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10 Observations from the Pacific game

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NCAA Basketball: Gonzaga at Pacific Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

The Bulldogs came up big when they needed to in the first true road game of the season, but hopefully they don’t play like that again for the rest of the season.

  1. Pacific wasn’t shy about doubling Przemek Karnowksi in the post, going to it right off the bat. They were pretty successful with it in the first half of the game, but started to have breakdowns on the backside help as the game wore on.
  2. Gonzaga had a lot of trouble when Pacific hedged hard on pick-n-roll defense. The ballhandler, usually Nigel Williams-Goss got extended too far out on the trap, and didn’t have a passing option on the strong side (ball side) or from the screener who was rolling to the basket. Zags eventually made a good adjustment by having Przemek flare out on the wing after the screen rather than roll. This gave the guard an easy passing option and put the ball in Przemek’s hand to execute the proper secondary pass.
  3. Gonzaga’s offensive spacing was really poor throughout much of the first 25 minutes. They did not do a great job of spreading the floor or reading the defense. Failed to get any penetration either through passing or a dribble-drive.
  4. Give Pacific a lot of credit for the effort and aggressiveness they brought in this game. If they had a more talented roster to match that effort, the Zags would have found themselves in a much bigger hole at halftime. Damon Stoudamire did a good job coaching them up.
  5. This was the first time we’ve seen Rui Hachimura on the floor in the first half and a non-garbage time situation. It was probably related to Killian Tillie hitting the floor hard and landing on his hip along with Johnathan Williams being in foul trouble.
  6. Zags were awful at setting up their defense, getting scrambled on matchups at the outset of a possession which should never happen.
  7. Really strong rebounding effort from Jordan Mathews. He brought a lot of energy to hitting the glass, particularly during the second half, and he grabbed some big rebounds as Gonzaga made its push. He was the unsung hero for me (if you can be that with 16 points and 5 boards).
  8. Where would the Zags be without Przemek Karnowski? He’s such a stabilizing force and really was the catalyst for the come back. He takes so much pressure off the guards by being such an accomplished passer and providing a great bailout scoring option inside. Gonzaga needed every single one of his 19 points (8-10), 7 assists, and 5 rebounds
  9. Johnathan Williams got upset with Pacific’s Jack Williams, and rightfully so, for raking him across the face on a putback attempt. I loved seeing him go off from that point on as he nailed a pair of 3s, got a big block, and snagged some loose balls to put Pacific away.
  10. This was a frustrating game to watch as the Zags really did not play well for most of the night. It’s extremely difficult to have your A+ stuff for 30+ games, and there will be games where the team just needs to find any way to get a victory. Thus, it was encouraging to see them show the character to pull out a 20-point win. But, the coaching staff needs to show the guys this game tape throughout the rest of the season when they need reminding that any team can beat them if they don’t bring the requisite energy and focus to each game.