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10 Observations from Gonzaga’s win over USD


NCAA Basketball: San Diego at Gonzaga James Snook-USA TODAY Sports

Gonzaga was back to doing what it does best on Thursday night, utilizing an impressive and diverse offensive attack to wear down the visiting San Diego Toreros. Hopefully they can put another comparable performance together on Saturday night to cap off the regular season in style.

  1. Congratulations to Adam Morrison on FINALLY having his jersey go up in the rafters a random wall to honor his legendary career for Gonzaga. Morrison was/still is a college basketball icon thanks to his phenomenal junior campaign and the cross-coastal duel he had with JJ Redick for player of the year honors. It was great to see him have his moment in front of his community.
  2. The Zags didn’t exactly come out of the gates raring to go after Saturday’s performance. I was hoping to see them play with some fire and focus right from the tip, but they kind of eased into this one before turning the screws to USD in the final five minutes of the first half to seize control of the game.
  3. I was encouraged to see Ayayi push the ball early and look to get right to the rim for a layup. But then he didn’t attempt another shot for the remainder of the first half. I understand that the coaches always want to throw the ball inside and work off how the defense plays the post, but it’d be nice for Ayayi to start hunting his shot more too. He’s disappeared offensively over the last 6 weeks and needs to recapture some good feelings about his scoring game.
  4. Strong bounce back first half (13 points) for Kispert coming off his dismal performance at BYU. After a bad shooting night, it’s important to see the ball go in early for you in the next game. Fortunately, Kispert got it going early to avoid falling into a little rut like the one we saw prior to the Bahamas this season.
  5. There were still defensive possessions where Zags were not on the same page in terms of their rotations and coverages. They handed USD a handful of baskets with their disorganization, though you have to tip your hat to the Toreros as well for taking advantage of their opportunities.
  6. At this point, it’s pretty evident the Zags can’t allow Filip Petrusev to get isolated on the perimeter by having him switch on ball screen coverages. BYU took advantage of him on Saturday and USD followed the blueprint.
  7. Ryan Woolridge was getting a little loose with his dribble drives, as he got called for a travel and a carry in the first half, which is a rare feat to accomplish. However, he was deadly in the open floor in a dominant second half push that served as the nail in USD’s coffin. It’s fun to see Woolridge push the pace in transition, which hasn’t happened as much as it should in the last few games.
  8. Let’s not resume this bad free throw shooting thing (12-19). Petrusev’s free throw mechanics, in particular, looked especially hitchy. The Zags will not have the tournament they are hoping for if they shoot 63% from the line.
  9. Gonzaga put together a much more consistent second half in terms of energy and hustling to beat USD to loose balls and for positioning. That allowed them to play a much more stress free game as they began to generate transition opportunities as USD wilted under the pressure applied by the Zags.
  10. The WCC has been a tough league this year, so we shouldn’t take another regular season title for granted even though Gonzaga has made it look pretty easy for the most part. This program’s consistency and standard of excellence is so impressive.