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10 Observations from Gonzaga’s win over Pacific


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

It wasn’t the prettiest night of basketball, but the Zags had no problems with Pacific and now turn their attention to San Francisco:

  1. Pacific’s defensive system looks to take away the paint and force opposing defenses into settling for long jumpers. You can see three guys rallying to cut off the ball once it gets moving to the paint and trying to choke it off and force a kickout. It’s no surprise the Tigers entered the game with one of the highest 3PA/FGA ratios (46.2) in the country.
  2. If you can’t go through the defense to get into the paint (point #1), it helps to be able to go over it. That’s where having Brandon Clarke and Rui Hachimura in the alley oop game comes in handy.
  3. Having Crandall back doesn’t just provide a trusted back up for Perkins, but his secondary ballhandling allows Perkins to have opportunities to spot up for open looks off the ball and take advantage of his shooting ability. Those are different quality shots than he’s able to get when he’s pulling up off the dribble, and will help his shooting numbers.
  4. The 34 court 1-2-2 press had a lot of success with Crandall on the floor in the first half, forcing backcourt violations three times. He’s breathed some fresh air into the defensive end since his return from injury, and we’ve seen a definite uptick in the takeaways that Gonzaga has been able to generate along with general disruptiveness to opposing offenses.
  5. For the second time in the last 4 games, Gonzaga held an opponent to less than 20 points in the first half. Gonzaga’s defense was so stingy that until a pair of free throws with four seconds left in the half gave Pacific 15 points, the Tigers had turned the ball over (14) more than they had scored.
  6. The press lost its bite at the start of the second half, though it was successful in burning off a lot of the clock as Pacific slowly, but surely, made its way down the floor on each possession. It works best in measured dosages, or with variations on the traps, rather than on every defensive possession as the Zags did for a nearly 3-minute stretch early in the second half.
  7. On the offensive end, Gonzaga’s off-ball movement wasn’t very sharp for much of the game. There simply weren’t many occasions where a secondary cutter was moving through the baseline off the primary action, though it felt like that was there for much of the night against Pacific’s defense.
  8. Tillie and Filip Petrusev played together for the first time late in this game. They’re both so skilled that they can easily pair together in the rare event that Few wants to rest both Clarke and Rui at the same time in the future.
  9. Tillie’s definitely still rusty, but he looks good from a physical standpoint and didn’t seem to have any problem logging 19 minutes in this game after playing 9 minutes against Santa Clara last Saturday. That’s the most important thing. Fortunately, the Zags don’t need him to be firing on all cylinders right now to dust off anyone in the WCC.
  10. This was the first time Gonzaga held an opponent below 40 points since beating the University of San Diego 68-31 on February 26, 2011 at the Jenny Craig Pavilion in San Diego.