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Gonzaga vs San Diego Preview: Bounce Back Game

USD has been playing tough lately

Gregory Bull / AP

Gonzaga finally lost a conference game for the first time in two years. They lost a conference road game for the first time in FOUR YEARS. It was bound to happen at some point. The sky is not falling. In all likelihood, San Diego will take the brunt of Gonzaga’s frustrations on Thursday night. Earlier in the year, they rebounded from the Michigan loss with a 41-point drubbing of Texas Southern.

Meet the Opponent

San Diego Toreros (9-20 overall, 2-14 in WCC, KenPom 215)

San Diego has been on the wrong end of some tough finishes recently. They led Saint Mary’s at home with four minutes to go before falling in the final minutes. They lost on a buzzer beater at Pepperdine two weeks ago and followed that up with a last second loss to BYU two days later. Their only two wins in conference play are against Portland.

Last time these two teams met, Gonzaga whooped up on the Toreros in a 94-50 victory. San Diego had 16 points at half time and no player had more than nine points in the game. Since then, Braun Hartfield has become their go-to scorer. He’s averaged 17.5 points and 2.4 assists in the 11 games since their match-up inside Jenny Craig Pavilion.

Gonzaga gave up 1.25 points per possession against BYU. The 62.9 percent that the Cougars shot inside the arc was the ninth worse mark Gonzaga has given up since 2002. The Zags will only go as far as their defense will take them when March rolls around against elite competition. They’ve got four more games to shore that up, starting on Thursday night. Somewhat ironically, Adam Morrison’s jersey is being retired at the game so who knows what kind of defensive performance we can expect. What we can expect is most certainly an offensive explosion.