It was not a banner night for the WCC as a power outage at Firestone Fieldhouse in the middle of the Pepperdine-Saint Mary’s game and broadcast issues throughout the Gonzaga-USD game marred the evening across Southern California. However, no such issues plagued the Zags as they rolled to a big win in the Jenny Craig Pavilion.
Gonzaga got off to a very sloppy start unbecoming of the #1 ranked team in the nation, but somehow found itself up 11-0 six minutes into the game thanks to the Toreros missing their first 10 shot attempts. To maintain a shutout for that long in a basketball game is pretty astounding, and it’s a small wonder that the Zags weren’t leading by a significantly larger margin.
San Diego couldn’t rely on the Zags not playing to their usual standards all night, however, as Josh Perkins served as the catalyst to create separation. Gonzaga’s lone returning starter from last season (not counting Karnowski) has struggled of late, but you wouldn’t know it from the way he burned the cords on USD’s nets amidst a barrage of 3s. Perkins score all 15 of his points from the arc, and if the game hadn’t been a laugher, he looked like he could have gone off for a big night.
Perkins wasn’t the only one feeling it, as Johnathan Williams was a monster on the glass on his way to collecting an easy double-double (14 points, 19 rebounds). In fact, Williams was outpacing the Toreros on the glass for most of the night. USD just barely edged Williams in the final rebounding tally 20-19, but may not have been able to do so if not for the Mizzou transfer hitting the bench early for a well-earned rest.
The Zags hit the Toreros with their usual balanced attack, as 5 players finished the evening in double figures along with Silas Melson and Rui Hachimura just missing out themselves with 8 points each. Most importantly, Perkins and Jordan Mathews seemed to have found their shooting rhythm—at least for tonight—which could be huge for the Zags with single-elimination basketball just around the corner.
Gonzaga heads back to the Ken—
See you all on Saturday for Senior Night.