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Gonzaga Smashes Santa Clara, 104-54

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Holy smokes

There’s no better way to respond to devastating news about a teammate than to go out and absolutely demolish an opponent. That’s what we saw on Thursday night. After Gonzaga announced Anton Watson will miss the remainder of the season, the Bulldogs responded by hammering Santa Clara 104-54.

The game was never close. The Zags were clicking on both ends of the court early on and played, perhaps, their best first half of the season. They shot 7-for-13 from deep, held Santa Clara to 1-of-12 from distance, forced nine first half turnovers and scored 58 points in 20 minutes. Three Bulldogs were in double figures before Herb Sendek knew what hit him.

After upsetting Saint Mary’s on the road last week, the Broncos came in looking to improve on their best start to a season since 1968. They were stopped - at the rim, at the perimeter, and everywhere in between. It was eerily similar to the two 50-point drubbings from a season ago.

As usual, Gonzaga had balanced scoring. Five Zags finished in double figures, led by Joel Ayayi’s 19 points. Filip Petrusev and Admon Gilder both added 18. And, as an added bonus, the team shot 28-for-32 from the foul line, easing those concerns for at least one night.

The win matches the longest regular season winning streak (32, Pepperdine) in West Coast Conference history. They’ll look to break that record on Saturday when they host BYU, who smacked San Diego on Thursday and will likely be without Yoeli Childs due to a finger injury.