The top ranked Gonzaga Bulldogs opened their 2020-21 campaign with a convincing 102-90 win over sixth-ranked Kansas. Read that again. The Gonzaga Bulldogs only trailed for 17 seconds and put up 100+ on the Kansas Jayhawks. Mark Few picked up his 600th career victory as head coach.
From the tip, you knew this was going to be a fun one. The first minute of the game saw what fans were clamoring for all offseason: Anton Watson at the top of a full court press causing havoc, leading to a Jalen Suggs alley-oop.
Starting off with a BANG pic.twitter.com/PlTQTOAgXO— Gonzaga Basketball (@ZagMBB) November 26, 2020
Gonzaga would go into a lull mid-way through the half to allow Kansas to cut the lead to five, but Corey Kispert hit a monster three to stop the bleeding and Andrew Nembard hit a late desperation three for good measure. Kispert and Drew Timme led the Zags with 17 first half points a piece as the Zags took a 54-46 lead into the break. Dominick Harris and Julian Strawther both made cameos late in the first half, which means Mark Few really went with a full 10-man rotation. Neither would play again until the final seconds of the game. Jalen Suggs only played seven minutes because of two personal fouls, making Nembhard the lead guard for most of the first half.
Kansas came out making the early adjustments in the second half. After trailing by as many as 13 early in the game, Kansas would tie it up at 56. The Jayhawks had three point-blank looks at the rim to take the lead, but couldn’t capitalize. Gonzaga responded with a Joel Ayayi jumper and back-to-back And-1 opportunities from Suggs and Nembhard.
Kansas stayed within arms distance for a few minutes, but then Suggs truly arrived. He completely took over the game in the middle of the second half. He scored in transition, he hit threes, he dished to teammates, and he drove to the rim with ferocity. Gonzaga has never had a player like him before. He finished the game with 24 points, 8 assists, 4 rebounds, and a pair of steals.
Kispert finished with 23 points and zero turnovers, Timme ended up with a game-high 25 points, while Nembhard scored 11 points with zero turnovers off the bench. Gonzaga had three 20+ point scorers against one of the best defensive teams in the country from a year ago.
Ayayi was quiet offensively for most of the game, but had two big buckets late to extend Gonzaga’s lead to double digits. He finished with 15 points and nine rebounds.
Gonzaga will now enjoy a nice dinner and turn around to face Auburn at 8 am pacific Friday morning.