At the end of pregame warmups, Pacific coach Damon Stoudamire scooped up a basketball and missed a 3-foot shot. The former NBA standout grabbed the rebound and started dribbling toward the bench, but the ball got away.
That’s essentially what Stoudamire’s team did for most of the first half, misfiring on a bunch of shots, many from close range, and committing frequent turnovers.
None of those things is advisable when lining up against top-ranked Gonzaga.
The Bulldogs, who really don’t need much assistance to light up the scoreboard, took full advantage and put another opponent in a huge first-half hole. Gonzaga led by 26 midway through the first half and cruised to a 95-49 victory Saturday at the McCarthey Athletic Center.
Gonzaga (15-0, 6-0 West Coast Conference) led by a season-high 31 points at half. It was the 11thtime the Zags have held a double-digit lead at the break, including six by at least 20 points. The final margin was the most lopsided of the season, edging out a 45-point victory over Dixie State.
“We challenged them a little bit,” Gonzaga coach Mark Few said. “We weren’t quite as crisp or sharp, especially on the defensive end, in both games last week. We had a good week focusing on that and on taking care of the ball.
“It’s hard to get in the flow against them because they’re so tough-minded and in the gaps … 95 points on that defense is a good accomplishment.”
A slow start by both teams gave way to a dominating stretch by the Zags. They had scoring runs of 10, eight, six and eight as their lead ballooned to 38-10.
The Tigers missed 12 of their first 14 shots. Gonzaga had no such issues as sophomore forward Drew Timme buried just his third 3-pointer of the season and was joined by Corey Kispert and Andrew Nembhard connecting from distance.
Timme also dominated in the paint, displaying his assortment of moves and finishes as Gonzaga’s lead continued to expand.
“We came in more focused,” Timme said. “We didn’t have our best week last week, and we took it personally. We are a vulnerable team when we don’t do what were supposed to do offensively and defensively.”
Freshman point guard Jalen Suggs, who landed flat on his back after grabbing an offensive rebound in the opening minutes, showed no lingering effects as he racked up nine points, 11 boards and eight assists. Joel Ayayi recorded the program’s first triple-double earlier this month against Portland.
“I don’t usually get into that, but we were trying, and he was trying too hard,” Few said of keeping Suggs on the court for a few extra minutes in pursuit of a triple-double. “Our guys were probably trying a little too hard. He had a nice impact on the game.”
After single-game lows of six assists and 73 points in last Saturday’s win over Saint Mary’s, the Zags were back to their highly efficient ways, even if their scoring pace slowed down over the final 10 minutes.
The Zags shot 49.2% from the field after missing two shots on their final possession. They hit 46.2% behind the 3-point line, 77.8% at the free-throw line and nine Zags combined to hand out 19 assists.
“The ball movement was better against a team that was pretty determined to jam up all our actions up, especially our rim runs,” Few said. “One thing this team has is they can really pass the ball, especially that starting group, and then when you throw Andrew out there you have six guys that can really pass.”
Gonzaga led by as many as 49 in the second half.
Timme scored 22 points in 24 minutes. Kispert made three 3-pointers and scored 16 points and Joel Ayayi added 12 points. Freshman guard Dominick Harris had 11 points in 12 minutes.
Guard Daniss Jenkins scored a team-high 17 points and Pierre Crockrell II added 11 for the Tigers (5-3, 2-2).
The Zags visit San Diego on Thursday and Pepperdine on Saturday.
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