After a sluggish opening half, Gonzaga pulled away almost immediately in the second half of the game for a cursory win over a very bad San Diego team.
The Toreros came into this game on the back of a 0-20 "performance" from the 3-point line against BYU, which according to tonight's broadcasters was the worst 3pt "performance" by any D1 team with at least 20 attempts in history. Things could really only get better for the Toreros. Naturally, USD hit nine 3s tonight, but it took them 29 attempts to get there.
San Diego did a decent job of harrying Sabonis and Wiltjer inside for the first 20 minutes, and dared Gonzaga's guards to shoot from the perimeter. Fortunately, our backcourt brought their shooting shoes tonight as Perkins, Melson, and Dranginis combined for 40 points on 13-22 shooting. Sabonis had a first half to forget despite posting a decent stat line of 7 points and 8 rebounds as he went 3-11 from the field to go along with 1-4 from the free throw line. Wiltj had a very quiet 4 points in the first half as he dealt with rare foul trouble, perhaps in an effort to respond to Mark Few's admonishment of him to play more aggressive defense.
After going into the locker room with just an 8-point lead, the Zags finally got going early in the second half and reeled off a 12-0 run which effectively ended the game. Domas and Wiltj led the way during the run, as they broke out of their mini-slumps on the way to 17 and 16 point nights, respectively. Domas also collected his 18th double-double of the season as he had 17 rebounds to match his scoring output. The rest of the second half was the Silas Melson show, as the sophomore achieved a new career high with 18 points.
Although this ended up being an easy win as expected, it felt like a very low energy affair. The Zags could have used some of Domas' trademark energy. Even though he ended up having a nice game, the big man seemed pretty subdued compared to his normal fiery self. Let's hope they're all just saving it for Saturday night's big tilt in Provo.
- The words "Wiltjer's going to burn him" were said tonight by the broadcast team in reference to Kyle's foot speed. Incredible stuff.
- Nice work by the Zags to hold USD's leading scorer, Duda Sanadze, to a scoreless first half.
- I still have a hard time wrapping my head around the fact that USD's gym is called the Jenny Craig Pavilion. What a treat for us all.
- Walk on Jack Beach got to play in front of his hometown crowd as he got thrown on with 1:45 left in the game. The Torrey Pines high alum would probably like to have that airball back, but I'm sure it was a fun moment for him and his family .
- Melson's game has been much improved over the last two weeks, contributing four double-digit scoring games in the last five contests to go along with solid defense.