The outcome of this game seemed like a foregone conclusion by the first media timeout, and Gonzaga kept their foot to the floor in a wire-to-wire, 87-65 victory over St. Mary’s. So what were some takeaways from the Zag’s 21st win of the season?
1. The Zags got off to a blistering start on both ends of the floor. While the offense is this team’s calling card, it was the defensive play, including forcing six turnovers in the first eight minutes, that allowed them to pull away early.
2. Throughout the first half, Gonzaga was able to control the pace on both ends of the floor, something they struggled with a bit during their first matchup with the Gaels in Moraga. This allowed them to head into the break with a 27 point lead.
3. The balanced attack for GU is one of the biggest reasons why they are the top offensive team in the nation. This was on perfect display in the first half, where every Zag to hit floor had at least four points.
4. Joel Ayayi once again showed his versatility on offense, drilling three 3’s in the first half on four attempts. Ayayi only had 17 made 3’s on the season coming in, but was given open looks and made the most of them.
5. As good as the Zags played in the first half, they somehow looked even better coming out of the locker room. While it may seem like beating a dead horse, it cannot be stressed enough how pretty this team’s offense is when everything is clicking. The ball movement is especially important, Exhibit A:
6. While that offensive exchange may have been tweet-worthy, it wasn’t even the best dunk related play of the night. That honor goes to Anton Watson:
7. Corey Kispert was high man in the game with 20 points, despite hitting only one three pointer. While his outside shooting is what puts him in Wooden Award and NBA Draft lottery talks, it is the development of his all-around game that takes him to the next level.
8. It is always fun to see the end-of-the-bench guys and walk-ons get into games, even if the outcome has long since been decided. Matt Lang hitting a three and the whole bench cheering right behind him was one of my favorite highlights of the whole game.
9. The 22-point margin of victory wasn’t indicative of how one-sided this game really was. The Zags led by as many as 37 and never trailed in this game, which was especially pleasant to see after their somewhat lackluster 10-point win in Moraga.
10. It might seem played out, but the hype for a potential Gonzaga-Baylor matchup is truly astronomical. It certainly seems like the National Championship is the only way we’ll see this happen, and I can’t think of a matchup in any sport in recent years I’ve wanted to see more than this one.