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Gonzaga Basketball

Gonzaga-Tarleton State difference makers: Chet Holmgren helps Bulldogs pull away from Tahj Small, Tarleton State in second half

Staff Report

Chet Holmgren

Holmgren committed four turnovers and wasn’t immune to the ball security issues that plagued much of Gonzaga’s roster on Monday, but it didn’t overshadow everything else the 7-foot freshman did to help a slow-starting Bulldogs team keep

its home winning streak alive. Holmgren blocked four more shots against Tarleton State, bringing his season total to 30, and hauled down nine rebounds. The Minnesota native finished 6 of 7 from the field with 15 points.

Tahj SmallThe Tarleton State guard wasn’t the most efficient player on the floor, but he walked out of McCarthey Athletic Center as the game’s leading scorer, pouring in 25 points on 9 of 21 shooting. Small, who scored 17 of his 25 points in the second half, was solid from beyond the arc, connecting on 5 of 11, and made both of his free throws. He added seven rebounds and two steals for the Texans of the Western Athletic Conference.

Turning point

Gonzaga spent the better part of 40 minutes waiting for a turning point and the first semblance of one came with 5:34 to play when Chet Holmgren replaced Drew Timme and delivered consecutive baskets for the home squad. After drawing a foul on a layup in the paint, Holmgren missed the ensuing free throw, but Julian Strawther rose high to grab the offensive rebound. When Rasir Bolton missed GU’s next shot at the rim, Holmgren snapped up another offensive rebound and got the putback to fall, giving the Zags a 55-47 lead, their biggest of the game at that juncture.Theo Lawson can be reached at (509) 939-5928 or theol@spokesman.com.