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10 Observations from Gonzaga’s win over Pepperdine

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30-2

NCAA Basketball: West Coast Conference Tournament-Gonzaga vs Pepperdine Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

Now that was a fun game to watch. Gonzaga had the benefit of watching the first three days of the WCC Tournament, during which two teams that played in the first round advanced all the way to the semifinals. There were no upsets brewing in this game, however, as Gonzaga once again showed why it is head and shoulders above the rest of the conference.

  1. Nobody loves Las Vegas more than Killian Tillie. He looked like he was moving pain free, but didn’t look totally comfortable during the first few possession that he was on the floor. However, once he checked up good players in Colbey Ross and Kessler Edwards without issue and then sank a three at the other end, his confidence looked like it was all the back. Can we arrange for all of Gonzaga’s tournament games to be played at the Orleans Arena? Tillie could probably break the tournament record for made 3’s, if so.
  2. Gonzaga’s inside-out game was really sharp for throughout the game. Pepperdine’s defense isn’t the best, by any means, but there was no answer for how to slow down Gonzaga’s attack. When the Zags are rolling like that, I really don’t think there’s any defensive scheme that can stop them.
  3. Pepperdine’s offense is heavily reliant on drive-and-kick action to generate good 3-point attempts. Gonzaga did a good job of taking that away by defending the paint without having to collapse the defense, and forcing the Waves into taking mid-range jumpers which is not their forte.
  4. Gonzaga is deadly in transition, so it was pretty stunning that Pepperdine put no effort or thought into effectuating any type of plan to slow down the Zags on the break. Pepperdine didn’t take care of the ball and didn’t control the boards. That’s a bad recipe to keep the score close against Gonzaga.
  5. Zach Norvell’s off-ball movement was phenomenal. He’s an excellent finisher around the basket, so when he’s slashing to the rim he’s a complete menace.
  6. Colbey Ross has mastered the art of drawing a foul by throwing his head back at the slightest contact when driving to the rim. It’s annoying, but I respect it.
  7. Pepperdine’s 14-2 run during garbage time against the bench mob will give Mark Few something to harp on during practice. Everyone comes away from this game happy!
  8. Shout out to all the Gonzaga fans in attendance at the Orleans Arena. It looked and felt like a home game at The Kennel.
  9. You have to appreciate Gonzaga’s consistency of effort. This team didn’t just rely on having the significant talent advantage to win, they made sure they outworked Pepperdine in all facets of the game too. That is championship culture.
  10. The first 10 minutes of the second half was as good as basketball gets. It’s incredible to watch a team play so selflessly and in complete harmony. It’s a rare thing. Don’t ever take it for granted.