Przemek Karnowski led the Zags with 19 points as Gonzaga easily downed Santa Clara 88-57 on Thursday night to improve to 18-0.
The Broncos got a big game out of Jared Brownridge, but unfortunately, the rest of the offense didn’t show up. The Zags held the Broncos to just 39.3% shooting on the day. KJ Feagin added 13 points, but after that it was rather slim pickings for the Broncos, with not another player on the team scoring in double figures.
The big difference for the Zags was the inside game. Santa Clara had no answer for the Gonzaga frontcourt, which was led by Przemek Karnowski’s 19 points. Zach Collins had another fantastic effort, finishing with 16 points. Johnathan Williams carried the squad for the first half, ending with 13 points.
All of this demonstrated the impossible task that is defending against Gonzaga. Josh Perkins was a quiet presence on the offensive end, finishing with four points and taking just three shots. Nigel Williams-Goss was somewhat quiet by his standards, finishing with 11 points and 10 rebounds. Overall, the outside game was a bit lacking—the Zags hit just 31.6 percent from long range.
None of that mattered, however. The defense was on, and the one time the Broncos tried to make a run, Gonzaga did what it has done so well this season—responded with a boot on the throat. Towards the middle of the second half, Brownridge had dragged the Broncos kicking and screaming to within fighting distance, and the Zags responded promptly with a 10-0 run. That killer instinct that always seemed to be lacking in previous Gonzaga squads has been on full display this season.
A few quick notes before we all hit the sack:
- This was one of those games where the guards didn’t need to shoulder any of the scoring load. Santa Clara had no obvious answer for Gonzaga down low, so the backcourt did what it needed to. They fed the ball constantly to the post (47-16 points in the paint advantage) and didn’t turn the ball over (only six turnovers).
- The play never ends with Zach Collins. He is absolutely fearless when driving to the rim, and very well could end his Gonzaga career as the player with the most and ones.
- The Zags had such an obvious advantage in the inside, it was nice to see them hold down the defensive glass. Santa Clara only had one offensive rebound.
- When Jared Brownridge is on, he is one of the more fun players in the WCC to watch. It will be a shame we will only most likely see him one more time.
- Silas Melson did a couple of Silas Melson things. He hit his first three (open in the corner), and followed that up by promptly taking a hurried deep attempt (clanked out). Overall though, his defense helped slow Brownridge down a bit.
- Karnowski only had one assist but it was an absolute beauty to Killian Tillie in the post. Karnowski could spend the entire game merely passing the ball and it would still be bliss to watch.
Up next, Portland. And then after that, Portland. 18-0 and life feels great.