The Gonzaga Bulldogs continued their preparation for next week’s curtain raiser with a 101-70 win over the Warner Pacific Knights. After falling to Tennessee last Friday in Frisco, Texas (where Gonzaga also had other business that could shape the school’s future), the Zags returned to the comfort of The Kennel and returned to winning ways.
As he is likely to do a lot this season, Drew Timme led Gonzaga and all scorers on either team with an efficient 21 points (9-11 FG) in 21 minutes to go with 8 rebounds, 3 assists, and a block. Timme was joined in double figure scoring by Malachi Smith (16 points, 7-11 FG), Julian Strawther (13 points, 5-10), Nolan Hickman (11 points, 4-6 FG), and Efton Reid (10 points, 4-5 FG).
Gonzaga rolled out a starting lineup of Timme, Strawther, Hickman, Anton Watson, and Rasir Bolton though no one played more than 24 minutes.
I wouldn’t put much stock in exhibition performances or outcomes, though it is interesting that Gonzaga’s shooting percentages from the three point line and free throw line in both exhibitions were similarly poor—29% from 3 in both and 52% and 51.9% at the charity stripe.
Considering Rasir Bolton’s comments after the Tennessee exhibition that the Vols “were in a lot better shape than us,” and the second half drop off in both games, here’s hoping that Gonzaga maximized the game conditions in both exhibitions to get their conditioning right. After Monday’s opener against North Florida, the Zags won’t have the luxury of slowly finding their sea legs with games against Michigan State, Texas, and Kentucky on deck followed by the Phil Knight Invitational.
The season is finally here. The next time the ball goes up, the performances are going to matter. Let’s hope Gonzaga is ready to roll.