USA TODAY Sports
It was ugly early and got much, much worse as Gonzaga dominated Santa Clara at the McCarthey Athletic Center...
Gonzaga has thrown together a number of impressive performances this season but tonight's first half against the Santa Clara Broncos may be the best yet. While Santa Clara was expected to come out and play desperate to pull off the upset, it was Gonzaga that dominated from the tip with their energy and really never backed down. After the first twenty minutes, GU led by a score of 44-15 and wound up taking the game 85-42. Kelly Olynyk and Elias Harris combined for 31 points as they continue to prove themselves to be one of, if not the best low post duo in college basketball.
As I said above, this game was over pretty darn quickly. After Santa Clara scored the first points of the game, the Zags jumped out on a 15-0 run and that just about crushed the spirits of the Broncos right then. While the Bulldogs were clicking offensively, it was their defense that really set them apart. Kevin Foster, Santa Clara's lead guard and one of the most prolific scorers in the conference, was frustrated all night and finished with just 4 points. As they did in the second half against Matthew Dellavedova, Gary Bell and Mike Hart combined to lock down Foster and render him virtually useless.
There were a number of fantastic individual performances for Gonzaga. Kelly Olynyk made some amazing plays in the post and finished 7-9 from the floor. Elias Harris was one rebound shy of a double-double and was a force all night. Mike Hart had six points, seven boards, and was ridiculously energetic all night. All in all, 11 Zags scored tonight with everyone, including the two walk-ons getting minutes.
There are a number of good takeaways from this one. While the competition certainly isn't as strong as what they'll see in March, it is good to see the Zags not playing down to their opponent. Not only are they not playing down, but you could argue that they are playing as good as we've seen all year long. Next up is a Saturday date with Bill Grier and San Diego.