Gonzaga came back from a three-game COVID-19 break with a statement win over Pepperdine to open West Coast Conference play.
The No. 4 Zags (12-2, 1-0 WCC) opened on a 10-0 run and never looked back, setting a season high for points during a 117-83 win over the Waves (6-10, 0-1) in Spokane on Saturday.
The Bulldogs had six players score double figures, led by Anton Watson’s 19 points, as Drew Timme and Chet Holmgren added 18 apiece.
GU shot 54.2% from the field, 40% on 3-pointers and had a 2-to-1 assist to turnover ratio in its most impressive offensive showing of the year. The win could likely shoot the Bulldogs up to No. 2 in the Associated Press Top-25 poll, after No. 2 Duke lost to Miami 76-74 and No. 3 Purdue lost to No. 23 Wisconsin earlier in the week.
The Zags will have a tougher task this Thursday, hosting BYU at 8 p.m. on an ESPN Network channel to be determined.
18:08 - GU 10, PU 0: Zags jump out to a quick lead emphasized with a dunk by Chet Holmgren. The Waves take a timeout. After being favored by 30 points it didn’t take long for the Bulldogs to make a statement.
15:36 - GU 18, PU 7: The Waves get on the board, but Gonzaga takes an early into the first media timeout.
Bulldogs shooting 8 of 10 from the field, led by Timme and Strawther’s seven points apiece.
10:35 - GU 36, PU 14: All Zags at the second media timeout. Bulldogs shooting 14 of 21 from the field to build its 22 point lead in the opening 10 minutes.
Timme leads with nine points, while Holmgren has added eight with four rebounds, two steals and a block.
7:52 - GU 41, PU 18: Seven Bulldogs have scored, as GU takes a 23-point lead into the U8 media timeout.
Holmgren leads with 10 points. Sallis has added a quick seven off the bench.
The Bulldogs are shooting 62.5% from the field and are 4-for-9 on 3-pointers. Pepperdine is 8 of 23 from the field and has nine turnovers.
3:58 - GU 51, PU 28: The Zags are dominating the paint, as three forwards enter double-figures in the half. Timme (11 points), Holmgren (10) and Watson (10) lead the way, as Strawther and Sallis add seven apiece.
Bulldogs are also working the foul line, shooting 11 of 14 as the Waves have committed 15 fouls.
Gonzaga’s offense didn’t have to shake off any rust after a three-game break due to COVID-19, pouring on the points en route to a 63-41 lead over Pepperdine in both teams’ first WCC game of the season.
The Bulldogs have four players in double figures – Anton Watson leads with 12 points, while Drew Timme scored 11 and Rasir Bolton and Chet Holmgren added 10 apiece.
GU shot 56.4% from the field, 42.9% on 3-pointers and 81.3% on free throws, and would be leading by an even larger margin if not for poor close outs on PU 3-pointers, as the Waves have converted 6 of 15 attempts.
18:22 - GU 72, PU 42: Nembhard makes a transition 3-pointer for his first points of the game to extend the Bulldogs’ lead to 30 at the first media timeout of the second half.
Eight different Zags have score, which undoubtedly will end up with more as the bench works into the game in the final 20 minutes.
Elsewhere, No. 2 Duke lost to Miami 76-74, which may open the door for GU to jump up to No. 2 in Monday’s AP Poll, after No. 3 Purdue lost to No. 23 Wisconsin earlier in the week.
15:59 - GU 78, PU 44: The Zags are on a 15-2 run to open the second half and are on course to score their highest total of the season.
Timme takes over the team high with 15 points, while Holmgren adds 14.
11:27 - GU 92, PU 52: The Bulldogs are pouring it on, as the big man trio of Timme, Holmgren and Watson have combined for 51 points, 17 rebounds, six steals, five assists and four blocks.
7:36 - GU 96, PU 52: The Zags’ scoring has slowed over the last four minutes, but are still on pace to break their previous scoring high of the season of 107.
3:44 - GU 108 - PU 74: The Bulldogs set a new scoring high on the season at the final media timeout as Arlauskas makes a layup to be the 10th Zag on the scoresheet.
Gonzaga is back in the Kennel tonight after a three-game pause due to COVID-19 concerns, starting West Coast Conference play against Pepperdine at 6 p.m. on KHQ/Root.
The No. 4 Zags (11-2) last beat North Alabama 93-63 on Dec. 28, before would-be league openers against San Diego, Loyola Marymount and San Francisco were all postponed to be played on a later date yet to be determined.
Meanwhile, the Waves (6-9) will also play its conference opener after games against San Diego and Pacific were postponed. PU last played on Dec. 23, beating Westmont 96-69.
The Waves also picked up nonconference wins over Idaho State, UC Davis, San Jose State, Alabama State and Southeast Missouri this year, while losing to Rice, Utah Valley, UC Irvine, Fresno State, TCU, Grand Canyon, Nevada, UC Santa Barbara and Oregon.
Gonzaga has won the last 41 meetings with Pepperdine, dating back to a 88-79 road loss on Jan. 18, 2002.
PU hasn’t won in Spokane since Jan. 16, 1992.
The Bulldogs hold a 61-31 series lead that dates back to the first meeting on Dec. 11, 1964, which GU won 93-70.
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