In a very lackluster performance, the Gonzaga Bulldogs outlasted the Golden Eagles of Oral Roberts tonight. It was one of those games where the entire time you are thinking "We've got this" and then with about three minutes later it turns into..."Oh, damn, we could actually lose this thing". In the end, the Bulldogs got some big shots down the stretch to overcome the Eagles but overall, this wasn't a confidence building effort.
The Zags had a number of times to blow this game wide open but once again struggled with consistency and it let Oral Roberts hang around and eventually get this game to a point where they really could have escaped with a win. Individually, there was also not a ton to write home about. Elias Harris was solid early on and finished with a double double but down the stretch, he was pretty non-existent. Kevin Pangos in my opinion had one of his better games. His success shooting the ball has really come to a screeching halt but hes doing a lot of things right: mainly creating plays and not turning the ball over.
The guy that stood out the most was Sam Dower. In 20 minutes of play, Sam was 6-7 from the floor with 12 points and four boards. While this isn't a 'breakout' game for Sam, it can hopefully be a jumping off point. When they are all effective, the combination of Sam, Elias, and Rob are one of the more dangerous frontcourts in the country. The inconsistency in the backcourt has made it so apparent that these veteran bigs have got to be better if this team wants to have a serious run come March.
Sugarcoating tonight's game is something I can't really do. It was very much in the 'blah' category and following two losses, it is pretty clear that this team is still trying to figure everything out. With a lot of young guys in their nucleus, I guess this should have been expected but I'm struggling to get over just how inconsistent the veterans have been, particularly Sam and Marquise. Hopefully tonight served as a booster to Sam but Marquise is in dire need of a game where he can hit some shots early on and settle into his game. We saw down the stretch just how good he can be.
The silver lining of tonight's game being over: It is time for Guy Landry Edi. The junior college transfer was suspended by the NCAA for the first eight games due to his participation on a French professional team when he was, get this, 15 years old. Regardless, the NCAA deemed this was an offense deserving of such a harsh penalty. Landry's arrival is greeted with tons of excitement as a huge hole for this Bulldogs' team is at the wing. Mike Hart has been solid on defense but other than that, Gonzaga has not gotten much out of the small forward spot. The hope is that Guy can provide some spark to a club that desperately needs it.
Guy's first contest: the Battle in Seattle against Arizona.