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Sports >  Gonzaga basketball

Gonzaga-Saint Mary’s key matchup: Tommy Kuhse directs Gaels’ offense

Jan. 15, 2021 Updated Sat., Jan. 16, 2021 at 2:15 p.m.

It went well against Pepperdine’s Colbey Ross, BYU’s Alex Barcello and San Francisco’s Jamaree Bouyea and Khalil Shabazz for the most part. Next on Gonzaga’s tour of quality West Coast Conference point guards: Tommy Kuhse of Saint Mary’s.

The 6-foot-2, 185-pound Kuhse is having an outstanding senior season, a fitting conclusion to his impressive career. Kuhse started roughly half (46) of 91 games in his first three seasons, but he wasn’t awarded a scholarship until last summer.

Kuhse pilots the Gaels with 14.5 points per game, 5.5 assists, 3.8 rebounds and 1.7 steals. Saint Mary’s doesn’t have its usual firepower – i.e., Jordan Ford and Malik Fitts the past two seasons – so Kuhse has been forced to carry a heavy load.

He’s a crafty scorer off the bounce, able to get to the rim or hit runners in the lane. He doesn’t rely on 3-pointers – 13 made 3s in 13 games. He torched Eastern Washington for 34 points with just one 3 in an 80-75 victory a month ago.

Gonzaga guards were in foul trouble for most of Thursday’s win over Pepperdine, but the Zags still managed to slow down Ross. Reserve guard Aaron Cook did a solid job in the second half when the Zags took command. Jalen Suggs will likely open on Kuhse with Andrew Nembhard and Cook probably next in line.

“Once we got Jalen back on (Ross) the second time in the second half, he was able to guard like he’s usually capable of,” GU coach Mark Few said. “We just have to try to keep Jalen out of foul trouble, which is difficult because he’s so aggressive some times.”

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