Killian Tillie led all scorers with 22 points as the Gonzaga Bulldogs overcame a sluggish five minutes of basketball in an easy 89-59 win over the Pepperdine Waves.
For five minutes, things looked a bit disjointed. The Zags opened the game one of six from the floor, and about six different players spent time laying on the floor. Multiple slips on the floor at the Gonzaga end of the hoop resulted in a few turnovers. Once the mops came out to clean up the floor, Gonzaga proceeded to clean up Pepperdine.
Helped spurred by nine of Rui Hachimura’s 12 points, the Zags went on a 12-0 run and never looked back. The Waves got some offense from Eric Cooper Jr. and Colbey Ross (the latter of whom looks like he will be a delight to watch in the WCC for the next four years), but that was it. Pepperdine as a team shot 44.8 percent from the floor.
Meanwhile, Tillie exploded on both ends of the floor, and not a moment too soon. Tillie finished the game with 22 points and eight rebounds, his first game with double-digit points since IUPUI, in which he scored 27. Johnathan Williams also added to the front court onslaught, scoring 13 points.
As much as we can say that Gonzaga passed the ball around (which they did—21 assists on 35 field goals), the front court did the heavy lifting in this game. The back court, well, it was, forgettable for the most part. Josh Perkins couldn’t find his stroke from long range, finishing with just eight points. Silas Melson missed all four of his field goal attempts, finishing with zero points for the first time since Iowa State last year. Norvell scored 10 points, but as usual he needed his momentum to get going.
But that is OK, because Gonzaga is a dangerous squad. The Zags forced 17 turnovers on Pepperdine, while still committing 12 of their own. That ends the two-game streak of single digit turnovers for Gonzaga, but at least they didn’t come around to bite them in the rear this time. Most importantly, Johnathan Williams and Killian Tillie, who have both had their fair share of turnover issues this year, had zero and two respectively.
Props are also in store for Jacob Larsen, who scored nine points on some very efficient 4-of-5 shooting. Larsen also forced consecutive offensive fouls on Pepperdine while jockeying for rebounding position, and combined with his five rebounds, he had himself a rather fine game.
In reality, this game could have been the sixth 100 point game for the Zags this season if the hit a few more of their long range shots. They rattled out, and we move on. Up next, LMU on Saturday.