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10 Observations from the Gonzaga-Florida Game

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NCAA Basketball: AdvoCare Invitational-Gonzaga vs Quinnipiac Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

That was a rollercoaster of a game but somehow the Zags found a way to get it done despite playing in a semi-away game environment. That was a game that will benefit them down the road. Without further ado, here are some additional observations from last night:

  1. Pairing Josh Perkins and Nigel Williams-Goss together helps Gonzaga counter the presses they’ve seen, and will see moving forward. Through 5 games, the Zags really haven’t had trouble breaking down any of the presses they’ve seen. They were especially good at breaking the press in the second half when the ball was moving quickly.
  2. While the Zags haven’t had trouble navigating opposing presses, they have struggled taking care of the ball. Florida’s pressure got into Gonzaga’s head in the first half as most of the the turnovers were unforced. Zags were responding to perceived pressure and not taking an extra moment to read the court.
  3. Florida’s John Egbunu is an incredible rim protector. He’s the rare player who has been able to guard Przemek Karnowski one-on-one, not because he can hold his spot, but because his shot blocking ability allowed him to let Przemek take his baby hook and simply swat it. He got tagged with a couple of goaltends, but he’s a nice luxury to have for Michael White.
  4. The Zags probably would have been in a 20-point hole if not for the defense through the first 15 minutes, and Josh Perkins carrying the offensive load. They badly needed someone to step up on offense, and Perkins delivered.
  5. Gonzaga’s defensive rotations still aren’t crisp. There are a lot of new faces to integrate, sure, but this is a problem that could be solved by better communication amongst the players on the floor.
  6. Johnathan Williams shrugged off a horrid start on the game’s first three possessions and had his best game in a Gonzaga uniform. He had an up-and-under where he finished a post move with his right hand. Would like to see him go to the right hand more often to keep defenders honest.
  7. Zach Collins and Killian Tillie (fouled out) found themselves in foul trouble throughout the game. Some of it is being freshmen and not knowing what they can get away with yet; that will get better as the season moves along. But a lot of the fouls were the refs calling some truly ticky-tacky staff.
  8. Sticking with the refs, that was one of the worst officiated games I’ve ever seen. I typically don’t complain about officiating because it usually evens itself out over the course of the season, but I can’t get over how bad it was against Florida. Lots of phantom fouls, an awful out-of-bounds call on Perkins, a moving screen call against Tillie, and an offensive foul against NWG immediately come to mind.
  9. Awful turnover by Nigel Williams-Goss with about 35 seconds left while trying to ice out the game. Getting the ball poked out from behind just can’t happen. Fortunately it didn’t come back to haunt him.
  10. Gonzaga shot 51.7% from the field (and over 60% in the second half) against the 8th ranked defense in the country (according to KenPom’s rankings). For as sloppy as the ball security was at times, the Zags did a nice job of finding good shots against a pressure defense, and then making their shots.