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10 Observations from Gonzaga’s win over BYU

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NCAA Basketball: Santa Clara at Gonzaga James Snook-USA TODAY Sports

Make that five straight games that Gonzaga has defeated BYU by double figures. Whether it’s Dave Rose or Mark Pope, the Cougars have struggled as of late to slow down the Bulldogs.

  1. While BYU didn’t have their star in Childs, Gonzaga has had to deal with its own injury adversity all season, which struck again in this game as Filip Petrusev missed the final 15 minutes after rolling his right ankle pretty good. With the frontcourt down to Timme and Tillie, we are going to see a lot of Corey Kispert at the “4” with the Zags forced to play the small ball lineup for prolonged periods of time. Fortunately, Admon Gilder looks as physically explosive as he has all season which is a great sign for the undermanned Zags.
  2. Gonzaga was aggressive on the glass all game long which resulted in a lot of offensive rebounds and extra possessions. When you give a team like the Zags multiple opportunities to make a basket each time down the floor, they’re not going to waste them.
  3. Drew Timme put together another excelling outing, providing great energy off the bench and gaining more trust from the coaching staff in his ever-expanding role as the rotation shrinks due to injuries.
  4. Gonzaga opted to show hard while defending BYU’s pick-n-roll to take away dribble penetration and the three-point line, which occasionally left them exposed on slips and backdoor cuts. That’s a tradeoff that proved to be worthwhile as BYU struggled to establish any rhythm from long distance while the Zags made enough adjustments to take away some of those passing lanes after getting burned a few times early in the game.
  5. The transition game was sharp as the Zags pounced on every turnover and long rebound and quickly turned them into a runout and points at the other end. As this been the case all season long, Gonzaga has been able to do this in bunches and opposing teams have found that they’re all of a sudden down by high double digits in just a 2-3 minute span.
  6. Joel Ayayi had a handful of drives where he lost control early in the second half, but I liked how he responded later as he continued to stay aggressive and didn’t allow those miscues to negatively affect his approach.
  7. Hats off to Ryan Woolridge on handling the game’s toughest assignment with aplomb. Defending TJ Haws is a tiring affair due to his constant off-ball movement, and his markers typically find themselves running around screens all night long. It would have been easy for Woolridge to disengage from the rest of the action to catch his breath and take a break, but he remained active in all facets of the game which is a testament to his conditioning.
  8. Job well done by the Kennel Club to show Paolo Banchero some love on his official visit to Gonzaga. Strong work all around all game long as well by the KC to create a phenomenal atmosphere.
  9. The Cougars struggled with defending the two man game between Ryan Woolridge and Tillie. Woolridge applies so much pressure with the threat of his dribble penetration, and Tillie’s ability to hurt you from anywhere on the floor presents so much conflict to the defense in where to steer them.
  10. It’s unfortunate that Yoeli Childs wasn’t able to beat his injury timeline as it would have been a lot of fun to have him play in this game. BYU tried to give the Gonzaga coaching staff something to think about by getting Childs some pre-game work and had him appear on the bench in uniform, but they would not have been doing him any favors by throwing him out there and risking a more prolonged absence. Tillie, no stranger to this tactic himself, remarked after the game that he knew it was a rouse. Hopefully we get to see Childs in Provo next month. It’s always fun to play against talented players