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10 Observations from LMU

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24-2

NCAA Basketball: Gonzaga at Loyola Marymount Kelvin Kuo-USA TODAY Sports
  1. Filip Petrusev didn’t hesitate to shoot the three when given the chance about ten minutes in. Killian Tillie is an incredibly versatile big man, and the one thing the Zags are going to miss is his ability to stretch the floor. Brandon Clarke and Rui Hachimura have combined to attempt just 34 three point shots this season. While no one will be able to replicate the consistency and threat Tillie posed from long range, Petrusev’s ability to confidently shoot from afar helps us forget Tillie’s absence at least a little bit.
  2. That was without a doubt the worst first half the Zags have played since Arizona. LMU is one of the better defensive teams in the conference, and Mike Dunlaps plan apparently was to switch up the defensive look nearly every possession. As a result, Gonzaga’s offense really couldn’t get the sort of hum it normally relies on. It doesn’t help when Brandon Clarke and Zach Norvell miss gimme dunks and lay-ups, but the Zags let LMU completely dictate the game in the first half.
  3. Gonzaga scored only 12 points in the paint in the first half. When you have players like Rui Hachimura and Clarke, that is an embarrassment. In the second half, the Zags relied on the backs of their bigs when the shots weren’t falling. That is OK. Some days, teams just shoot like trash. This was one of those nights for Gonzaga, and that is when you have to switch up how you operate. Gonzaga took too nearly 30 minutes too long to figure that out.
  4. Perkins line was hardly his best of the entire year, finishing with just seven points, four assists, and two turnovers. He made one field goal the entire game, and it was a deep three to open the second half. After being rather complacent for much of the first half, we saw aggressive Perk in the second. It was a nice display of leadership right out of the gates from the Gonzaga senior, and exactly the shot in the arm needed to start the second half.
  5. Swinging back around to Petrusev, he came in to provide some nice offense early on, scoring six points. Defense still remains a slight issue however, and with LMU scoring so easily in the paint, he sat on the bench for the remainder of the game. Petrusev was the only player to finish with a +/- in the negative (just -1, however).
  6. In the second half, it was Jeremy Jones racking up eight minutes. Most likely, this is going to be your Killian Tillie replacement going forward. Don’t expect to see Petrusev too often in the latter stages of the game, because Jones defense will always help him win out for those second-half minutes.
  7. Rui Hachimura and Brandon Clarke have both scored in double figures for 26-straight games. Let that sink in. Usually, the most common double figure partners are a guard and a forward. The Gonzaga front court is consistent x2, and that was on full display in this game. It is hard enough for defenses to contain either Clarke or Hachimura, but asking to limit the damage of both? It’s impossible.
  8. This game was an absolute grinder. Gonzaga finished with zero fastbreak points, which might be the only time that has happened all season. LMU changed the pace of play and Gonzaga was able to grind out the victory. There is a something good to be taken out of that. LMU removed one of Gonzaga’s favorite weapons and the Zags still rattled off a 13 point win, albeit it, not an easy win.
  9. The Zags shot an improbable 21-of-22 from the free throw line, scoring 12 more from the charity stripe than LMU. If you want to point to one difference in the game, that is it. Rui was on it, hitting a perfect 8-for-8. Gonzaga has a knack for shooting the free throws good in games that we don’t want to be close. It was the second highest percentage this season to the perfect 19-for-19 against the Washington Huskies.
  10. Late into the game the LMU fans really tried to get under the Zags’ skin and ugh can student sections across the globe just stop chanting this:

Not because Gonzaga isn’t overrated. Gonzaga could be overrated, that is besides the point. Schools across the country engage in this meaningless chance when their severely underdog team almost pulls an upset against a seemingly vastly superior opponent. LMU came to play and came closer than most to pulling off the upset. Gonzaga isn’t overrated because of it, perhaps LMU is better than their own fans think?