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10 Observations from Gonzaga’s win over Texas Southern

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9-1

NCAA Basketball: Texas Southern at Gonzaga James Snook-USA TODAY Sports

It was nice to get back in the win column, but there wasn’t much to be learned about Gonzaga from Wednesday night’s win over Texas Southern. The next three games will be very different. Nevertheless, there are still some takeaways from this game that are worth discussing:

  1. Why did Admon Gilder play in this game? He didn’t look like he was moving that well to me, and after the game Mark Few stated that he hasn’t been able to practice because of his health. Which again begs the question, why didn’t he get the night off? No disrespect to Texas Southern, but the Zags did not need Gilder in this game. I’m sure he pushed to play and said he was fine, but sometimes you have to take that decision out of the player’s hands for his own good. There is much bigger fish to try, and Texas Southern ain’t it.
  2. Texas Southern turned the ball over 18 times, but I still think Gonzaga’s pressure defense has been missing in action. It seems to me that the Zags are trying to find the right balance between playing aggressively on defense while maintaining the overall integrity of the halfcourt scheme.
  3. The Zags have fallen in love with the three ball too easily and too quickly in the last few games. The strength of this offense is running the offense through the inside. That’s the Gonzaga way.
  4. I loved the energy that Drew Timme played with. He put together a really strong game by being active at both ends of the floor, and you can see his comfort level increasing with each passing game.
  5. Joel Ayayi is incredible. That’s it. That’s the observation.
  6. I know Mark Few prefers to play a set rotation with defined roles and minutes for his 8 guys (7 now that Watson is down). That’s fine in theory as it allows for maximum cohesion of the lineups that will actually play together in crunch time. But he should be flexible with that dogma in certain circumstances, like the one we currently find ourselves in. These types of games exist to get experience for guys like Martynas Arlauskas and Pavel Zakharov. Considering the state of Gonzaga’s health and the strain it has placed on the rotation, I don’t understand the resistance to allocating minutes to them against a team like Texas Southern considering what the next three games on the schedule look like. I am quite familiar with the standard coaching tropes about only focusing on the game you’re actually playing, earning minutes in practice, etc., but shouldn’t the bigger picture be accounted for as well?
  7. I need to see Filip Petrusev dunk the ball every time in the paint. EVERY TIME. Even when the situation doesn’t call for it.
  8. Corey Kispert missed his first three three point attempts, but he kept himself involved around the basket which created easier opportunities for him to score. After a strong week in Atlantis, it was great to see him not regress and find ways to engage even though his shot wasn’t falling early.
  9. The lack of rim protection is still highly concerning to me. We got spoiled last year with Brandon Clarke patrolling the paint, and it’s not fair to expect anyone to fill the void he left behind, but this is a weakness of this team right now.
  10. Bring on the Huskies.