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Sports >  Gonzaga basketball

Killian Tillie showing more consistency for Gonzaga

Jan. 27, 2018 Updated Sat., Jan. 27, 2018 at 11:34 p.m.

Gonzaga forward Killian Tillie rips a rebound away from San Francisco forward Nate Renfro, Saturday, Jan. 27, 2018, in the McCarthey Athletic Center. (Dan Pelle / The Spokesman-Review)
Gonzaga forward Killian Tillie rips a rebound away from San Francisco forward Nate Renfro, Saturday, Jan. 27, 2018, in the McCarthey Athletic Center. (Dan Pelle / The Spokesman-Review)
By Whitney Odgen The Spokesman-Review

If you want to talk about Gonzaga’s consistency, you won’t get too far with Mark Few.

“I wouldn’t say I would use the consistent word to anybody in our program currently,” the Bulldogs coach said to reporters after Gonzaga downed the San Francisco Dons 82-73 on Saturday. “But nice try.”

Sophomore forward Killian Tillie didn’t shy away from the forbidden word. Tillie, who finished with 16 points and eight rebounds against the Dons, is the first to admit his numbers from game to game have been a bit all over the place.

“There was inconsistency before,” Tillie said. “The last game proved that I’m becoming more consistent. It’s good for me and it’s good for the team, too.”

Tillie put up a game-high 27 points when Gonzaga visited Portland on Thursday. That number followed another double-digit night against Santa Clara on Jan. 20 when the big man had 12 points and seven boards for the Zags.

Tillie’s defense has been constant throughout the season, but his scoring from one game to another has been a tossup. The sophomore has caused trouble for several opponents this year with point totals that have reached the high 20s, but it’s the stretch of games in between when Tillie has five-, six- or seven-point nights that have caused him some concern.

“I’ve tried to be more consistent,” said Tillie, who referred to his up and down season as more of a mental block than an issue with his athleticism. He said during Gonzaga’s recent conference matchups he’s been focusing on “being more aggressive, going at them, being aggressive (with) rebounds.”

That translated onto the court in the opening minutes of Saturday’s win. Tillie, who was averaging 12.5 points for the Zags heading into Saturday, posted eight points in just his first 4 minutes on the floor.

He started the night with a three-point play after breaking inside for a layup. He followed with a short jumper and 3-pointer that came after a steal by guard Zach Norvell, Jr. The 3 capped a 7-0 run that put the Zags ahead 13-3.

Tillie didn’t score another field goal until the beginning of the second half when he pulled into the paint for a swift layup. About a minute later he found another good look at the top of the arc for his second 3-pointer. The shot gave Gonzaga a five-point lead after the Dons nearly tied it on back-to-back layups by Chase Foster.

Tillie finished his night with a make at the rim after recovering Silas Melson’s misfire from the perimeter.

Tillie went 6 for 10 from the field and finished 2 for 3 from 3-point range. It was a noticeable improvement from when he last saw the Dons on Jan. 13. In that game he scored six points on 2-of-6 shooting and made no 3-pointers

“Sometimes I have some bad moments, but today was a really good game for my 3s, so I kept shooting them,” Tillie said. “It was fun. I feel like I came in the game aggressively.”

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