Not too long ago, the Bill Grier led San Diego Toreros could always be counted on to give GU one of their toughest conference games of the season. After soundly beating BYU 88-75, this year’s Toreros squad looked primed to give Gonzaga a tough game. Looks can be deceiving. Living on 5 three-pointer in the first half, San Diego cut the lead to 32-23 at one point in the first half, but it was downhill for them from there.
Gonzaga rode their inside dominance and Nigel Williams-Goss to pull off the 36 point win. NWG had another phenomenal stat-line with 25 points on 11-15 from the field, 5 rebounds, 5 assists and 2 steals. Johnathan Williams III dominated the paint with 12 rebounds, 5 offensive, to go with his 13 points. Once again, point-center Przemek Karnowski put on a passing clinic with 5 assists and Zach Collins chipped in 10 shooting 5 for 5 from the field.
One of the questions marks in tonight’s game was how would Mark Few compensate for the loss of Killian Tillie. More minutes for Rui or Jones, let Ryan Edwards out of the doghouse, play small ball with four guards? The answer was none of the above as Few stuck to a 7 man rotation until garbage time. Karno, JWIII and Collins all played over 20 minutes and two of the three were always in the game until the waning minutes.
Gonzaga travels to Malibu Saturday to face the WCC cellar-dwelling Pepperdine Waves. Assuming another easy win, the biggest suspense for GU fans is will Gonzaga be awarded the #1 spot in next weeks polls. Whether they begin the week at #1 or #2, next Thursday’s nationally televised game at Provo will be one of two major tests in the upcoming two weeks to determine if the Zags can enter the post-season undefeated.
Some east-coast talking heads are predicting at least one if not two losses in the coming weeks. I don’t think they realize just how good is this team.