Gonzaga needed a break. Last week they seemed a little tired, both mentally and physically, in their game against Saint Mary’s. Mark Few gave them a couple days off this week to reset their bodies and minds and now they’re getting back at it for the second half of the season. The Bulldogs welcome in the Pacific Tigers on Saturday night.
Pacific has probably been affected by Covid more than any WCC team (San Diego could win that award, too). The Tigers played just their seventh game of the season last night in Malibu. Multiple teams in the league have already played 14 or more. It’s hard to get a good understanding on who this team is, and I’m sure it’s even more difficult for their coaching staff to get any kind of consistency with so many layoffs and so few games.
Meet the Opponent
Pacific Tigers: 5-2 (2-1 WCC), KenPom 125
Pacific, like usual, is a deep team who plays extremely physical and very slow. Despite losing three of their top four scorers from a 23-win team a season ago, they have got off to a good start. Damon Stoudamire’s team opened up WCC play with two solid victories last week over LMU and Santa Clara. They also own a nice win over Montana State. Their lone loss before last night’s beatdown at the hands of Pepperdine was a 12-point loss at Nevada.
They have 10 players who average double digit minutes, but their offense is led by four main scorers. Sophomore guard Daniss Jenkins moved into the starting lineup midway through last season and has picked up some of the scoring left by Jahlil Tripp. Jenkins averages 13.1 points to head the Tigers’ offense. Seniors Broc Finstuen and Jeremiah Bailey, who were both role players last year, have become double figure scorers this season. They also add Jordan Bell, a grad transfer forward from LMU, who puts up 8.9 points and 5.1 rebounds.
What to Watch For
Gonzaga came out unusually slow in both of their games last week. After some time to reset and work on a few things, it will be interesting to see if they come out sharp. Pacific loves to muck up games against Gonzaga. A couple years ago, they came to Spokane and literally dribbled out the shot clock every possession before taking a shot. They led the 2017 undefeated Bulldogs at halftime in Stockton. They can be very annoying to play against. We’ll see if Gonzaga can control pace and step on their throats early on. Pepperdine was able to do that on Thursday, going up 44-20 at halftime. Kessler Edwards scored 37 points for the Waves. Eli Scott had 19 for LMU and Keshawn Justice scored 19 for Santa Clara. If those three results are any indication of how Pacific guards strong, athletic forwards, Corey Kispert may be in for a huge night.
Game: Pacific at Gonzaga
Time: Saturday, 7 pm pacific
TV: KHQ/ROOT Sports
KenPom: Gonzaga 88-65