Gonzaga is the real king of Texas. The Zags are now 3-0 against teams from the Lone Star State this season. They also move to 3-2 against AP Top 25 teams. Everything is bigger in Spokane.
The Zags put together an all-around fantastic game against the #25 Red Raiders. Fans were very well aware that taking care of the ball as well as both the three-point and free-throw shooting were the major issues facing this team but that was definitely not the case today.
- 10 total turnovers, 4 in the first half
- 13 for 31 3PT (41.9%), 8 for 10 FT (80%)
It wasn’t just all about the Zags’ offensive efficiency, they were also putting in the work on the defensive end (especially in the first half) and acting as a pest towards Texas Tech. The Zags seemed to be getting a hand on almost every pass with their 6 total steals. Mark Few has disciplined this team very well on that side of the floor.
As for Texas Tech, it didn’t help that the Red Raiders were without their leading scorer in Terrence Shannon who was dealing with back spasms. I tend to think this game would’ve been a lot closer than it actually was if he was on the floor.
You could make the argument for a few different guys to be named the player of the game but my vote is going to Rasir Bolton. He was a threat from beyond the arc throughout the entire game, Texas Tech needed a body following him at all times. He finished with 15 points, all of them coming from deep (5 for 10 3PT). Most definitely the best shooter on this team.
And I only have great things to say about Anton Watson. He had 10 points, 4 rebounds, and 2 steals as a huge boost off the bench. Watson was attacking the rim with force, going up strong each and every time. He is even starting to turn into a three-point shooter now. Anton has hit 2 deep looks in his last three games. You can’t leave my man open anywhere on the court.
Andrew Nembhard needed a big performance like he had today. He has been relatively quiet offensively in his last three matchups. Against the Red Raiders, his shot was back to being on point. Nembhard was locked in from deep as he finished 4-8 on three-pointers. Zag fans knew he was going to be a facilitator on offense (6 assists) but were questioning his scoring ability as of late. Not a problem as he had 16 points. It’s also worth mentioning his spectacular impact on defense. 3 steals and 1 huge block from the senior leader.
Nembhard threads the needle to Watson who draws the foul pic.twitter.com/4TcYZZGwKa— Justin Reed (@JustinReed99) December 18, 2021
Chet Holmgren had some foul issues in the early part of the second half and had to sit. The Red Raiders took advantage of this and went on a run to cut the lead down significantly. The Zags seemed to go on an offensive drought without their freshman phenom on the floor but luckily, that was only for a short stretch of time. Once he checked back in, the Zags got right back in the groove of things. Holmgren finished the game with 11 rebounds, the 4th time this season he has grabbed double-digit boards.
Chet Holmgren does a wonderful job of monitoring both his man and the ball this entire possession. The block is simply the LOL on the cake. He's a nightmare for ball handlers in P&R and DHO situations. Hard to pass around, impossible to shoot over. pic.twitter.com/D2x7VH6DOz— Maxwell BaumBoards (@BaumBoards) December 18, 2021
That was some sweet, sweet revenge for the disappointing finish to the 2018-2019 Gonzaga season in the Elite Eight game against the Red Raiders. I will never forgive them for ending my senior year at GU on a sour note.
The 5th ranked Bulldogs now improve their overall record to 9-2 as the non-conference begins to wind down. Gonzaga heads back home to welcome Northern Arizona this upcoming Monday and North Alabama the following week.
Arden Cravalho is a Gonzaga University graduate from the Bay Area... Follow him on Twitter @a_cravalho