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10 Observations from Gonzaga’s win over IUPUI


NCAA Basketball: Indiana - Purdue at Gonzaga James Snook-USA TODAY Sports

It was about as ho-hum of a game as you can get when your team scores 100+ points and wins by 30. Here’s what I took away:

  1. Mark Few opted to start Rui Hachimura and Jacob Larsen over Killian Tillie and Johnathan Williams. Based on the games Tillie and Williams had against North Dakota, it was pretty clear he was sending a message that he wasn’t happy with what they produced on Saturday. It was the first time in Williams’ collegiate career that he came off the bench, which is pretty remarkable considering he’s 11 games into his senior year. Few got the games he was looking for from both of them as Tillie hit a new career high and Williams had his 3rd double-double of the season.
  2. I really like Larsen operating in the high post against a zone defense. He’s a reliably good passer and doesn’t rush through his reads. Larsen also shuffles his feet surprisingly well on defense. Did a good job picking up a driver from the elbow and staying in front of him to contest and force a missed layup. He’ll continue to carve out a bigger role as the season rolls along.
  3. We saw some good hustle from Melson, Perkins, and Norvell early in the game. All three dove for loose balls on a single defensive possession. It was pretty obvious that the coaching staff was in their ears about defensive intensity after Saturday’s close call.
  4. Perkins hit a nice floater in the lane which is a skill he needs to develop into a more consistent tool. It’s a devastating weapon to have in your repertoire, and will help him out on his drives since he prefers to avoid contact.
  5. Tillie hasn’t really found his stroke from the three point line yet. On one hand, I like having him camped around the basket to crash the offensive glass and pick up some greasy buckets which he does so well. But I’d also like for the three-ball to be a more consistent threat for him so we can have one more player stretch the floor and create a little more room inside for Williams and give Norvell/Melson/Kispert more slashing lanes.
  6. Williams moved to the top of the key to trap the ballhandler on a pick-n-roll and no one helped him out by rotating over to take the roller. Perkins eventually got there and got robbed on his block attempt by a bad whistle, but it was a bad defensive sequence as no one recognized the need to slide over and help Williams.
  7. Larsen’s jump hook across the lane with his left hand is an advanced move for a freshman. He’s an underrated athlete who was great skill with both hands.
  8. Rui’s pass to Larsen in the high-low was probably the nicest pass I’ve seen him make in his brief career. Rui needs to build on that area of his game if he wants to maximize on his potential.
  9. Zach Norvell is really good at the self-tip rebound.
  10. Rui loves to drop his shoulder when driving in traffic, and college basketball refs love to call charges. When you combine the two, you get some pretty enthusiastic charging calls. I don’t think Rui was actually guilty of a charge, but for trigger happy college refs the lowered shoulder is going to result in a call every time.