Its a new year but the same story for the Zags, as they defeated San Francisco in the WCC opener, 85-62.
Corey Kispert led the way with 26 points, despite only hitting one three for the game. Joel Ayayi (18 points, 10 rebounds) and Drew Timme (10 points, 11 rebounds) each recorded double doubles while Andrew Nembhard also scored in double figures with 14.
The Dons have been a thorn in Gonzaga’s side the past few years, and played tough in the first half. They came into this game looking to stifle Gonzaga at the three point line, and they were able to use this strategy to keep the game close throughout the first twenty minutes, including a brief lead at the 13 minute mark. They did this despite a lack of threes on their own end, which was the strength of the offense coming in.
The first half was one of runs, but the Zags were able to withstand multiple threats by USF. However, it was the final few minutes of the opening period that set the tone for the second half. Gonzaga went on a 7-0 run to close the first, capped by a buzzer-beating three by Corey Kispert that was launched from just inside half court.
The run continued after the break, as the Zags scored the first seven points of the second half to go up by 14. USF was unable to keep up, shooting just 25% in the second half, and just 23.5% from beyond the arc. Jamaree Bouyea, the Dons’ leading scorer, had 16 points on 7 of 8 shooting in the first half, but was limited to just a single field goal in the second.
The depth and versatility of this Gonzaga team was once again on display. Jalen Suggs played limited minutes in the first half due to foul trouble and did not score until the 16:02 mark in the second half, but the team was able to find offensive production elsewhere. Five different players recorded multiple assists in the game.
The Zags get a bit of a break before continuing WCC play next Thursday against Santa Clara in Spokane.