Gonzaga Bulldogs guard Andrew Nembhard (3) celebrates with forward Drew Timme (2) and guard Matthew Lang (23) after they won their Jerry Colangelo Classic matchup against Texas Tech on Saturday, Dec 18, 2021, at Footprint Center in Phoenix, Ariz. Gonzaga won the game 69-55. (Tyler Tjomsland/The Spokesman-Review)
Gonzaga flipped the script on recent shooting woes, putting in its best perimeter performance of the season in a 69-55 win over Texas Tech in Phoenix.
The No. 5 Bulldogs (9-2) were red hot in the desert, shooting 41.9% on 3-pointers during their win over the No. 25 Red Raiders (8-2).
The shooting surge came from Andrew Nembhard and Rasir Bolton, who combined for 31 points and 9-for-18 on 3-pointers. Nembhard hadn’t made a 3-pointer in four games, but converted 3 of 5 attempts in the second half, as the Zags pulled away for a convincing win.
Texas Tech was without its best player, Terrence Shannon Jr., who was sidelined with back spasms. Still, the Red Raiders battled early in the second half and cut the GU lead to two points with 14:18 remaining.
That was as close as Texas Tech would get.
The Bulldogs responded with back-to-back 3-pointers from Nembhard and Anton Watson – who played a key role off the bench with 10 points. The Zags extended that to a 15-4 run over the next four minutes.
GU has a short turnaround before Monday’s game against Northern Arizona in Spokane.
19:50 - GU 1, TTech 0: Timme gets inside and makes the first of two free throw attempts, as the second rattles out. Timme went into today’s game shooting 65.2% on free throws.
14:53 - GU 10, TTech 6: Santos-Silva is called for offensive three seconds for the Red Raiders before the first media timeout.
TTech is struggling from the field to open the game, shooting 2 of 8, while the Zags are 4 of 9. All five of GU’s misses have come on 3-pointers – shooting 1 of 6 – which has become a talking point over the last week, as the Bulldogs have struggled to find their shooting stroke.
11:00 - GU 15, TTech 10: Shooting struggles continue for the Red Raiders, now at 4 of 14 from the field. TTech is outrebounding GU 11-8, which is keeping it in the game.
Four scorers so far from the Zags led by Strawther’s six points. Timme, Nembhard and Holmgren each have three apiece.
6:45 - GU 23, TTech 13: Rasir Bolton makes a pair of 3-pointers to bring the Zags to 4 of 12 in the game and extends the Bulldogs’ lead to 10 at the U-8 media timeout.
Six different Bulldogs have points. Chet Holmgren’s impact has been felt on defense closing out shooters, and has grabbed six of GU’s 12 rebounds.
4:42 - GU 26, TTech 18: A hectic series ends with Nadolny fouled by Sallis and the Red Raiders cutting into the Bulldog lead. Dunks and blocks on either end for TTech.
2:03 - GU 31, TTech 22: Watson gets a steal playing a key role off the bench at the final media timeout of the half. Watson with five points, three rebounds and two steals in 12 minutes.
Bolton up to a team-high nine points on 3-for-6 shooting on 3-poiners.
The Bulldogs played well in the first half, limiting its turnovers to four, contesting shots and shooting 6 of 17 on 3-pointers – an uptick of 7% from the past three games.
TTech holds a 21-17 advantage on rebounds, which has been its strongpoint thus far. Kevin McCullar is leading the Red Raiders with eight points and six rebounds. The score may also be different if TTech’s best player – Terrence Shannon Jr. – was able to play, as he is sidelined with back spasms.
GU will need to keep working the ball to Bolton and Strawther in the second half, who’ve combined for half of the Zags’ points. Timme has been ineffective, as the Red Raider defense is switching to a double-team when he gets the ball.
17:01 - GU 42, TTech 32: Nothing but net to open the second half.
Timme opens the period with a layup, before the Red Raiders trade a pair of 3-pointers with Bolton, who is now 5 of 10 from deep with a team-high 15 points.
15:50 - GU 42, TTech 33: McCullar is called for a flop warning under the basket, as contact is initiated by Nembhard, who then missed the open mid-range jumper.
Red Raiders’ ball after the media timeout.
14:42 - GU 42, TTech 38: A big 3-pointer by Arms makes it a 6-0 Red Raider run over the last 2:11 and the Bulldogs call a timeout.
12:56 - GU 48, TTech 42: The Zags answer with back-to-back 3-pointers from Nembhard and Watson. Batcho gets a bucket back for the Red Raiders, who then call a timeout.
Watson has been huge for the Zags off the bench, with 10 points, three rebounds and two steals – shooting 3 of 3 from the field. Bolton still leads with a team-high 15 points and seven Bulldogs have scored. Only Bolton and Watson are in double-figures.
7:59 - GU 62, TTech 47: It’s been all Zags since the Red Raiders cut the lead to four points.
The Bulldogs have flipped the script on their shooting slump in recent games, making 6 of 11 3-pointers in the second half. Bolton and Watson still the only two Zags in double digits, but Strawther and Nembhard have nine apiece, while Timme and Hickman have seven apiece.
3:50 - GU 67, TTech 51: Not much left to do for the Zags at the final media timeout. Bulldog perimiter has been the story, surging in the second half, after struggling the past three games.
GU looks like a different team when its effective on 3-pointers. Bolton and Nembhard have done a majority of the damage from deep, combining for 9-for-18.
Gonzaga players stood and watched as Texas Tech cut down the Final Four nets the last time these teams met in 2019.
The No. 5 Bulldogs (8-2) won’t have the satisfaction of a NCAA Tournament semifinal berth, but can add another Top-25 win to its resume against the No. 25 Red Raiders (8-1) today at 10 a.m. on CBS.
The game will be hosted in Phoenix, Arizona, as part of the Jerry Colangelo Classic.
The Zags had an eight day break after a 80-55 win over Merrimack due to its game against Washington being canceled as the Huskies dealt with COVID-19 concerns. GU has cooled off from its hot start the past five games, losing a closely to Duke in Las Vegas, looking sluggish against Tarleton State and falling to Alabama in Seattle.
Texas Tech has climbed into the AP Poll for the first time this season, after beating then-No.13 Tennessee 57-52 in overtime. The Red Raiders last beat Arkansas State 75-62 on Tuesday. Its other six wins have come against thwarted mid-majors with a combined 11-54 record.
Texas Tech’s lone loss was 72-68 at Providence on Dec. 7.
GU and Texas Tech have played three times, with the Red Raiders winning all three.
Most recently, the Zags fell 75-69 in the NCAA Tournament West Region Final, as Rui Hachimura’s 22 points and Brandon Clarke’s 18 point, 12 rebound performances weren’t enough to lift the Bulldogs into the semifinal. TTech went on to beat Michigan State 61-51, before losing to Virginia 85-77 in the championship.
Gonzaga guard Zach Norvell Jr. (in front ) and Gonzaga forward Rui Hachimura (21) leave the court after Texas tech defeated the Zags in the NCAA West Regional Final college men’s basketball game Thurs., March 30, 2019, at the Honda Center in Anaheim, Calif. . (Colin Mulvany / The Spokesman-Review)
The Red Raiders also beat GU in the Round of 32 during the 2005 NCAA Tournament 71-69. Ronald Ross made a go-ahead 3-pointer with 7.5 seconds remaining to sink the 3rd-seeded Zags.
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