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10 Observations from Gonzaga’s loss to Texas


NCAA Basketball: Gonzaga at Texas Scott Wachter-USA TODAY Sports

Not a lot of positives to takeaway from the game itself, so hopefully this loss functions as the proverbial wake-up call for a Gonzaga team struggling to find its groove to start the year.

  1. Drew Timme torched Texas for 37 points last season. It was no surprise to see Chris Beard try something different. Rather than lots of 1-on-1 defense, Timme saw a double or triple team nearly every time he touched the ball with the help coming from different angles and with varying delays to keep him off balance. He’s seen that coverage before, of course, but the cohesiveness in the offense isn’t what it was last season either and Texas wasn’t made to pay for committing so much attention to #2.
  2. Nolan Hickman opened the game like someone who was annoyed about the narrative surrounding Gonzaga’s backcourt. It’s good to see that dog in him. But it’s his responsibility to withstand the ball pressure and set Gonzaga’s offense up for success. That is the burden of being Gonzaga’s point guard. He did not do that consistently enough in this game, and now facing an ankle injury, his much-needed development may be stunted.
  3. Five turnovers from Gonzaga in the first nine minutes of the game—all of them were horrendous—and 20 (TWENTY!) in the game. The Zags were on their way to a quick start in the opening minutes before the spate of unforced errors ground things to a halt. There is nothing more annoying than throwing away possessions to keep the crowd in the game after a promising start. You can’t do that against good teams, and Texas made them pay.
  4. Two technicals in the first half from Gonzaga! Didn’t see that one coming. Hopefully we don’t see it again anytime soon.
  5. The Longhorns did not shoot the ball well from the three-point line in their first two games (19.7%). You wouldn’t know it from their first half performance (7-16, 43.8%). Gonzaga gave up 47 points in the first half to a team that plays at one of the slowest tempos in the country. That’s uhhh, not ideal. Yes, the Longhorns made some shots you would expect them to miss, but I didn’t see a lot of positive possessions from the GU defense in the opening 20 minutes.
  6. For the second game in a row the Zags got nothing out of their transition game. That is not part of the winning formula for this team.
  7. Efton Reid was benched after playing only 3 minutes in the first half in which he picked up two fouls and two turnovers. He didn’t re-enter the game until there were four minutes left and the outcome of the game had long been decided. I’m not mad about it. The fouls were a bit questionable, but Reid hasn’t put much on tape in the last two games that suggests he should be playing more. Hopefully he can get going.
  8. Gonzaga schemed its “defense” (term used very loosely for what we saw in this game) to stop Texas’ guard penetration. That conceded a lot of open looks to the Longhorns beyond the perimeter. A reasonable decision to make considering the Longhorns didn’t present as a threat from the arc going into this game, but once they got hot, there was no putting that genie back in the bottle.
  9. If you look at the box score you would think Gonzaga’s offense had a fairly decent night. The shooting numbers were solid, particularly from the three-point line, but it doesn’t match up with the eye test if you watch the game. Gonzaga’s offense is going to struggle until the guard play gets better.
  10. This Gonzaga team is still struggling to achieve Gonzaga basketball. The offensive actions look disjointed, plays are being forced, and everything just seems to be more difficult than we’e seen from recent GU squads at the start of the last few seasons. That’s a credit to Texas’ defense and Michigan State before it, but part of that is also a Gonzaga problem at the moment. Good news is that it’s only three games into the campaign. The bad news is Kentucky, the PK tournament, Baylor, and Alabama are on the near horizon. Development is going to need to happen quickly.