Portland’s balance – four players averaging in double figures – offers multiple key-matchup candidates, but sophomore wing Tyler Robertson gets the nod.
Why? The 6-foot-6, 225-pound Australian native has a diverse skill set and can fill several columns on the stat sheet. He can operate on the block or the perimeter and create space for himself or teammates.
Robertson, named the Big Sky Conference’s Top Reserve last season at Eastern Washington, followed Shantay Legans when the former Eagles head coach took the job at Portland last March.
Robertson hasn’t matched his EWU shooting percentages, but he still ranks as the Pilots’ third-leading scorer (13.9), top rebounder (6.4) and assist leader (4.0). He’s second in minutes (36.2) and made 3-pointers (34).
He posted one of his three double-doubles against VMI with 22 points, five 3-pointers, 10 rebounds, six assists and two steals. He had season bests with 22 points and eight assists against Morgan State and grabbed a season-high 13 boards vs. Southeast Missouri State.
Robertson had a rough start to the West Coast Conference season with a combined 20 points on 5-of-25 shooting against San Diego, Pepperdine and Loyola Marymount. He responded with 15 points and four assists in a road loss to BYU and 13 points, 10 rebounds and five assists in a home win over Pacific on Thursday.
Robertson is the second tallest in Portland’s small-ball starting lineup so he could see a variety of defenders. Zags sophomore wing Julian Strawther will likely be the first to match up on Robertson, but senior Andrew Nembhard (6-5, 193) has the size to deal with bigger opponents.
Forward Anton Watson and wing Hunter Sallis are options off Gonzaga’s bench.
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