In a sloppy game that looked to be nothing special until Chet Holmgren had a Reggie Miller-like 1:38 of play, Gonzaga defeated the San Diego Toreros 92 - 62. Gonzaga was led by Holmgren with 23 points, 12 rebounds and 4 blocks. Andrew Nembhard had 14 points and 7 assists against one turnover. The Toreros were led by Jase Townsend with 13 points and fifth-year, Pitt transfer big Terrell Brown with 12 rebounds and three blocks.
The game would gone down on the schedule as a ho-hum, slog with Gonzaga toughing out a win if it wasn’t for incredible bursts in both halves by Chet Holmgren. After an extended time on the bench, Holmgren dominated the last 5 minutes of the first half starting with a spectacular one-handed grab of a lob for a dunk. He followed that up with another lob dunk next dribbling the length of the court for a left-handed lay-up.
If that wasn’t impressive enough, his 98 second burst in the second half was just jaw-dropping. He had three 3-pointers, a lay-up, a blocked shot and a rebound. He was cool confident and made it look effortless. I won’t say he cemented his place as the #1 overall draft pick, but a two-minute clip is about to go viral on YouTube.
The game started out pretty sloppy. I was sort of surprised to see San Diego having the confidence to go toe-to-toe with Gonzaga and not keep the ball until late in the shot clock. You could see the Torero coach Sam Scholl has instilled some confidence in the WCC’s third place team. In fact, San Diego started the second half hitting three 3-pointer (both teams were a combined 1 for 10 from deep in the first half), cutting the lead to nine. Gonzaga immediately fought back with Holmgren completing a three-point play, a Bolton steal and dunk followed by a Nembhard turnaround brought the lead back to 16.
Shortly thereafter Holmgren had his eruption building the lead to 25 and that was that.
Some other notes for the Zags; Anton Watson continued his string of strong performances with 11 points, 3 rebounds and 3 assists. Drew Timme struggled for the third straight game. He only shot 5 of 14 from the field for 13 points but did grab 8 boards. Gonzaga continues to excel at taking care of the ball as they dished out 17 assists against only 8 turnovers.
Gonzaga travel to Provo on Saturday to visit BYU, game starting at 7:00 p.m. on ESPN.