Rui Hachimura could not be stopped tonight. His 32 points came off an efficient 11 for 15 from the field. It was arguably his best game in a Gonzaga uniform as their was nothing he couldn’t do. Hitting jumpers, catching lobs, blocking shots, even hitting a three-pointer. San Diego forward, Isaiah Pineiro, was just as good with 30 points of his own to go along with 10 rebounds. He has had quite the career at USD and they sure are going to miss him next season. Gonzaga improves to a perfect 8-0 in conference while the Toreros fall to 4-4. That’s the 12th straight win for the Bulldogs.
Was it me or was there an abnormal amount of alley-oops tonight? My count is a total of 4. It was like an all-star game out there.
San Diego vs Gonzaga Observations:
- Rui scored over his PPG season average (19.9) at halftime with 20 points. He scored half of Gonzaga’s 40 1st half points.
- 16 points off turnovers for the Zags in the 1st half as San Diego turned the ball over 10 times.
- 22 of the 40 first half points for Gonzaga came in the paint.
- Brandon Clarke had a really quiet 1st half. Only 2 points and 4 rebounds.
- USD has a ton of offensive weapons with Pineiro, Wright, Williams, even Calcaterra can be a threat. It’s unfortunate for USD that Olin Carter was out tonight. When Gonzaga travels down to San Diego on February 16th and Carter is available for the Toreros, it should be a closer game than it was tonight.
(Was that block by Rui in the highlight above better than Clarke’s against Tennessee? It’s pretty close.)
- Brandon Clarke had 2 blocks tonight. His season block total is now at 69. That’s how many Zach Collins had in his one season and we still have 8 regular season games left. Just 1 to go until he ties Austin Daye’s single season record.
- The point guard to point guard alley-oop was the most entertaining play in the 2nd half. Crandall has got some bunnies that I didn’t know about.
- San Diego had a total of 17 turnovers and Gonzaga had 10 of their own.
- Norvell was on fire from deep. He scored 21 points on 5 of 7 three-point shooting. Snacks hasn’t scored 20 points since December 28th against North Alabama.
- Isaiah Pineiro made a case tonight why he should be considered for WCC Player of the Year, right behind Rui and Clarke of course.
- After watching San Diego tonight, the question is if they are the 2nd best team in the WCC. Is it USF? Maybe Saint Mary’s? Certainly not BYU. A couple weeks ago, I thought it was the Dons but I’m changing it now to the Toreros. San Francisco has had some recent struggles while losing to USD and then Saint Mary’s earlier today.
Your Gonzaga stat of the day: Gonzaga has not trailed by double digits to a WCC opponent since February 20, 2016 (54 games)— Steven Karr (@SKarrG0) February 2, 2019
The biggest week of Gonzaga’s WCC schedule is up next. San Francisco on Thursday (9 PM ET) and Saint Mary’s on Saturday (10 PM ET). Both games will be played at home for the Zags. I’m really hoping that game against the Dons will be as entertaining as it was back at War Memorial Gymnasium in early January. A lot more exciting Gonzaga basketball is on the way.
*Arden Cravalho is a senior at Gonzaga University... Follow him on Twitter @a_cravalho