clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

10 Observations from the Pacific game


NCAA Basketball: West Coast Conference Tournament-Gonzaga vs Pacific Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

Gonzaga was back in action last night, although they waited until the second half to actually start playing.

  1. The Zags made their first three field goals of the game, then followed that up by missing 10 of their next 11 attempts. After last week’s loss, I expected this team to come out firing. Instead, it felt like they had lost some of their confidence and edge and it took until the second half to find it.
  2. The 10-minute period between the 17:00-7:00 mark in the first half was probably the worst stretch of basketball I’ve seen from Gonzaga’s offense this season. The guards settled for jump shots rather than get penetration or work the ball around to improve entry pass angles. When the ball did get inside the paint they missed bunnies, passes were late, everyone was mishandling the ball, etc. It was grisly, to say the least.
  3. Credit is due to Pacific’s defense which packed the lane in an effort to make Gonzaga’s offense perimeter-oriented. However, I still expect the Zags to be able to dictate terms on both sides of the ball against a team like the Tigers.
  4. Gonzaga had more offensive success once it started to manufacture tempo and increase the pace of play. Nigel Williams-Goss in particular seemed to take it upon himself to force the issue and get into the paint, and his penetration seemed to get the Zags back on track.
  5. Przemek Karnowski was a force on the boards, but he didn’t seem like himself as he made several uncharacteristic turnovers (4 total) and finished the game with an 82 O-rating. He was spotted blowing his nose on the bench so I’m guessing/hoping he was sick and won’t concern myself too much with this performance unless it starts to become a trend.
  6. Gonzaga entered halftime with 9 turnovers to just 4 assists. They improved slightly on that ratio by the end of the game, 13 TO’s to 11 assists, but that’s not a winning formula moving forward.
  7. Jordan Mathews came up with the two biggest plays of the game for the Zags. After a turnover, he made an acrobatic interception of a Pacific outlet pass and took it back to the rim and finished an and-1 to get the scoring started for Gonzaga in the second half, and more importantly inject some life into the arena. A few plays later he sunk a transition three to push Gonzaga’s lead to 14. Mathews played his best ball in the second half, and totally changes the complexion of Gonzaga’s offense when he’s hitting from outside. Hopefully, he can produce this display consistently over the next few weeks.
  8. I loved seeing Zach Collins hustle down the court on a Pacific fast break to contest a layup and force TJ Wallace to earn points from the free throw line rather than give up an easy bucket. That’s the type of effort play that endears you to a coaching staff and fan base.
  9. Good to have Killian Tillie and Bryan Alberts back from their injuries. Tillie’s energy brings a lot to Gonzaga’s second unit, and his absence was missed over the last few games. He mentioned after the game that he still felt some pain in his hand, but it will be good for him to get his rhythm and wind back during the conference tournament before the Madness starts.
  10. Josh Perkins missed much of the second half after rolling his ankle. Before he left the game, he was struggling to make much of a positive impact. Perkins was excellent in Gonzaga’s win in San Diego a little over a week ago, but has otherwise struggled over the last month. If he’s healthy, I don’t expect Few to change the starting lineup at this point in the season, but it might be time to scale Perkins’ minutes back if his struggles continue.