Rui Hachimura scored 33 points as No. 3 Gonzaga routed Idaho State 120-79 to win its 15th straight season opener on Tuesday at the McCarthey Athletic Center in Spokane.
Hachimura finished 13 of 18 shooting and grabbed four rebounds in his 24 minutes.
The Bulldogs (1-0) overcame a sluggish start to blow out the Bengals behind a 56-34 second-half advantage.
Zach Norvell Jr. added 23 points and seven rebounds for the Zags, while Brandon Clarke and Corey Kispert also finished in double figures with 15 and 14 points respectively.
Brandon Boyd led Idaho State (0-1) with 15 points.
Gonzaga shot 58.6 percent from the field and 33.3 percent from 3-point range, while holding the Bengals to 45.7 percent overall and 33.3 percent from deep. The Bulldogs also forced 15 Idaho State turnovers, which they turned into 27 points.
The Bulldogs next welcome Texas Southern to the Kennel for a 7 p.m. contest on Saturday. The game will be broadcast on SWX and Root Sports.
Final – Gonzaga 120, Idaho State 79: Gonzaga wins its 15th straight season opener, overcoming a slow start to roll Big Sky foe Idaho State.
Rui Hachimura shines for the Zags, while the reserves get plenty of court time in the second half – exactly with GU wants to see out of these early-season showings.
3:43 – Gonzaga 110, Idaho State 69: It’ll be mostly reserves for Gonzaga to finish this one out. Guard Joel Ayayi sees the court for the first time tonight, while Petrusev gets his first points as a Bulldog.
Hachimura and Norvell were the obvious standouts tonight, but Kispert and Clarke quietly had strong games for GU.
Zags will finish this one shooting above the 50 percent mark from the floor. It
7:37 – Gonzaga 100, Idaho State 61: Filip Petrusev back on the court for GU with a bandage on his head. The freshman big man took an elbow to his head in the first half.
Foul trouble continues for Clarke, who picks up his fourth of the night. Won’t matter as this one is already in the books, but it’ll be something to keep an eye on as the season progresses – especially without the services of Killian Tillie.
Zags also hit the century mark for the first time this season on Clarke’s tough bucket in the paint. The San Jose State transfer now into double figures with 13 points.
10:52 – Gonzaga 92, Idaho State 56: Mesmerizing ball movement from Gonzaga over the past few minutes, leading to another Hachimura slam and Kispert’s fourth 3-pointer of the game.
Kispert now up to 14 points for the Bulldogs on 4 of 8 shooting from deep.
Perkins running the show for GU as the senior point guard has a team-best seven assists.
Other stats of note are Norvell’s 10 for 10 performance from the free-throw line and GU’s 25 points off turnovers. Zags also dominating on points in the paint (38-28).
Boyd up to 13 for Idaho State, while Clarke is nearing double figures for the Bulldogs with nine points on 4 of 5 shooting.
15:46 – Gonzaga 73, Idaho State 47: Gonzaga keeps its foot on the gas out of the locker room. Everyone from Perkins to Hachimura running the floor and getting easy buckets.
Rui nets five points on two possessions, the first two on a thunderous dunk and the last three on an and-one layup in the lane.
The forward now has 30 points to lead Zags.
18 points off 11 Idaho State turnovers for the Bulldogs. Gonzaga has only turned the ball over five times
Halftime – Gonzaga 60, Idaho State 42: Another player getting his first minutes for the Zags as freshman guard Greg Foster Jr. enters the game.
Bulldogs really tightening up on defense as Geno Crandall forces the Bengals’ ninth turnover of the half. Hachimura takes it to the other end for a bucket. The junior big man is now up to 21 in the game.
Gonzaga shooting the ball extremely well against this ISU defense. At this rate, reserves should see plenty of minutes for the Bulldogs in the second half.
Norvell also has a team-high six rebounds, while Kispert leads the way with four assists.
Bulldogs shoot 52.8 percent from the floor in the first half, along with 42.9 percent from deep and 76.2 percent from the free-throw line.
Idaho state shoots 45.9 percent overall and 36.4 percent from 3-point range in the opening 20 minutes.
3:09 – Gonzaga 55, Idaho State 36: Norvell with another 3-pointer, his third of the night. He now has 19 points to go with six rebounds and two assists.
After Idaho State took a brief lead, it’s been all Gonzaga. Zags use a 10-4 run over a two-minute stretch, in which they hit 7 of 8 field goals.
Bulldogs shooting 58.1 percent from the floor and 60 percent from 3-point range.
Brandon Boyd leads the Bengals with 11 points.
Hachimura and Norvell the first players into double figures for the Zags – both with 10.
Crandall also nets his first points for the Bulldogs, making a pair of shots from the charity stripe.
10:04 – Gonzaga 24, Idaho State 21: Idaho State starting to find its footing on offense after the first media break, while Gonzaga has started to struggle on the offensive side.
Turnovers from Norvell and grad transfer Geno Crandall lead to easy buckets for the Bengals, who pull within two points and force GU coach Mark Few to take a timeout.
One question heading into this season for the Bulldogs will be their depth without Wooden watch list forward Killian Tillie. Through the first 10 minutes, Crandall and freshman forward Filip Petrusev have been the only bench players to see court time.
Hachimura ends the GU drought with a two-handed slam, followed by a pair of buckets from Clarke and Josh Perkins, his first score of the game
15:46 – Gonzaga 17, Idaho State 6: Bulldogs open its season wearing their turquoise jerseys in recognition of Native American Heritage Month. Different look than we normally see from the Zags.
GU offense finding an early rhythm, highlighted by a huge Brandon Clarke slam on a breakaway. Zags also get 3-pointers on each wing from Zach Norvell Jr. and Corey Kispert.
Clarke also getting it done on the defensive side of the floor with big block, leading to Kispert’s second triple of the game. The sophomore wing has six points early for GU.
Norvell leads all scorers with seven early points. Idaho State led by Kelvin Jones’ four points.
Gonzaga names starting 5 against Idaho State