Gonzaga won their 27th straight game and improved to 14-0 in the WCC, but it wasn’t easy as the Broncos of Santa Clara kept it close throughout. It was also the 50th straight home win for the Zags, which ties the program record.
Santa Clara not only played with energy but executed well on both ends of the floor to start the game. However, their early 11-2 lead caught pretty much everyone off guard. GU struggled to adapt to Santa Clara’s height on defense, which contributed to their slow start.
Even with their energy and height advantage, the Broncos still had to hit shots if they wanted to keep the game close, and they did just that. SC started 9-12 from the floor, and led for virtually the entire opening ten minutes of the game. Gonzaga was able to slowly crawl out of their early hole, and began to get into some offensive rhythm just after the 10 minute mark.
Corey Kispert and Jalen Suggs shouldered much of the offensive load, as Drew Timme was shelved with foul trouble for much of the half. While the Zags were able to get some rhythm on offense, Santa Clara did a good job of stifling any prolonged momentum. GU went into the locker room with a 40-38 lead. Giordan Williams led the offense in the first half for SC with 13 of his 18 points coming in the opening 20 minutes.
The Zags began to more consistently get into their offense in the second half, although big props are in order for the Broncos, who were able to keep pace through most of the game. Gonzaga finally began to stretch their lead a bit in the final ten minutes, and the presence of Drew Timme was a clear reason why. He scored 16 points in the second half, and his back-to-back three point plays with roughly 7 minutes left were a turning point.
Timme finished the game with 18 points, but it was Kispert who led the way with 25. Both Jalen Suggs’ and Andrew Nembhard’s abilities as floor generals were on full display, as they finished with 8 and 7 assists respectively. Suggs came close to the Zags’ second triple double of the season, finishing with 13 points and 11 rebounds to go along with the 8 assists. Guglielmo Caruso led the way for Santa Clara with 19 points.
GU will look for a program record 51st straight home win and an undefeated regular season when they host LMU on Saturday for senior night at the Kennel. Tip-off for the game is 7 p.m. PT.