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10 observations from that thing that happened against Pacific

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Gonzaga got one of their ugliest wins of the season.

NCAA Basketball: Gonzaga at Pacific Stan Szeto-USA TODAY Sports

The Gonzaga Bulldogs beat the Pacific Tigers in something halfway looking like a basketball game on Thursday. Here are a few more thoughts from the game:

  1. I was really worried that Lafayette Dorsey wasn’t going to put any pressure on his leg for the rest of the year. At the time of writing this, I have zero idea what happened, why he screamed so much, if it was even him screaming, and how he was able to come back into the game. But thank goodness he was back in the game, because that was a scary couple of minutes.
  2. In the beginning of the first half, it seemed like everything was going to be going OK. Josh Perkins made the extra pass to Killian Tillie on three separate occasions for even better looks. Jacob Larsen and Jeremy Jones saw some early minutes they don’t normally see. But then everything seemingly fell apart. It is hard to pinpoint what was going on, other than some nights, teams just have bad shooting nights. Nothing seemed to fall for the Zags. All of the wide open looks? Nothing. Something up close? Nothing. In fact, it seemed that the harder and more awkward the shot was, the better chance it had of going in. Just one of those nights is a lame excuse, but it is hard to figure out another reason.
  3. Pacific is a terrible shooting three point team, so when they went 5-of-10 from long range in the first half, it was a little disconcerting. Three of the shots were aggressively defended and some of those are going to go in. The Zags got lucky though, because there was plenty of miscommunication on what to do coming off the ball screen. Pacific took advantage and made a couple of those, but missed just as many. Against Saint Mary’s, the Zags will have to dial in that three point defense much more tightly, because the Gaels can punish.
  4. The Pacific Tigers gameplan was pretty clear in the second half—drive to the hoop, either get the points, or pray for fouls. For the most part, it worked. The two teams combined for 39 fouls and 49 free throws, which made the game an ugly, plodding along mess. It is hard to get any flow running when your opponent has zero want to do the same, but that is how Pacific has been able to keep it close with Saint Mary’s and beat BYU. It isn’t a pretty brand of basketball, but it is working for them.
  5. Let’s look on the brighter side for a second: that is two-consecutive hard-fought and slow as molasses games the Zags have won. BYU got it dangerously close a couple of times, but Pacific never really looked like they were threatening to take control of this game. When the shots weren’t falling, the Zags were more than staying with it. The Zags had nine offensive rebounds in the second half, and 14 overall. That was the difference in the game. The Zags picked up 13 second chance points.
  6. Really rough game for Silas Melson for the second-consecutive game. After scoring in double digits in three straight games, Melson has now scored three points total in his last two games. He just couldn’t get anything going right, finishing with four points from the free throw line, three turnovers, and five personal fouls. The final foul out came on a just a bad and dumb foul on a three point shot.
  7. The defense held Pacific to just 0.847 points per possession. That is the lowest mark for a Gonzaga opponent since the Portland Pilots on January 11. When Pacific was making a bit of a push, the Zags threw some full court press at them. Otherwise, it was mainly playing man and making sure there was help on the rotation. For the most part, the defense was rock solid (although there were a couple of too easy takes to the rim by Pacific).
  8. As far as I can tell (and granted this is coming from Twitter so it is worth about zero in actual value), but a majority of the Gonzaga community has apparently done the following: 1) come to grips with the fact that this is a “down” year; 2) still manages to get upset that Gonzaga isn’t crushing every WCC opponent.
  9. The Zags won their first six conference games by an average of 33.5 points. Since the Saint Mary’s loss, that has dropped to 11.8 points. Considering that the Zags still have all of the hardest games left in conference play (at Saint Mary’s, at San Diego, and at BYU) it is near impossible to predict with confidence that they will lose only one more game in conference. Good thing we have those non-conference wins over Ohio State and Washington...
  10. I’m out of a tenth observation. I just want this squad to beat the hell out of Saint Mary’s tomorrow.