Arrow-right Camera

Color Scheme

Subscribe now
Gonzaga Basketball

Key matchup: Round 3 for USF’s Jonathan Mogbo, Gonzaga’s Graham Ike

LAS VEGAS – The first few seconds of Saturday’s San Francisco-Portland game in the West Coast Conference Tournament couldn’t have been more unsettling for the Dons.

The next 39 minutes , 58 seconds? Not so much.

Star forward Jonathan Mogbo rolled his left ankle upon landing after the opening tip. After hobbling up and down the court for a minute or two, the talented, 6-foot-8 Mogbo appeared to be just fine while logging his customary 28 minutes.

Mogbo didn’t reach his season averages (14.5 points and WCC-leading 10.2 rebounds), but he contributed nine points, eight boards and four assists (slightly above his 3.5 average) in the Dons’ easy 72-51 victory.

Mogbo has been one of the most productive players in the conference in his first season at San Francisco following his transfer from Missouri State. He was named first-team All-WCC and the conference’s top newcomer.

Mogbo hasn’t been at his best against the top WCC teams, averaging 10.8 points and 9.1 rebounds against Saint Mary’s, Gonzaga and Santa Clara. He’s been better in two games against the Zags, averaging 11 points and 11 boards, but didn’t register a steal – he leads the WCC with 52 – or a block – he has 26 on the season. Mogbo has averaged 10.5 points in San Francisco’s last six contests.

Gonzaga and USF meet for the third time this season in Monday’s semifinal with a lot on the line. The Dons need to win the WCC tournament to reach March Madness. The Zags are trying to improve their seeding in the NCAA Tournament.

“It’s going to be a fight, it’s going to be a battle,” Mogbo said after Saturday’s victory. “We’re going to need all our guys 1 through 15. We’re going to draw up a great game plan for them and we’re going to go out there and win.”

Gonzaga, which has won 29 straight in the series, probably won’t adjust its strategy on Mogbo unless it becomes necessary. Junior forward Graham Ike, who has scored 48 points in two wins over the Dons, has been the primary defender on Mogbo. GU has also used Ben Gregg and Anton Watson on Mogbo.

Mogbo isn’t a threat behind the 3-point line (0 of 2), but he ranks seventh nationally at 64.3% from the field. Ike, at 62%, ranks No. 17, and Watson, at 59%, No. 22.

Mogbo rarely forces shots, makes frequent trips to the free-throw line (team-leading 103 attempts) and he’s a quality passer. He’s 24th nationally in offensive rebounds (3.4 per game).