Arrow-right Camera
Go to e-Edition Sign up for newsletters Customer service
Subscribe now
Sports >  Gonzaga basketball

Recap and highlights: Corey Kispert, Joel Ayayi pace No. 1 Gonzaga past Dixie State

Dec. 29, 2020 Updated Tue., Dec. 29, 2020 at 9:48 p.m.

Corey Kispert scored 25 points, Joel Ayayi had 21 points and 11 rebounds and No. 1 Gonzaga defeated Dixie State 112-67 Tuesday night at McCarthey Athletic Center in Spokane.

Freshman Oumar Ballo made strong use of his extended playing time, scoring 17 points in 13 minutes off the bench for the Zags (9-0).

Kispert went 10-of-16 shooting, Ayayi was 8 of 9 and Ballo made his six attempts as the Zags shot 60.3% and eclipsed the 100-point mark for the second time this season.

Cameron Gooden led Dixie State with 20 points. He was 3 of 5 from 3-point range, but the rest of the Trailblazers went just 1 of 10, giving them little chance of sticking with the top-ranked Bulldogs.

Drew Timme and Andrew Nembhard each added nine points for Gonzaga. Timme played just 18 minutes as Ballo filled in at center most of the second half. Nembhard, who started again for injured point guard Jalen Suggs, also had five assists and no turnovers.

Suggs suffered a right leg injury on Saturday against Virginia. The team says the injury is not serious.

Jacob Nicolds added 11 points for Dixie State (4-2). Jarod Greene, who played at North Idaho College, and Trevon Allfrey each had 10.

Anton Watson, Dominick Harris and Julian Strawther each scored eight points for Gonzaga.

This was Ayayi’s second double-double in as many nights after his 17-point, 10-rebound performance against Northern Arizona on Monday.

Gonzaga starts West Coast Conference play on Saturday when they host San Francisco. The game is scheduled for 7 p.m.

Gonzaga Bulldogs / YouTube

First half

15:52 – Gonzaga 12, DSU 9: Corey Kispert and Drew Timme each have four points to pace the Zags, who are facing a strong start from the Trailblazers.

Dixie State has found success getting into the lane, with eight of its nine points coming in the paint. The other was a free throw.

Jarod Greene, who played at North Idaho, leads DSU with four points.

11:30 – Gonzaga 30, DSU 18: A pair of 3-pointers from Joel Ayayi pushes the Zags’ lead to double digits.

Ayayi has 10 points on 3-of-3 shooting. The Zags are on an 8-0 run and are shooting 75%.

Dixie State hasn’t scored in the last two minutes, but is still shooting 50%.

Gonzaga’s leading scorer Corey Kispert picked up his second foul on a reach in and will probably spend most of the rest of the half on the bench.

8:00 – Gonzaga 36, DSU 24: Joel Ayayi continues to fill it up for the Zags.

The guard from France has 14 points on 5-of-6 shooting. He also has a game-high four rebounds and three assists.

Zags freshman Oumar Ballo got in the lane and threw down an ally-oop off a feed from Andrew Nembhard. Ballo played four solid minutes at center with starter Drew Timme on the bench.

3:47 – Gonzaga 49, DSU 26: ‘Two fouls, so what’ for Zags senior Corey Kispert as he checks back in the game and scores eight quick points to fuel a 17-4 GU run that has pushed the lead over 20.

Kispert made 3-pointers on consecutive possessions and then outmuscled his defender to an offensive rebound and put back to take his total to 12 points. 


Gonzaga 63, DSU 38: Joel Ayayi has 19 points, Corey Kispert has 12 and the No. 1 Zags lead Dixie State by 25 at the break in the Kennel.

Ayayi also has a game-high five rebounds and four assists. The guard from France had 14 points in the first 12 minutes.

Kispert, GU’s leading scorer, played just 12 minutes after picking up two early fouls. He returned late in the half to score eight quick points, sparking a 17-4 Zags’ run that pushed the lead over 20 points.

