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10 Observations from Gonzaga’s win over Washington


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

This rivalry game is always fun, even if one-sided. Or, maybe, because it’s one-sided? Yea, that is probably it.

  1. Drew Timme: Defensive Ace? Hunter Sallis: Defensive Ace!
  2. The Zags turned the ball over six times in the FIRST THREE MINUTES and couldn’t buy a basket in the first 10 minutes of the game (1-10 FG, though they also didn’t do themselves any favors on some of the easy ones, looking at you, Malachi Smith, passing up Timme under the hoop on a fastbreak). I will never understand why guys get so flummoxed and skittish when they see a zone. It’s not that hard, as evidenced by the rest of the game. Decisiveness beats the zone. At least they figured it out sooner rather than later.
  3. Hunter Sallis is about to explode. He’s looked better game by game and is beating down the door for a spot in the starting lineup. Sallis can change the game with his defense. We’ve seen it several times now this season, and it feeds his confidence on the other end of the floor. It will be increasingly more difficult to keep him off the floor as Gonzaga adopts a more defensive approach to the game, which seems to be the formula the staff is going with (and which I embrace) based on the last few games.
  4. Rasir Bolton did a very nice job of moving the ball and finished the game with six assists, but it was another game where he struggled from the field. His 3PT% is still strong, but the level of consistency just hasn’t been there at all levels of the floor. Bolton struggled against Michigan State, Purdue, Baylor, and UW, but was phenomenal against Kentucky and solid in the remaining contests. It’s hard to know what he’ll produce on any given night, which is odd considering he’s one of Gonzaga’s most veteran players.
  5. Gonzaga’s defense carried it through the first half and kept the Huskies from building any sort of meaningful lead when the offense was riding the struggle bus over the first quarter of the game. The defense has looked much more encouraging over the last three games, and may be the stabilizing force to Gonzaga’s season.
  6. I was surprised to see Efton Reid on the floor in the first half. His usage over the last two weeks has been almost non-existent, and if we’re being fair, totally justified.
  7. Timme’s free throw shooting is officially a problem. It might be in his head at this point? His conversion rate is 10% below last season’s clip of 67.8%, which was already suboptimal, and living in the 50% range is untenable for someone who goes to the line as frequently as he does and on a team that is not humming offensively. Free throw shooting aside though, Timme played like a superstar in this game at both ends of the floor.
  8. Phenomenal job by Watson, Strawther, and even Timme on Keion Brooks. The Huskies needed a big night out of Brooks if they were going to have a real chance at beating Gonzaga, but the Zags kept him locked up all night.
  9. One of Washington’s keys to the game was defending the three-point line, surely. It is one of the things they do best, and was essential to their chances at beating Gonzaga. The Huskies succeeded on that front, limiting the Zags to 26.3% from the arc (went into the game shooting 38.6% from 3 on the season), but it didn’t even help them keep the game close. That’s a testament to Gonzaga’s execution in just about every other phase of the game.
  10. Win No. 664 moves Mark Few into a tie with John Wooden at 42nd on the all time men’s basketball coaches wins list. Just 538 more to go in order to tie Coach K...I’m pretty sure Few has no interest in sticking around long enough to approach that number so Coach K can rest easy.