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Sports >  Gonzaga basketball

Gonzaga sophomore Ben Gregg scores career-high 9 points, provides second-half spark

Nov. 25, 2022 Updated Sat., Nov. 26, 2022 at 5:11 p.m.

Gonzaga's Ben Gregg, right, leans into Purdue's 7-foot-four-inch Zach Edey to try and deny him freedom of movement but Edey continued to score at will through the second round game between Gonzaga and Purdue Friday, Nov. 25, 2022 at the Moda Center in Portland Oregon to earn a spot in Sunday's championship in the Phil Knight Legacy tournament Sunday.  (Jesse Tinsley/The Spokesman-Review)
Gonzaga's Ben Gregg, right, leans into Purdue's 7-foot-four-inch Zach Edey to try and deny him freedom of movement but Edey continued to score at will through the second round game between Gonzaga and Purdue Friday, Nov. 25, 2022 at the Moda Center in Portland Oregon to earn a spot in Sunday's championship in the Phil Knight Legacy tournament Sunday. (Jesse Tinsley/The Spokesman-Review)

PORTLAND – For most of the night, Gonzaga leaned heavily on Drew Timme and Nolan Hickman at the offensive end.

The pair finally got some help from an unexpected source when Ben Gregg, who played at nearby Clackamas High School, provided a second-half spark in the Zags’ 84-66 loss to Purdue in the semifinals of the Phil Knight Legacy tournament.

Gregg delivered one of the best games of his young career in front of numerous friends and relatives in attendance at the Moda Center. The 6-foot-10 sophomore forward made two 3-pointers and finished with a career-high nine points in just under 9 minutes of playing time before fouling out.

Gregg misfired on all three of his 3-point attempts while going scoreless in 5 minutes of the first half. He turned it around in a 4-minute stretch in the second half, hitting all three field-goal attempts, including a pair of 3s, and a free throw to compete a three-point play.

“I was proud of him because his first run didn’t go as well, but his second run he came back,” Zags coach Mark Few said. “We kept telling him, ‘You’re a great shooter, just step up and let ’er rip.’ He got some confidence and then he got excited.”

That exuberance might have led to a few fouls, which was an issue for every Zags big that tried to defend Purdue 7-foot-4 center Zach Edey, who had 23 points and seven rebounds.

Gregg, who moved ahead of LSU transfer Efton Reid in the rotation in the past few games, finished with two rebounds, two blocks and forced a turnover on Eden shortly after checking into the game in the first half.

Gregg is listed as a sophomore, thanks to an additional COVID season of eligibility, even though he graduated early from high school and joined the Zags in December 2020. He’s played in 39 games over the last 2½ seasons. His previous career high was eight points against Alcorn State in November 2021.

“He’s a hell of player in practice,” said Timme, who scored a team-high 22 points. “That first 3, I’m like, ‘Shoot,’ even before they inbounded the ball. That’s what he does really well, and we need him to continue to do that because it opens up things for so many other people.”

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