Gonzaga’s Sherman-like march through the WCC hit a speedbump tonight with a cage-match type game with the tough, talented and resilient University of San Francisco Dons. In a contest that felt closer than its final score indicated, the Zags defeated the Dons 78 - 62. Drew Timme had a slog tonight but led the Zags with 23 points. Chet Holmgren was great, scoring 22 points with 4 blocks and 9 rebounds. The Dons were led by the outstanding Jamaree Bouyea with 25 points and an impressive 8 rebounds. Despite foul trouble, Khalil Shabazz added 15 points.
Gonzaga missed the starting gun tonight falling behind the Dons 15 – 6 after the first 7:45 of play. Bouyea played like a future first-round draft pick and San Diego transfer Yauhen Massalski aggressively guarded Drew Timme in the post allowing him to only make one of his first eight shots. Gonzaga was able to fight back with strong performances by Holmgren and Anton Watson to take a 36 – 33 lead at the half.
Bouyea started the second half with a great steal followed by a three-pointer, but Shabazz picked up his fourth foul early in the half causing the Dons to struggle. Gonzaga’s defense tightened, USF started to turn the ball over and GU controlled the boards in second half. Still, the Dons kept it close, within 10, until eventually fading away in last six minutes of the game.
Both teams missed several easy shots at the rim, but no one seemed to struggle more than Drew Timme. He ended up shooting 9 for 20 on the night but it was a significant drop-off from his 27 for 32 performance over the past two games. Massalski was a tough defender, but Timme missed several shots that are usually automatic for him. Drew did make some spectacular passes and ended the game with four assists.
Holmgren on the other hand probably had his best all-around game as a Zag. His two first half threes were crucial in keeping the game close and his defense at the rim was exceptional.
Andrew Nembhard led Gonzaga with 7 assists against only two turnovers. Gonzaga finished the night with 19 assists versus only 7 for the Dons.
Both teams shot terribly from deep with Gonzaga going 5 for 18 and the Dons shooting 6 for 21.
Circle your calendar for 24 Feb when Gonzaga is scheduled to travel to San Francisco playing in the infamous War Memorial Gym. Gonzaga’s next game is scheduled for one week from tonight against LMU.