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Sports >  Gonzaga basketball

Key matchup: Junior guard Jalen Williams putting up big numbers for Santa Clara

UPDATED: Fri., Feb. 18, 2022

Jalen Williams has emerged as one of the primary reasons Santa Clara is third place in the West Coast Conference standings after being picked for sixth in the coaches’ preseason poll.

The 6-foot-6, 195-pound junior guard paces the Broncos in scoring (17.8 ppg), and he’s been highly efficient in the process.

Williams is connecting on 55.8% of shots inside the arc, 39.3% on 3-pointers and 83% at the free-throw line. His stats as a sophomore: 11.5 points, 47.2% inside the arc, 27.4% on 3s and 75.7% on free throws.

Williams and Gonzaga’s Drew Timme are neck and neck in the WCC scoring race. Both are listed at 17.8 points, rounding off. Timme is technically a fraction ahead at 17.79 with Williams at 17.77. In conference games only, Timme is first at 19.1 with Loyola Marymount’s Eli Scott at 18.7.

Williams has been at his best in some of Santa Clara’s biggest conference games. He scored 26 points and hit the winning shot against BYU. He scored 18 in a home victory over Saint Mary’s. He scored 16 and 23 in a pair of losses to San Francisco.

Williams finished with 17 points in last month’s 115-83 loss to the Zags in Santa Clara, but he endured one of his tougher shooting performances – 6 of 16 from the field.

Sophomore wing Julian Strawther will probably draw the defensive assignment on Williams, but the Zags have multiple options with starting point guard Andrew Nembhard or Hunter Sallis off the bench.

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