clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

10 Observations from Gonzaga’s win over USF


NCAA Basketball: Gonzaga at San Francisco D. Ross Cameron-USA TODAY Sports

That was the USF team that boat raced a ranked Arizona State team by 37 points two weeks ago. I don’t know how the Dons managed to lose their first two games of conference play, but I think the team that Gonzaga saw on Thursday night is the team the Dons really are.

  1. Rasir Bolton, have a night! It has, surprisingly, been an up and down season for Bolton so it was especially satisfying to see him come up with so many big shots and vital plays down the stretch. And, of course, the biggest play of all in the dying seconds. What a thrilling way to put an punctuation mark on a big night for the senior guard.
  2. USF did a nice job of defending the post in the first half and committed to shading the whole defense towards defending the paint, but Gonzaga also made things a little too easy by settling for outside jumpers.
  3. Drew Timme has been on such an efficient tear over the last month that it was jarring to see him struggling to finish in this game. USF made him work hard in this one at both ends of the floor which may have depleted his tank, but even the great ones have an off night.
  4. In the first half of the game we could see all the reasons why Gonzaga’s defense was only ranked 63rd in defensive efficiency going into the game. Biting on fakes, late rotations, bizarre switches, closeouts, and a lack of effective ball pressure. When you add in poor rebounding, something the Zags have generally been good at this year, you get a first half where the defense coughed up 46 points to a team averaging only 74 ppg.
  5. Sometimes Khalil Shabazz just gets hot and there’s not much you can do about it. Of course, it didn’t help that Hunter Sallis picked up quick foul trouble in the first half and wasn’t available to step in to slow down Shabazz. In that scenario, I feel it would have been worth the risk to bring him back in. In any event, I’m going to miss watching Shabazz do his thing. He’s been a great WCC player.
  6. Gonzaga got dominated on the boards in the first half 26 to 11 (and 45 to 26 in the game) because USF had a great plan to gang rebound and also played with significantly greater effort. A 22 to 2 disparity in second chance points is unbelievable and should never happen to the Zags, particularly in the WCC.
  7. It was disappointing that Nolan Hickman didn’t rebound from his poor outing against Pepperdine with a strong performance in this one. He was better, I suppose, but that’s not saying much considering what he did against Pepperdine. I’m confident in his ability, but he’s searching for “it” at the moment.
  8. 9 fastbreak points in the for Gonzaga is a recipe for a bad time. The Zags aren’t quite good enough to get nothing out of their transition game, and you saw how much the offense struggled in the half court with Timme having an off night.
  9. The energy that Gonzaga played with at the start of the second half is the level they need to be at all the time. That they were able to come back so easily after flipping the switch only perpetuates their belief that they can keep getting away with it down the road. Not ideal.
  10. Shoutout to the Gonzaga fans in the gym. I give them credit for turning things around for the team in the second half and willing them to victory.