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10 Observations from Gonzaga’s loss to Baylor


NCAA Basketball: Baylor at Gonzaga Steven Branscombe-USA TODAY Sports

Gonzaga had some good memories in Sioux Falls, South Dakota where they crushed a Luka Garza-led Iowa Hawkeyes at the Pentagon two years ago during the COVID season. This game was not like that one:

  1. For the second game in a row Drew Timme got off to a rough start. Timme was held to two points in the first half (on free throws), and didn’t make his first field goal until deep into the second half. The Zags, in their current state, aren’t really equipped to weather bad games from Timme. For Gonzaga to beat teams capable of getting to the second weekend of the NCAA Tournament, Timme will have to play like the National Player of the Year.
  2. Ben Gregg and Anton Watson put in the hard yards in this game. This game would not have been close if not for the herculean effort from those two. Gregg, in particular, has been a different guy since the second half of the Purdue game. Long may it continue.
  3. Malachi Smith brought the juice. This was easily his best performance of the season and came against one of the toughest defensive backcourts that Gonzaga will see this season. He played with great energy and was very active on defense. He’s going to get opportunities to score his points, but his level of play on the defensive end was important to see out of him.
  4. Opposing teams LOVE making contested 3’s against Gonzaga. I’m sick of it. When will it end? But seriously, I think the Zags did a fairly decent job defending the three-point line in this game only to see Baylor convert some tough shots. Sometimes all you can do is tip your cap.
  5. I can’t decide if Baylor’s defense was good or Gonzaga’s offense was just really bad. I’m leaning towards the latter. Right now, Gonzaga’s offense has no identity unless you consider turning the ball over an identity. That’s the most consistent aspect of that unit from game to game. Silver lining, for as many turnovers as Gonzaga coughed up (11 in the first half), Baylor didn’t really take advantage.
  6. Baylor employs a style of defense you can only get away with in college basketball. Play physical Foul on every play and assume the referees will swallow their whistles because they can’t/won’t call a foul on every possession. I guess give the Bears credit? They always make it a rock fight. Definitely give the Zags credit, because they beat the Bears at their own game.
  7. Keyonte George is a menace. I don’t enjoy watching Baylor’s brand of basketball (see above), but George is a fun player to watch. It’s a shame to have a Ferrari running with a bunch of bulldozers (Flagler excluded, he’s a hooper too).
  8. Considering how much trouble Gonzaga had with stopping Baylor’s penetration, and getting their own penetration on offense, this felt like a game that called for more Hunter Sallis in the gameplan.
  9. As frustrating as it was to watch many of Gonzaga’s offensive possessions in this game, they worked extremely hard on the offensive glass to manufacture more chances. The defensive effort was also some of the best we’ve seen out of the Zags this season. You cannot fault the effort, and the toughness showed up last night. This Gonzaga team has a lot of character.
  10. You can say what you want about how the game was refereed at the end (and I will), but free throws, turnovers, and late game execution were the true culprits in this one.

That was not a foul on Bridges at the end. Laughable.