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10 Observations from Gonzaga’s win over Pepperdine

12-2

NCAA Basketball: Pepperdine at Gonzaga James Snook-USA TODAY Sports

After long last, Gonzaga basketball is back. And what an emphatic return, though I’m guessing that Pepperdine didn’t enjoy being at the receiving end of that shellacking.

  1. Gonzaga’s opening minute and fifty-one seconds might have been the best sub-two minute stretch that the Zags have ever put together against Pepperdine. An early 10-0 lead during that opening sequence ended the game before all the fans had even found their seats. That’s the best way to come out of a COVID-pause.
  2. Pepperdine wasn’t ready for how nasty Gonzaga’s defense could be. It they had any other coach I could comfortably say that the staff must have prepped their team, but when it comes to Lorenzo Romar, who could possibly say...
  3. Drew Timme found himself in the short corner with a guard defending him and opted to pass out into traffic rather than take his defender to school. That’s when you can throw the blinders on, my man!
  4. I say this just about every week in one of these things, but Hunter Sallis looks more and more confident in his role and he deserves that recognition. I’m sure he was hoping for a larger role at the start of the season, but the time he’s had to develop his feel for slashing off the ball and focus on his defensive game will serve him for the rest of his career when he’s back in the lead guard role.
  5. Timme and Watson each had two fouls with six minutes left in the first half. I don’t mind continuing to play either one of them with “foul trouble” in that scenario, considering the Zags already had a 20+ point lead at that point and there was a very likelihood they would have to play much in the second half (I also hate that coaches auto-bench guys with two fouls in the first and/or an early third foul in the second half), but I would have liked to see Chet playing with Ben Gregg or Kaden Perry just to serve my own curiosity.
  6. The Zags romped their way to an easy 63 points in the first half. 63! They cut through Pepperdine’s “defense” like a hot knife through butter. What a treat to watch, and I’m sure this performance will go down in Romar’s coaching lowlights.
  7. Now this is the Andrew Nembhard who’s a point guard maestro. Some of the passes he dropped in this game were absurd. The combination of vision, feel, and timing yield passes that most people can’t see and pull off.
  8. Anton Watson’s switching hands mid-drive and finishing opposite handed now? That’s a man whose confidence is sky high. I think this guy is here to stay.
  9. Shoutout to Martynas Arlauskas with the nice board and put back with 5 minutes left in the game. Watching Timme going nuts on the bench for his buddy every time he makes a shot is always highly entertaining, and the embodiment of how much these guys care about one another.
  10. It’s nice to have Gonzaga basketball back. It truly felt like it had been ages since we last had a game to watch and discuss together. These are tenuous time out there, my friends. Stay safe and be kind to one another.