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Johnathan Williams scores 30 points as Zags surge past LMU

It almost became a tight game until it didn’t.

NCAA Basketball: Pacific at Gonzaga James Snook-USA TODAY Sports

Johnathan Williams exploded for 30 points as the Gonzaga Bulldogs mounted a 17-0 run to open the second half, taking down the LMU Lions, 85-66.

It looked like the Zags were coasting to another 30-40 point victory, sitting with a comfortable double-digit lead for much of the first half. The Lions outscored the Zags 13-5 in the final three minutes of the first half to enter the break only trailing by five.

The message from the coaching staff got through at halftime. The Zags held LMU without a point for over five minutes to open the second half, stretching a potentially close game into a blowout in no time at all.

Williams was the force, attacking an undersized LMU frontcourt relentlessly. The Zags outscored LMU in the paint 48-26. Rui Hachimura helped that charge adding 11 points and five rebounds. Hachimura continued his evolution on the court, at one point snaring a rebound and going coast-to-coast for a finger roll lay up (and the foul on top).

Josh Perkins happily fed the ball to Williams all night, finishing with a career high 10 assists, and just one turnover. But the big story was Williams, whose 30 points is nearly as many points as he has scored in his previous four games (31).

Steven Haney led LMU with 22 points and James Batemon added 13. The Zags silenced LMU on the offensive glass to a certain degree, and LMU just had zero answer for any of the Gonzaga frontcourt.

The Zags still had a few issues. Silas Melson had his second-straight subpar game, but it was hard to nitpick too much after that. LMU came out of the gates as aggressive as possible, but is often the case in these WCC games, the Lions didn’t have the energy to last for a full 40 minutes.