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Gonzaga Basketball

Difference makers: Ben Gregg’s 3-point flurry helps Gonzaga cruise in second half of WCC semifinal

Ryan Nembhard

Coming off a 20-point, 10-assist game against Saint Mary’s, the junior point guard was selective on Monday, hunting his own shots at times and creating for teammates to record his second double-double in as many games. Nembhard was Gonzaga’s leading scorer at halftime with 11 points and settled for being more of a distributor after the break, dishing out six more assists. Nembhard finished 5 of 10 from the field, 2 of 3 from the 3-point line and 4 of 4 from the free throw line to score 16 points, giving the transfer point guard double figures for the fourth time in as many games. Nembhard matched his season-high with 12 assists and didn’t commit a turnover in 40 minutes.

Ben Gregg

The first half probably didn’t inspire a lot of confidence for the junior forward, but Gregg still found a way to contribute to GU’s effort by pulling down eight rebounds in the opening 20 minutes. The offense came next for Gregg, who missed his first four shots from the field but made each of his next five – including four 3-pointers – to help the Zags extend a one-point halftime lead to 19 with 11 minutes, 44 seconds remaining. Gregg, who entered Gonzaga’s starting lineup midway through WCC play, finished with a career-high four 3-pointers and scored 17 points while grabbing 11 rebounds for his second career double-double. The Clackamas, Oregon, native also had one block and one steal.

Turning point

Gregg’s 3-point flurry helped the Zags pull away in the second half, but Gonzaga may not have entered halftime with the lead if Nolan Hickman and Dusty Stromer didn’t each knock down shots from behind the arc to fuel a 9-0 run. Prior to those shots, the Zags had gone just 2 of 8 from the 3-point line while simultaneously watching the Dons make 7 of their 16 attempts in the first half. Gonzaga was trailing by eight points before Anton Watson’s layup with 2 minutes, 57 seconds remaining, but the scoring spurt allowed the Bulldogs to enter the locker room with a 38-37 lead. The 3-point shooting success continued in the second half for GU, which finished 11 of 20.