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Gonzaga Basketball

Difference makers: Gonzaga forwards Anton Watson, Graham Ike key win over Kentucky

Anton Watson

The senior forward was big in the second half and down the stretch, helping the Zags close out a tight game – something they’ve struggled with several times this season. Watson’s 3-pointer gave Gonzaga the lead for good at 67-66 with 8:19 left. He had a three-point play to break a 75-all tie. He added two more baskets inside as GU held on. Watson finished with 17 points – 13 in the final half – seven rebounds and five assists. He made 6 of 13 shots from the field, 1 of 1 from the 3-point line and 4 of 5 at the foul line. He committed just one turnover in nearly 38 minutes.

Graham Ike

The junior post was Gonzaga’s main scoring option during a few stretches in each half. He had a few of his shots swatted by Kentucky’s athletic bigs, but he delivered a game-high 23 points on 10-of-17 shooting from the field and 3 of 3 at the foul line. He also grabbed five rebounds and didn’t turn the ball over in 24 minutes before fouling out with 43 seconds remaining.

Turning point

There were tons of them for both teams, but Gonzaga, after falling behind by six in the second half, quickly responded with a 9-3 surge and never trailed again. Ben Gregg started it with a pair of free throws, Ryan Nembhard fed Ike for a dunk, Watson nailed a 3-pointer and Braden Huff scored to give GU a 69-66 advantage with 7:43 left. GU never trailed the rest of the way and continued to make clutch plays to earn a hard-fought road win.