Brandon Clarke is a monster and Josh Perkins kept feeding the monster with a career night in assists as Gonzaga beat a much better than the score indicates Texas Southern team 104-67. The win was Gonzaga’s second consecutive game scoring more than 100 points.
If you, like me worried Gonzaga would be soft in the paint with the Tillie injury and Larsen not playing, tonight’s game should have eased a lot of those fears. Brandon Clarke, sorry Rui he may be the best athlete on the team, had 19 points, 13 rebounds, 6 blocks and 2 steals. He accomplished these superior stats while battling Texas Southern’s 7’2” Trayvon Reed. Reed, who previously played for Maryland and Auburn did have an impressive stat line with 14 points, 16 rebounds and 3 blocks, but never seemed to be as strong a factor as his 6’8” Gonzaga counterpart.
Josh Perkins had a career night with 11 assists and only 2 turnovers while matching Clarke with a team leading 19 points. Perkins had some incredible passes tonight leading to spectacular dunks by Clarke. He led the team with 33 minutes played and showed the kind of quiet, steady leadership that bodes well for the team in the upcoming games against tougher opponents.
Rui, who was hampered by fouls in the first half, was almost a non-factor for the first two-thirds of the game. At about the 13:00 mark in the second half he started to exert his will to finish with 17 points and 6 rebounds. Filip Petrusev got a education in the rigors of D-1 play and did himself proud with 14 points including 2 for 3 from deep. Jeremy Jones closed the first half scoring 5 of his 7 points off a three-pointer and two free throws after being fouled on a strong drive to the hoop. Corey Kispert had a rough shooting night, 1 for 5, but his 8 rebounds helped Gonzaga win tonight’s battle of the boards 52-31.
The Zags looked good on the defensive end tonight holding the Tigers to 34% from the field and 27% from behind the arc. Don’t chalk those numbers up to Texas Southern not being a good team. The Tigers already beat Baylor on the road and appear to have a better team than last season’s conference winning squad that won their NCAA Tournament play-in game.
While Perkins and Clarke dominated the box score, tonight’s win demonstrated a deep and talented team. Jeremy Jones played quality minutes, Petrusev will get better with every game as will Geno Crandall and even with a scorer like Zach Norvell handcuffed with fouls, they are not short of offensive firepower.
For the next game, Texas A&M, #62 on KenPom, come to the Kennel for an 8:30 p.m. game on ESPN 2.