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Recap and highlights: No. 1 Gonzaga runs away from Pepperdine in second half

UPDATED: Thu., Jan. 14, 2021

Corey Kispert scored 23 points, Drew Timme had 20 points and No. 1 Gonzaga used a dominant second half to power past Pepperdine 95-70 Thursday night at McCarthey Athletic Center in Spokane.

The Bulldogs turned a four-point halftime lead into a rout for their 40th win in a row over the Waves.

Joel Ayayi had 19 points and six rebounds for the Zags (13-0, 4-0 WCC). Jalen Suggs added 18 points on 8-of-13 shooting and Anton Watson had a game-high 10 rebounds.

Kessler Edwards led Pepperdine (4-6, 0-1) with 14 points. Kene Chukwuka added 11 points.

Waves standout Colbey Ross was held to nine points on 2-of-10 shooting. He came into the game averaging 19 points. The point guard did finish with a game-best seven assists.

Gonzaga led 43-39 at halftime after the Waves fought back from an 11-point deficit late in the half.

After a lackluster first half, the Zags found their shooting touch in the second half to pull away. They shot 61.3% and made 5 of 11 3-pointers in the period. Pepperdine shot just 31% in the half and had only three made 3s as GU turned up the defense.

Kispert finished 7-of-13 shooting and was 6 of 11 from 3. Timme made 50% of his shots and had seven rebounds and four assists.

Even with the slow start Gonzaga finished the game at 53.1% shooting, just below its 55.6% season average.

Behind Timme, Ayayi and Watson, Gonzaga found success inside. The Zags outscored Pepperdine 50-26 in the paint and held a 47-28 edge in rebounding. Gonzaga grabbed 15 offensive rebounds and exchanged those for 17 second-chance points. Pepperdine had just six and five.

Pepperdine was playing its first game in 23 days due to COVID-19 issues.

The Zags are back in action on Saturday in Moraga, California, where they will face the Saint Mary’s Gaels. Tip is now set for 7 p.m. PST.

Gonzaga Bulldogs / YouTube

First half

15:14 – Gonzaga 10, Pepperdine 4: A couple of 3-pointers from Corey Kispert has powered the Gonzaga offense.

Kispert has two catch-and-shoot 3s and leads the Zags with six points. Two solid screens by Anton Watson freed Kispert up for the wide-open looks.

Pepperdine has scored on two uncontested dunks.

11:24 – Gonzaga 18, Pepperdine 11: Corey Kispert, Joel Ayayi and Drew Timme each have six points to lead the Bulldogs.

Neither team is shooting the ball well at the moment. Gonzaga has missed its last five 3-point attempts and the Waves have made just 1 of 5 3-pointers. 

Ayayi, who had a triple-double last game, also has four steals and two rebounds.

7:58 – Gonzaga 23, Pepperdine 21: The Waves, who hadn’t played in 23 days due to COVID-19 issues, use a 10-2 run to keep tight with the poor-shooting Zags.

Jade’ Smith leads Pepperdine with seven points on 3-of-3 shootings. The Waves are shooting 50%.

Waves top-scorer Colbey Ross picked up his second foul and went to the bench.

Gonzaga is shooting just 36.4% and 3 of 10 from 3-point range.

Joel Ayayi leads the Bulldogs with 11 points.

2:59 – Gonzaga 38, Pepperdine 30: The Zags use a 13-4 run to take back the lead and create a bit of separation from the Waves at the under-4 media timeout.

Corey Kispert and Joel Ayayi each have 11 points to lead Gonzaga. Kispert is 3 of 7 on 3-pointers, the rest of the Bulldogs are 1 of 5.

Gonzaga has no points from its bench.

Robbie Heath leads Pepperdine with nine points. The Waves led 26-25 before Gonzaga got going.

Halftime

Gonzaga 43, Pepperdine 39: Darryl Polk Jr. knocks down a 3-pointer for Pepperdine as the first half ends and the Waves are sticking with the No. 1 Zags in the Kennel.

Gonzaga pushed its lead to 11 with just over 2 minutes to play in the half, but Pepperdine answered with a 9-2 run.

Joel Ayayi leads Gonzaga with 14 points. Corey Kispert has 11.

Robbie Heath leads Pepperdine with nine points. Colbey Ross has been held to four points on 2-of-5 shooting and played just 13 minutes due to foul trouble.

Gonzaga started slowly on offense, shooting the ball poorly and turning it over. The Zags made six of their final seven shots to finish the half at 45.5% shooting. They have eight turnovers.

Pepperdine is shooting 50% from the field and 40% from 3-point range.

Gonzaga is 4 of 12 from 3. Kispert has three makes and Ayayi has the other.

The Zags have just two points from their bench, a layup by guard Andrew Nembhard. 

Gonzaga has forced 10 turnovers, but hasn’t been successful in transition with only six fast-break points.

Second half

15:50 – Gonzaga 50, Pepperdine 43: Zags open the half with a 7-0 run before going scoreless over the next 2:30.

Corey Kispert hit his fourth 3-pointer of the game to get the half started.

The Bulldogs have dealt with fouls since then. Starters Joel Ayayi and Jalen Suggs each have three fouls and backup Andrew Nembhard has been whistled for four.

11:15 – Gonzaga 63, Pepperdine 48: A 10-2 run by the Zags gives them their largest lead of the game.

Drew Timme is up to 13 points for Gonzaga. The center had five during the run.

4:12 – Gonzaga 83, Pepperdine 64: Drew Timme has 11 points in the second half to push the Zags to a 19-point lead.

Timme has 18 points. Corey Kispert leads GU with 23.

Kessler Edwards leads Pepperdine with 12 points.

Starting 5

Pregame

Individual leaders

POINTS PPG FG% FT%
Colbey Ross (PU) 19.0 46.2 82.7
Corey Kispert (GU) 21.1 60.8 86.5
REBOUNDS RPG DRPG ORPG
Kessler Edwards (PU) 5.9 4.7 1.2
Joel Ayayi (GU) 8.1 6.2 1.9
ASSISTS APG TOPG MPG
Colbey Ross (PU) 7.2 3.8 38.4
Jalen Suggs (GU) 5.1 2.6 26.5

Team stats

  Pepperdine Gonzaga
Points 77.9 96.1
Points allowed 73.6 73.4
Field goal pct. 47.1 55.6
Rebounds 34.4 39.4
Assists 17.6 21.3
Blocks 3.9 3.0
Steals 6.0 8.4
Streak Lost 2 Won 12

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