NEXT GAME: Saturday, Jan. 4: Pepperdine Waves at Gonzaga Bulldogs, 7 p.m. PST TV: ESPN2
PORTLAND – Killian Tillie scored 22 points, Corey Kispert added 18 and the No. 1 Gonzaga Bulldogs fought back from a halftime deficit to beat the Portland Pilots 85-72 at the Chiles Center on Thursday night.
Tillie scored 18 in the second half as the Zags (15-1, 1-0 WCC) erased Portland’s 42-35 halftime lead.
All five Zags’ starters scored in double figures in their WCC opener. Point guard Ryan Woolridge had 15 points, Joel Ayayi chipped in 13 and Filip Petrusev had 11 points. Petrusev also had a game-high eight rebounds.
JoJo Walker led Portland (8-8, 0-1) with 15 points, but was stymied by Gonzaga’s defense in the second half. He scored just five after the break.
The Zags forced Portland into 14 turnovers and converted those into 22 points. Gonzaga didn’t turn the ball over in the second half and had just four in the game.
The Pilots ran off a 14-2 run during the middle of the first half to turn a 19-10 deficit into a 24-21 lead with 8:43 left. Portland hit 6 of 8 3-pointers in the opening half to build the 7-point lead at the break.
Gonzaga came out of halftime and used a 16-0 run, highlighted by a steal and dunk by Tillie, to take a 55-47 lead with 13:10 left and never looked back. GU hounded Portland into four turnovers during the run.
Isaiah White added 12 points for Portland.
14:33 – Gonzaga 15, Portland 7: Corey Kispert has five points to propel the Bulldogs to the early lead in Portland.
Joel Ayayi and Ryan Woolridge have both added four for GU.
Isaiah White leads Portland with five points on 2-of-4 shooting. Portland has turned the ball over five times.
11:17 – Gonzaga 19, Portland 13: The Zags continue to lead despite taking a 2-minute, 6-second scoring drought into the under-12 media timeout.
The Zags had the lead up to 11 before Portland fired back with two 3-pointers. Portland is shooting 75% from deep.
Corey Kispert continues to lead the Zags with 6 points.
7:37 – Portland 26, Gonzaga 23: The Pilots can’t seem to miss and have surged into the lead at the Chiles Center.
Portland has made 6 of its last 7 shots while the Zags have gone cold.
GU is shooting 45% from the field, but has connected on just 1 of its 8 3-point attempts.
Portland is 4 of 5 from 3 for the game.
3:31 – Portland 34, Gonzaga 29: Portland is getting done from beyond the arc and on the glass and now leads the Zags by 5.
The Pilots are shooting 75% from 3-point range and have pulled down six offensive rebounds.
JoJo Walker leads Portland with 10 points on 4-of-5 shooting.
Joel Ayayi leads Gonzaga with eight points.
Half – Portland 42, Gonzaga 35: JoJo Walker has 10 points and the Pilots lead the Bulldogs at the break in Portland.
UP hasn’t missed many shots, connecting on 6 of 8 3-pointers and 54.5% overall.
The Zags on the other hand can’t seem to buy a bucket from deep. GU is just 2 of 10 from 3-point range. They have also struggled at the free throw line, making 5 of 11.
Corey Kispert leads Gonzaga with 11 points. Joel Ayayi has chipped in eight.
Portland has outrebounded the Zags, 20-16, and has received more points from its bench, 16-3.
The Pilots ran off a 14-2 run during the middle of the half to turn a 19-10 deficit into a 24-21 lead with 8:43 left.
15:47 – Portland 47, Gonzaga 46: The Zags ride a 7-0 run into the media timeout and have cut Portland’s lead to 1.
Gonzaga has clamped down on the defensive end to open the half, holding the Pilots scoreless the last 2 minutes, 28 seconds and to just 2-of-7 shooting.
Corey Kispert still leads GU with 11 points. Filip Petrusev and Ryan Woolridge each have nine.
11:47 – Gonzaga 55, Portland 49: The GU defense continues to fluster Portland as the Zags take the lead back on a 16-2 run.
Portland has made just three shots and has turned the ball over four times in the half.
Gonzaga is 8-of-18 shooting in the half. Portland has taken just nine shots.
Corey Kispert leads GU with 14 points.
JoJo Walker leads Portland with 10 points, the same number he had at the half.
6:59 – Gonzaga 70, Portland 57: Killian Tillie has scored 14 points this half and the Bulldogs have ballooned the lead to 13.
Tillie has 18 points in the game to lead five Zags in double figures. Corey Kispert has 14, Ryan Woolridge 12, Fillip Petrusev 11 and Joel Ayayi has 10.
Gonzaga has outscored Portland 35-15 in the half.
3:42 – Gonzaga 75, Portland 62: Gonzaga maintains its double-digit lead at the final media timeout.
Killian Tillie is up to 20 points for GU.
JoJo Walker has 13 points to lead Portland.
Gonzaga has not turned the ball over in the half and has forced Portland into six giveaways.
Final – Gonzaga 85, Portland 72: Killian Tillie scored 22 points, Corey Kispert added 18 and the Bulldogs fought back from a halftime deficit to beat the host Pilots.
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