Key matchup: Portland’s Moses Wood has taken over as leading scorer since last meeting with Gonzaga
Jan. 27, 2023 Updated Fri., Jan. 27, 2023 at 6:06 p.m.
We like to shake things up with the key matchup, particularly when Gonzaga is facing West Coast Conference foe for the second time.
Two weeks ago when GU hammered Portland 115-75 at the McCarthey Athletic Center, versatile guard/wing Tyler Robertson was our key matchup. We’re going bigger this time around with 6-foot-8, 210-pound junior forward Moses Wood.
Wood, who played at Tulane (2019) and UNLV (2021) before transferring to Portland, is a prototypical stretch ‘4.’ He’s been on a hot streak since missing the first three WCC games with a foot injury. He’s averaging 19.4 points, 55.6% from the field, 53.1% on 3-pointers and 90.9% at the free-throw line (20 of 22) in the past five games.
Wood, at 14.8 points per game, has surpassed Robertson (14.2) as the team’s leading scorer. Wood also paces the team in rebounds (6.1) and made 3-pointers (48) and ranks third in assists (1.8).
The Reno, Nevada, native is a barometer for Portland’s offense. The Pilots average nearly 77 points per game, but that dropped to 57.3 points in the three WCC games (all losses) with Wood on the sideline. Portland made just 4.3 3-pointers and shot 35.9% from the field in those three contests.
Wood led Portland in scoring with 19 points in the blowout loss to GU on Jan. 14. He had 15 points and eight rebounds in Thursday’s loss to Loyola Marymount. He connects on 40% of his 3-point attempts, even after missing all three shots from distance against the Lions.
Wood had 21 points against then-No. 1 North Carolina and 16 vs. Villanova at the Phil Knight Invitational. He scored a season-high 26 points on San Diego with a missed 3-pointers his only misfire from the field or line.
LMU ended Wood’s streak with at least four made 3s ended at four games.
The Zags will likely turn to senior forward Anton Watson to defend Wood.
Portland has one of the bigger starting units in the conference with Wood, Robertson (6-6, 225 pounds), Kristian Sjolund (6-8, 210) and Chika Nduka (6-5, 225), so the Zags could try a variety of defenders on Wood, including Drew Timme, Ben Gregg, Julian Strawther and possibly Hunter Sallis.
Wood has been in foul trouble at times, including four against LMU and fouling out of the previous game vs. Pepperdine. He’s fouled out twice and finished with four fouls three times while averaging 32.5 minutes per game.
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