Gonzaga continued its series of tune-up games in preparation for UCLA and Duke next week in Las Vegas by defeating the Bellarmine Knights 92 – 50. Gonzaga was led by Drew Timme with 25 points, Julian Strawther with 19 points and 6 rebounds and Andrew Nembhard with 7 assists. Bellarmine led by impressive guard Dylan Penn with 14 points and 6 assists.
As they had in their previous three game, Bellarmine started strong and hung with Gonzaga early taking a 11 – 10 lead at the 14:00 minute mark. Gonzaga looked like they were making a conscious effort to shoot the three ball but missed four of their first five shots from deep.
Gonzaga soon adjusted to Bellarmine’s ball movement and their domineering defense shut the Knights down allowing only 17 more points over the next 14 minutes. Meanwhile, the Zags offense began to click led by Andrew Nembhard who was credited with assists on the GU’s first six scores. Julian Strawther got hot from deep, Chet Holmgren did a little bit of everything and Drew Timme was Drew Timme allowing the Zags to take a 48 – 28 lead at the half.
Gonzaga’s defense shut-down the Knights for the second half and their offense went on cruise control allowing subs to play (and extend the lead) for the last eight minutes of the game. We got an extended look at (probably) next year’s starters featuring Nolan Hickman hitting three from deep, Ben Gregg looking smooth and skilled with Kaden Perry being a beast.
The second half was highlighted by the play of the season thus far. Hunter Sallis blocked a Bellarmine shot, beat two players to the ball and flew down the court for a one-handed hammer starting 10 feet away from the rim.
Gonzaga couldn’t have asked for a better performance before their trip to Vegas. They outrebounded Bellarmine 40 to 20, shot 48% from deep with 21 assists. The next game is Monday, Nov 22 at 8:00 p.m. against Central Michigan. The game will be telecast on ESPNU.