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10 Observations from Gonzaga’s win over Pacific

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NCAA Basketball: Pacific at Gonzaga James Snook-USA TODAY Sports

How many of you are thankful this didn’t turn into a grueling, plodding, 60-possession game that Pacific would have liked to play? The first two and a half minutes did not look promising, but the rest of the night saw Gonzaga at its best. That was fun.

  1. The Zags went to the 34 court press early to force Pacific to play faster than they were comfortable, and it paid dividends as the Tigers committed four turnovers before the first media timeout and ten in the first half. The press is a good way to force the issue against the slower tempo teams. Gonzaga’s deadly transition game created a big lead early, which forced the Tigers to abandon their glacial pace for the rest of the evening so they could create extra possessions.
  2. Pacific is going to play a physical game and do as much as they can get away with to disrupt Gonzaga’s offensive flow. The Zags did a good job of not getting frustrated early and not shying away from playing through contact.
  3. After the game against Saint Mary’s, Mark Few said the team was tired, which made sense considering what we saw last weekend. Having a night off on Thursday and some extra time this week to recharge certainly looks like it came at the right time.
  4. Drew Timme footwork appreciation comment.
  5. I realize that Pacific isn’t an offensive juggernaut, but Gonzaga’s defensive effort in the first half needs to be commended. The Zags paired intensity with focus to turn in a great defensive half that held the Tigers to 21% shooting from the field. If not for some fortuitous bounces that went in Pacific’s favor, they would not have passed the 20-point mark in the first 20 minutes.
  6. I enjoyed watching the battle in the paint between Oumar Ballo and the little used James Hampshire. Neither one of those guys gets too many opportunities to battle against comparable length, so it was interesting to watch despite the talent gap between them.
  7. Gonzaga had more assists in the first half of this game (10) than in the entire game against Saint Mary’s last week (6). Gonzaga’s ball movement in this game was a delight. The spacing and unselfishness was nearly perfect for much of the night, and when the Zags play that way there is no team in the country that can beat them.
  8. I can’t believe how many times Pacific lost track of Corey Kispert trailing the play and stepping into a shot at the three point line. It happened at least three times. Considering Kispert is Gonzaga’s most dangerous shooting threat, you would think the Tigers would have greater awareness of where he was on the floor.
  9. Jalen Suggs came thisssssclose to a triple-double. He looked like he was the forcing the action outside the flow of the offense during the closing minutes of his time on the floor as he searched for the basket and two assists that he needed to complete the feat. Watching Suggs be denied of the triple double just underscores how crazy Ayayi’s triple-double was against Portland and how easy he made it look.
  10. Each Zag that wore a compression undershirt beneath his jersey in the first half shed it for the second half. There has to be a backstory behind it that prompted the halftime change for everyone.