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Recap and highlights: No. 1 Gonzaga fends off Santa Clara

Corey Kispert had 25 points to lead five Gonzaga scorers in double-figures, Jalen Suggs filled up the stat sheet and the No. 1 Bulldogs turned around an early deficit to beat the Santa Clara Broncos 89-75 on Thursday at McCarthey Athletic Center in Spokane.

Suggs had 13 points, 11 rebounds, eight assists and two steals.

Gonzaga center Drew Timme finished with 18 points after scoring just two in the first half.

Joel Ayayi scored 11 points and grabbed nine rebounds and reserve guard Aaron Cook added 10 points on 3-of-5 shooting for the Zags (23-0, 14-0 WCC).

The Broncos got off to a fast-start, taking a 19-9 lead behind 75% shooting. The Zags erased that deficit with two runs, 11-0 and 8-0, to take a 28-24 lead with 7:20 left in the half and led 40-38 at halftime.

Gonzaga went on a 10-2 run early in the second half and led by as many as 12 before a 6-0 run cut the advantage in half.

10 straight GU points by Timme, punctuated by consecutive 3-point plays,  pushed the lead back to 10 and Santa Clara (10-7, 4-5) wouldn’t get closer.

Guglielmo Caruso led Santa Clara with 19 points. Giordan Williams scored 18 points, Josip Vrankic had 14 points and 11 rebounds and Jalen Williams chipped-in 11 points for the Broncos, who shot 46.3% and were 6 of 18 from 3-point range.

Gonzaga shot 51.6% from the field, but just 7 of 24 (29.2%) from 3. The Bulldogs made 16 of 21 free-throws. The Broncos shot only 12 and made 7.

Gonzaga wraps up its regular season on Saturday when it entertains Loyola Marymount at 7 p.m. in the Kennel.

First half

15:51 – SCU 11, Gonzaga 2: The Broncos lead by 9 behind 71.4% shooting.

Gonzaga is just 1-of-8 shooting and looks sluggish on offense as it’s movement off the ball has been lacking.

Giordan Williams leads the Broncos with five points.

Corey Kispert has GU’s two points.

12:00 – SCU 19, Gonzaga 12: The Broncos are shooting 75% and lead the Bulldogs by 7.

Christian Carlyle leads Santa Clara with six points on 3-of-3 shooting.

Joel Ayayi and Jalen Suggs each have three points to pace Gonzaga.

7:20 – Gonzaga 28, SCU 24: The Broncos call timeout as Gonzaga uses an 8-0 run, its second big tear in the last four minutes, to take a 4-point lead.

Trailing 19-9, the Bulldogs went on an 11-0 run before Santa Clara answered back with five straight points.

Corey Kispert leads Gonzaga with nine points on 4-of-5 shooting. The Zags are shooing 50%.

3:51 – Gonzaga 35, SCU 32: Corey Kispert has 11 points and the Bulldogs lead by 3.

Giordan Williams leads Santa Clara with 10 points.

Santa Clara led 29-28 after three straight Gonzaga turnovers, but the Zags took the lead back on an Andrew Nembhard 3-pointer.

Freshman Oumar Ballo is in for Gonzaga as backup forward Anton Watson has three fouls.


Gonzaga 40, SCU 38: Corey Kispert has 11 points and the No. 1 Bulldogs hold a slim lead over the Broncos.

Giordan Williams has a game-high 13 points to lead Santa Clara.

The Broncos got off to a fast-start, taking a 19-9 lead behind 75% shooting. The Zags erased that deficit with two runs, 11-0 and 8-0, to take a 28-24 lead with 7:20 left in the half.

Santa Clara finished the half shooting 44.4% and was 4 of 12 from 3-point range.

Gonzaga shot 43.2% and was 4 of 15 from 3.

Both teams committed seven turnovers and grabbed 22 rebounds.

Gonzaga guard Jalen Suggs has seven points and a game-high seven rebounds. Joel Ayayi has chipped in six points on two made 3s for GU. Ayayi is 2 of 9 shooting and 2 of 6 from 3.

All nine players who played for Gonzaga in the first half scored, including freshmen Oumar Ballo and Ben Gregg. Both have two points.

Drew Timme has two points on 1-of-2 shooting and three rebounds in just eight minutes played for Gonzaga. The Zags leader in scoring and rebounding has two fouls.


Second half

16:33 – Gonzaga 52, SCU 43: The Zags expand the lead to 9 with a 10-2 run and the Broncos call timeout.

Corey Kispert has 16 points to lead GU. He and Joel Ayayi hit 3 pointers during the run.

7:46 – Gonzaga 70, SCU 62: Corey Kispert has 22 points and the Bulldogs lead the Broncos.

The Zags led by as much as 12, but a 6-0 run by Santa Clara cut that advantage in half.

Giordan Williams has 18 points for the Broncos.

Joel Ayayi has 11 points and Drew Timme has 10 for Gonzaga. Timme also picked up his third foul trying to pick up a charge. 

3:55 – Gonzaga 81, SCU 69: Five Gonzaga scorers are in double-figures as the Zags lead by a dozen at the under-4 timeout.

Corey Kispert has 22 points to lead GU. Drew Timme has scored 16, Joel Ayayi and Jalen Suggs each have 11 and Aaron Cook has 10.

Guglielmo Caruso leads Santa Clara with 19 points.

Suggs has four fouls, his fourth coming on a flagrant 1 when he tried to score through contact on a layup.

Starting 5


Individual leaders

Josip Vrankic (SCU) 15.4 43.5 74.2
Drew Timme (GU) 19.1 64.9 70.4
Josip Vrankic (SCU) 8.6 7.2 1.4
Drew Timme (GU) 7.1 4.7 2.4
Jalen Williams (SCU) 2.2 1.6 30.8
Andrew Nembhard (GU) 4.4 1.2 27.5

Team stats

  Santa Clara Gonzaga
Points 67.1 93.4
Points allowed 68.0 69.1
Field goal pct. 41.7 55.4
Rebounds 36.9 38.4
Assists 12.2 18.7
Blocks 4.7 3.2
Steals 4.5 8.6
Streak Won 1 Won 22

Game preview