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Gonzaga Basketball

Difference makers: Braden Huff, Ryan Nembhard lead high-powered Gonzaga offense in 86-71 win over Yale

Braden Huff

It’s hard to imagine too many fans would’ve had the redshirt freshman being the first player in Friday’s game to reach double figures. But Huff got there before any of his teammates – and anyone in a Yale uniform – when he reached the 10-point marker with a 3-pointer late in the first half. Making his college debut, Huff, the first big man off Gonzaga’s bench, replaced Graham Ike during the initial media timeout and went on to lead the Bulldogs in scoring with 19 points on 7-of-10 shooting from the field, 2 of 3 from the 3-point line and 3 of 3 from the free-throw line. The 6-foot-10 forward also had nine rebounds in 20 minutes on the floor.

Ryan Nembhard

Both of Gonzaga’s backcourt starters made a strong case for our second difference maker, but we went with Nembhard on a night the Creighton transfer scored 16 points and dished out seven assists while making his debut in a Bulldogs uniform. The junior point guard struggled to find his shot early in the first half, opening just 2 of 8 from the field, but Nembhard shrugged off a slow start and became the second Gonzaga player to hit double digits, scoring 10 points in the first half and tacking on six in the second to finish with 16 points on 7-of-16 shooting from the field. Nembhard led all players with seven assists and added four rebounds.

Turning point

It was a tale of two Gonzaga teams: the one before the opening media timeout and the one after. The Bulldogs trailed 16-6 at the 16-minute mark in the first half before going on a 10-0 run, mostly fueled by better effort on the defensive end, to even the game at 16. Gonzaga allowed just 26 points the final 16 minutes of the first half and scored 41 to take a 47-42 lead into halftime. The Bulldogs dominated the second half, leading by as many as 21 points to secure their first win of the season.