Recap and highlights: 12th-ranked Gonzaga builds early lead, coasts past Santa Clara 88-70
Feb. 2, 2023 Updated Thu., Feb. 2, 2023 at 11:26 p.m.
Gonzaga felt right on its home court.
Anton Watson punctuated a blowout first half with a breakaway dunk, restoring confidence in the Kennel stands as the Bulldogs beat Santa Clara 88-70 on Thursday night at the McCarthey Athletic Center.
The win was the Zags’ first game in Spokane since a loss to Loyola Marymount on Jan. 19 that snapped the nation’s longest home win streak.
The 12th-ranked Bulldogs (19-4, 8-1 West Coast) built a 19-point lead at halftime, outscoring the Broncos (16-8, 4-5) 28-4 inside the paint. Santa Clara’s 24 points at half are the fewest allowed by Gonzaga since the season opener against North Florida.
The lead was enough to sustain them the rest of the way.
Watson scored a team-high 18 points, shooting 8 of 8 from the field. He led four Gonzaga players in double figures. Rasir Bolton added 16 points, Drew Timme had 15 and Julian Strawther had 12.
Timme, who had a double-double with 11 rebounds, became the third Gonzaga player to eclipse 2,000 career points. He joins all-time leader Frank Burgess at 2,196 and Jim McPhee at 2,015. Timme (2,007 points) needs eight points to catch McPhee.
Gonzaga awaits its first Top 25 matchup since a Dec. 17 win over Alabama on Saturday.
The Bulldogs travel to Moraga, California, to face 18th-ranked Saint Mary’s.
The Gaels beat San Francisco 68-59 on Thursday to remain unbeaten in the WCC and on top of the conference standings.
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19:13 – SCU 3, GU 2: Both teams make their first shots from the field, with Stewart making a 3-pointer for the Broncos and Watson answering on the other end.
15:59 – GU 11, SCU 7: Strawther connects on a 3-pointer, as the Zags open 5-for-6 from the field. Hickman is called for a shooting foul at the U16 media timeout.
Justice leads the Broncos with four points. Watson has four for the Bulldogs.
11:50 – GU 23, SCU 13: Gregg checks in and makes a put-back layup to extend the Zags lead at the U12 media timeout.
Gonzaga 10 of 15 from the field and 2-for-4 on 3-pointers.
6:21 – GU 30, SCU 19: All Zags in the early going, as the Broncos are struggling from the field, making 7 of 20 attempts.
Bolton leads with eight points, while Watson has six.
3:53 – GU 34, SCU 22: Bulldogs just 1 of their last 8 from the field. Bolton leading the way with 10 points. Stewart leads SCU with 11.
Anton Watson’s breakaway dunk punctuated a comfortable first half, as Gonzaga leads Santa Clara 43-24.
Watson scored a team-high 11 points, ahead of Rasir Bolton’s 10. The Zags shot 56% from the field and made 3 of 9 3-point attempts.
The Bulldogs biggest lift came on the defensive end, with three steals, three blocks and holding the Broncos to 30% shooting.
15:49 – GU 54, SCU 36: Both teams trading baskets to start the second half. Zags holding onto an 18-point lead.
11:45 – GU 66, SCU 50: Timme becomes the third Gonzaga player to eclipse 2,000 career points. He has 10 in the game.
7:55 – GU 71, SCU 54: Zags keeping their distance, outscored this half 30-28.
3:53 – GU 80, SCU 63: Bulldogs are in control at the final media timeout. Should go on to win its third straight, after losing to Loyola Marymount on Jan. 19.
Gonzaga will want to make up for its last performance inside the McCarthey Athletic Center.
The Bulldogs host Santa Clara tonight at 8 p.m., in their first game at the Kennel since losing to Loyola Marymount on Jan. 19, which snapped the longest standing home win streak. The game will be broadcast on CBS Sport Network.
Gonzaga is a 13½-point favorite according to Vegas Insider. The 12th-ranked Bulldogs (18-4, 7-1 West Coast) escaped with a 81-76 win over the Broncos (16-7, 4-4) on Jan. 7 in Santa Clara.
The Broncos took a lead with under two minutes remaining, until Nolan Hickman made a go-ahead 3-pointer at the 1:16 mark.
The Zags will hope for a more comfortable result this time and are coming off a 82-67 win over Portland last Saturday. Julian Strawther scored 40 points in the win.
The Broncos fell to Pacific 95-89 in their lone game last week.
Gonzaga will need to avoid looking ahead to Saturday’s game at No. 18 Saint Mary’s, which will likely be for first place in the WCC.
Tonight’s game marks the 100th time Gonzaga and Santa Clara have faced off on the hardwood, with the Zags holding a 69-30 all-time series lead.
The Bulldogs have won 25 straight and haven’t lost at home to the Broncos since Feb. 12, 2007.
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