It’s nice for Gonzaga (8-2) to have this quick turnaround opportunity to get back in the win column after falling to Washington only under 48 hours before. Mississippi Valley State (0-10) was as advertised, ranking dead last in KenPom at #352. Rayquan Brown finished with 19 points and 9 rebounds and was the only Delta Devil who scored more than 5 points.
Graham Ike led the charge with 13 points on 5-6 FG and snagged 8 rebounds for the Zags. He was the main reason the Zags won the rebounding battle 42-33. Ike also forced many of the Delta Devils into bad looks (Mississippi Valley State shot an awful 29.1 FG%).
After only playing 4 minutes against Washington due to foul trouble, Braden Huff recovered and contributed 17 point on 7-9 FG to go along with his 4 rebounds, 3 steals, and 1 block off the bench against Mississippi Valley State. A great sign as the Zags will need all the production they can get out of their limited bench against a talented and deep UConn squad.
One downside to this victory was the way that Gonzaga was shooting from deep. A mere 5-24 3PT (20.8 3PT%) will not cut it against the reigning national champions. The looks are there for the Zags, it’s just about getting it to fall now. Dusty Stromer specifically needs to get out of his shooting slump and fast. The freshman is 2-11 from the field and 1-9 from deep over his last two games. He’s the x-factor heading into Friday’s Battle in Seattle matchup on ESPN2 at 7 PM PT.
It will be the first matchup between Gonzaga and UConn since the Huskies rolled over the Zags in the Elite Eight last March, 82-54. Revenge is on the mind.
Arden Cravalho is a Gonzaga University graduate from the Bay Area... Follow him on Twitter @a_cravalho