The Gonzaga Bulldogs traveled to the eyes of Texas and found themselves a bad time. The Longhorns avenged last season’s loss to the Bulldogs in Spokane with their own blowout victory that put a bow on celebrating their brand new arena.
If you watch a lot of Gonzaga basketball, and I’m assuming you do since you are reading this website, you likely didn’t recognize the team that took the floor tonight in black jerseys (don’t get me started with the black jersey curse again) that read ZAGS across the chest. The Zags struggled mightily on both ends of the floor. The free-flowing and beautiful offenses that we’ve come to know and love over the last few years hasn’t been seen yet. Three games into the season, and having suffered the program’s biggest loss in 12 years, there are more questions than answers about this Gonzaga team.
Texas’ Tyrese Hunter scored a career high 26 points punctuated with five made 3-pointers in only 26 minutes of play. His backcourt mate, Marcus Carr, added 16 to help pace the Longhorns who blew the doors off the game from the three-point line in an uncharacteristically strong performance from long distance for their team. Drew Timme led the Zags with 18 points and 8 rebounds.
The first half started out decently enough for the Zags who got out of the blocks to a 10-3 lead in the first four minutes. But then the turnovers started. Some came under the pressure of the Longhorns’ defense, but many were unforced with the Zags committing a litany of poor errors.
Gifted with extra possessions and likely feeling some extra juice from the energy that comes with a marquee matchup in a brand new arena, Texas exploded from the three-point line. The Longhorns matched their season total of threes (7) in just the first half and at a much better conversion rate to boot.
If you can believe it, the second half got even worse for Gonzaga as the Longhorns reached unconscious status from the perimeter with four more threes inside the first four minutes to stretch their lead to 19 points. It was blowout city from there as Gonzaga struggled to find answers on either offense or defense while Texas’ confidence hit an all-time high on a basketball court.
The Zags are going to find the film review of this game horrifying to watch with breakdowns happening on nearly every defensive possession. Hopefully, out of that misery, some learning will happen because if this game told us anything, it’s that there is a lot of work ahead for this team.