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Gonzaga Basketball

Gonzaga’s Killian Tillie makes return to court after seven-game absence, hits trio of early 3’s

Gonzaga Bulldogs forward Killian Tillie (33) warms up before facing the Pepperdine Waves in the WCC men's semifinal game on Monday, March 11, 2019, at The Orleans Arena in Las Vegas, Nev. (Tyler Tjomsland / The Spokesman-Review)

LAS VEGAS – Mark Few didn’t wait long to pull Killian Tillie off Gonzaga’s bench and Tillie didn’t wait long to leave his print on Monday’s WCC Tournament semifinal against Pepperdine.

The embattled junior forward has missed 22 games this season – the last seven because of a partially torn plantar fascia – but returned to the floor for the first time in more than a month, checking in less than five minutes into Monday’s contest.

Then Tillie picked up where he left off in last year’s conference tournament, draining his first two 3-point attempts for a quick six points and then hitting a third later in the half. Tillie also pulled down three early rebounds, dished out an assist and had a steal in the first half.

Tillie was a remarkable 13-of-14 from beyond the arc in last year’s WCC Tournament and shot 78 percent from the field, averaging 24 points before earning tournament Most Valuable Player honors.

Few didn’t specify whether Tillie would be available for the conference tournament, but there were signs that he may return in time to help the Zags claim their seventh straight WCC tourney title. Tillie began practicing with GU again last Thursday and went through pregame warmups with the Bulldogs Monday in Las Vegas.

The French forward missed the first 15 games of the year with a stress fracture in his ankle and played in nine WCC games before suffering a second injury in the Zags’ 92-62 win over USF on Feb. 7.