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10 Observations from the SMC bashing

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17-0!

NCAA Basketball: St. Mary's at Gonzaga James Snook-USA TODAY Sports

Man, that was really fun. I’m still in a good mood after Gonzaga’s demolition of the Gaels. Here are some things I saw from the game:

  1. I think it’s fair to say that Johnathan Williams played his best game in a Gonzaga jersey to date. He’s had higher scoring outputs in other games, but his energy and aggressiveness really set the tone for the night. He was extremely efficient on the offensive end, scoring 14 points on 7-9 shooting highlighted by a rim-rattling dunk that brought the entire Kennel to its feet. At the other end of the floor, he helped shut down the paint and swatted Saint Mary’s on 5 occasions.
  2. Jordan Mathews posted a career best 195 ORtg per KenPom’s ratings. He once again provided great spacing, hitting 4-6 from deep. It’s his 3-point shooting that gets him plaudits, but when he hit his first shot attempt of the game on a jumper inside the arc, I figured a good night was ahead of him.
  3. Silas Melson played over 30+ minutes for just the third time this season, stepping in for the injured Josh Perkins and contributing in a big way. He made all three shot attempts and chipped in with four assists, but it was his perimeter defense on Emmett Naar and Joe Rahon that really stood out.
  4. We already knew this going into the game, but it was still jarring to see the collective shooting forms that can be found on the SMC roster. I’m at a loss for how they can consistently make jump shots with those mechanics.
  5. When Jock Landale sat down with two fouls at the 14:24 mark in the first half, I wondered whether Randy Bennett would sit him for the rest of the half or put him back in with the trust that he would not pick up another foul before the break. Bennett opted for the former, and after seeing Landale committed to picking up the most stupid fouls he could in the second half, I understood why Bennett kept on him the bench.
  6. Saint Mary’s gets lauded for their passing and off-ball movement, and that’s all well and good, but Landale is the one that anchors that offense. Even though the Gaels made a push in the first half without him, they couldn’t handle the waves of Gonzaga bigs over the course of 40 minutes with him rooted to the bench.
  7. Gonzaga’s defensive performance was the story of this game. The Zags simply played with greater energy and urgency than their counterparts, and in doing so played their best defensive game of the season. I doubt SMC has faced the type of ball pressure they saw from Gonzaga’s backcourt for a full game, and the Zags are the rare team that doesn’t need to double SMC on the interior. When you factor in Gonzaga’s edge in depth and athleticism, you start to see how a 23 point victory happened.
  8. Nigel Williams-Goss once again demonstrated that he knows when it’s time for him to put the team on his back. In the middle of the second half, with Saint Mary’s so far doing just enough to hang around, #5 started Gonzaga’s 21-2 run with a flurry of baskets that created separation from the two teams.
  9. Hopefully, Josh Perkins back injury (at first, it looked like a leg injury when he landed on a jumper), doesn’t linger for too long. After landing awkwardly in the first half, he ran straight to the locker room at the first dead ball. Though he eventually emerged, he didn’t start the second half as he worked to loosen up his back. After the game, Mark Few mentioned this was something that Perkins had been dealing with for a little while. Hopefully it goes away soon.
  10. I can’t even with this tweet from the official Saint Mary’s account. Using a Kanye gif? No wonder you lost.