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Sports >  Gonzaga basketball

Gonzaga’s Drew Timme overcomes shooting slump to score 20 points in 81-76 win over Santa Clara

Jan. 7, 2023 Updated Sat., Jan. 7, 2023 at 10:21 p.m.

SANTA CLARA, Calif. – Drew Timme may not have expected his streak of 20- and 30-point games to end in such an abrupt manner, but the Gonzaga forward has been through the peaks and valleys of the college basketball calendar enough times to know it’s hard to keep the faucet on forever.

Fortunately for the Bulldogs, Timme turned it back on Saturday night at the Leavey Center.

The senior forward scored 20 points to help Gonzaga overcome an early double-digit deficit and hold off Santa Clara 81-76 for its third West Coast Conference win.

Before Timme got a layup to roll in with 4 minutes, 34 seconds remaining in the first half, the All-American had gone 36 minutes, 16 seconds without a field goal dating back to the first half of Thursday’s game against San Francisco.

Timme missed all seven shot attempts in the second half against USF and had four more fall out in the first half against Santa Clara, chalking up his rough offensive stretch to the “law of averages.”

“Against San Fran, yeah, they played good defense, but I make most of those shots,” Timme said. “I’ve been on a tear, so I knew it was bound to happen eventually.”

“A tear” may be putting it lightly.

Prior to the WCC road opener at USF, Timme had averaged 27 points in Gonzaga’s previous seven games and entered Thursday’s game as the fourth-leading scorer in the country.

He had the second-highest scoring game of his career against Pepperdine, scoring 35 points to go with 10 rebounds, and scored 26-plus points against four consecutive Division I games.

Just five days later, Timme posted his worst shooting percentage in three years as a Gonzaga starter, making 3 of 16 (18%) shots against the Dons, and things were trending in that direction again after 15 minutes of Saturday’s game.

“I saw people saying, ‘How do you keep shooting when you’re 3 for 16?’ ” Timme said. “Even today. I put so much … work in and I have so much confidence in myself and coach and my teammates just kept saying, ‘Just do you.’ They’re good shots.

“Hey, you shoot them. They didn’t go early, and then they started falling and that’s all it takes. It was nice to get them to fall, but I wasn’t worried. Everyone has a game like that. What was I doing, like 23 (points) and nine (rebounds)? It was bound to happen.”

Timme made a few key plays on defense, blocking two Santa Clara shots over a 30-second span, before settling into a familiar rhythm on the offensive end. The Texas native made his last three field-goal attempts in the first half and tacked on 12 points in the second, finishing 7 of 15 from the field and making seven of his final 11 shots. He also went 6 of 10 from the free-throw line.

“It’s always good when Drew gets back, because you can see it all through his body,” Gonzaga point guard Nolan Hickman said.

“As soon as he makes one it’s like, ‘I’m back.’ He even let us know that he’s back. It’s always good when Drew gets going, definitely.”

Timme pitched in elsewhere, totaling six rebounds,four assists and two blocks.

Speaking of the defensive plays, Timme said, “it’s obviously great to impact the game, especially when your shot’s not falling. I think that was just an easy way to get me more engaged in the game … so that definitely helped.”

Gonzaga coach Mark Few said Timme was looking to draw contact much of the first half, but changed his mindset late in the first half.

“I think initially he was taking the ball in looking to draw some fouls,” Few said. “… They weren’t going to call it and we’ll be in games like that. He’s been in many of them and you just have to adjust. He did a good job adjusting.”

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