Generally speaking, anytime a Division II school is facing off against a top 25 team, it is a bit unfair. With the way the Gonzaga Bulldogs have been playing as of late, the fact that the St. Thomas Aquinas Spartans had to play in Spokane was just an exercise in cruelty, as the Bulldogs won, 109-55, on Saturday evening.
The 54 point margin of victory is now the largest in the McCarthy Athletic Center history, although as with everything about this game, it is important to note it came against a D-II opponent.
Angel Nunez was the big breadwinner for the Bulldogs. He had career highs with 24 points and 11 rebounds off of 9-of-12 shooting. Nunez showcased a fantastic enthusiasm and energy level during the game. He was aggressive towards the hoop, draining open threes from the top of the key and constantly on the receiving end of the offensive rebounds. His final two shots included a beauty of a step back on the baseline and a behind the back lay-up move. Again, this all came against a D-II opponent.
Byron Wesley scored 22 and Domantas Sabonis added 19 as a majority of the starters got the night off. Kevin Pangos logged 19 minutes, scoring two points and dishing out seven assists in the process. Przemek Karnowski only saw the floor for 15 minutes. If anything, the game was a good rest up after a busy week for the Bulldogs, who finally leave the friendly confines of Spokane for the holiday weekend.
In the interest of everyone getting on with their Saturday night, a few more observations.
- Until the turnover actually happens, let's keep bringing up the fact that Pangos once again had a ton of assists and no turnovers. In fact, for a short time during the game, the scorers attributed Pangos with a turnover, and then thanks to some home cooking changed the ruling. Pangos now has 23 assists and zero turnovers.
- Speaking of turnovers, Josh Perkins had way too many. He finished the game with five. Although we've been lessening the meaning of everyone else's statistics because of the D-II opponent thing, Perkins should be magnified in this. His turnovers were often unforced, coming at the hands of no-look passes heading to recipients who also weren't looking. Perkins is a freshman -- a good one at that -- and it'll take some time to get these shenanigans out of his head. Hopefully, he'll realize that you don't always have to be so flashy.
- This was a game against a team that clearly was beyond overmatched, both in talent and in skill. If Gonzaga plays Saint Joseph's again, I doubt they would win by 50 points. If Gonzaga plays St. Thomas Aquinas again, I bet they win by 50 points -- each time. It was nice to see the offense rolling and it wasn't so good to see the defense a bit lackadaisical. But this was a meaningless game at the core of it. With that in mind, we can talk about what we liked and what we saw, but placing much stock in it is a pretty worthless endeavor.