

0.5

♦  ♦  ♦

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