Drew Timme and Andrew Nembhard each have nine points for the Zags. Nembhard, starting again for injured point guard Jalen Suggs, also has four assists.

Cameron Gooden leads Dixie State with 10 points on 3-of-8 shooting.

The Trailblazers shot the ball well early in the half to stick within single digits of the Zags, but went cold late. They made just one of their last five 3-pointers and are shooting 28.6% from 3.

The Zags are shooting 66.7% from the field and 50% from 3.

Suggs is out again with a right leg injury that the team says is not serious.

Second half

15:40 – Gonzaga 73, DSU 45: Joel Ayayi has 21 points and eight rebounds as the Zags remain in control after halftime.

Ayayi chased down a missed GU layup and scored to match his career high with 21 points.

Corey Kispert scored the first five points of the half for Gonzaga and has 17.

11:30 – Gonzaga 87, DSU 56: Zags guard Joel Ayayi has his second consecutive double-double, as he pulled down his 10th rebound to go with 21 points.

Ayayi, who is 8-of-9 shooting, also has six assists.

Corey Kispert leads GU with 23 points. He has made four 3-pointers.

Cameron Gooden leads Dixie State with 20 points on 5-of-12 shooting. The guard has made three 3-pointers.

7:58 – Gonzaga 93, DSU 56: Corey Kispert has 25 points on 10-of-16 shooting to lead all scorers.

Freshman center Oumar Ballo has nine points in nine minutes for the Zags and should get plenty more minutes with most the GU starters riding the rest of this one out on the bench.

3:59 – Gonzaga 106, DSU 58: The Zags crack the 100-point mark for the second time this season and are well on their way to their ninth win.

GU freshman Oumar Ballo has 17 points on 6-of-6 shooting in 13 minutes off the bench. He also has five rebounds.

Gonzaga freshman Ben Gregg will make his first appearance of the season. The Oregon native graduated high school early and joined the Zags a couple weeks ago.

Starting 5


Follow along here as the No. 1 Gonzaga Bulldogs (8-0) host the Dixie State Trailblazers (4-1) tonight at McCarthey Athletic Center in Spokane. The game is scheduled for 6 p.m. PST. You can watch on KHQ in the Spokane area or on ROOT Sports around the Northwest.

The Zags won last night, 88-58 against Northern Arizona, behind 17 points and 10 rebounds from Joel Ayayi. Gonzaga played NAU without starting point guard Jalen Suggs. The freshman sat out with a right leg injury he suffered during the Zags’ win against Virginia on Saturday. The team says the injury is not serious.

Suggs is not going through warm-ups tonight and looks set to miss another game.

Individual leaders

Jacob Nicolds (DSU) 13.4 56.1 63.0
Corey Kispert (GU) 20.6 61.5 87.5
Jacob Nicolds (DSU) 6.8 5.6 1.2
Joel Ayayi (GU) 7.4 5.6 1.8
Cameron Gooden (DSU) 3.8 3.4 31.4
Jalen Suggs (GU) 5.9 2.7 27.3

Team stats

  Dixie State Gonzaga
Points 80.2 94.3
Points allowed 69.0 74.4
Field goal pct. 48.9 55.0
Rebounds 37.0 40.0
Assists 16.6 20.8
Blocks 2.2 3.1
Steals 6.6 8.9
Streak Won 1 Won 8

Last game

The Spokesman-Review Newspaper

Local journalism is essential.

Give directly to The Spokesman-Review's Northwest Passages community forums series -- which helps to offset the costs of several reporter and editor positions at the newspaper -- by using the easy options below. Gifts processed in this system are not tax deductible, but are predominately used to help meet the local financial requirements needed to receive national matching-grant funds.

Active Person

Follow along with the Zags

Subscribe to our Gonzaga Basketball newsletter to stay up with the latest news.