clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Gonzaga Fails to Get Their First Quad 1 Victory of the Season After Losing to UConn, 76-63

The Zags have yet to get that true signature victory of the season.

Continental Tire Seattle Tip-Off - Connecticut v Gonzaga Photo by Conor Courtney/Getty Images

The better team won in Seattle, easy to tell. UConn looks like they could repeat it all. Dan Hurley has both one of the best starting units in the country and are one of the deepest teams you’ll find as well.

The Huskies have a much more fluid, concise offense. They continue to share the ball and act as more of a unit than the Zags (16-5 in total assists in favor of UConn, that’s ugly). It sounds bad when it comes out my mouth but something is missing chemistry wise, I don’t know exactly what. No one knows who the go-to guy is for Gonzaga (It continues to look like Anton Watson who finished with a team-high 20 points on 6-15 FG, 1-2 3PT, 7-9 FT). The Zags can be passive at times which leads to more questionable shot selection from others on offense.

In this specific matchup, I expected our frontcourt defense to have a tough time with Donavan Clingan (21 points on 8-11 FG and 5-7 FT, 8 rebounds, 3 assists, 2 blocks, 1 steal) down low. Just like Zach Edey in Maui, Clingan forces similar problems for Ike in the post. Where was Graham Ike? He was non-existent, scoring both his second lowest point and rebounding totals of the season (5 points and 5 rebounds). Everyone has to do their job and contribute when your team is this limited with the rotation.

The biggest takeaway after Gonzaga’s performance and Luka Krajnovic going down in shootaround (out for 4-6 weeks with a broken hand), Gonzaga has a major depth problem in the backcourt. It’s tiresome when three of your five starters play 37+ minutes (Ryan Nembhard - 40, Hickman - 39, Stromer - 37 against UConn). Jun Seok Yeo only clocked 2 minutes and I wanted to see more from him late. He needs to be more part of the rotation in the bigger matchups (like San Diego State after Christmas and Kentucky in February) going forward now.

As for the three-point shooting, it’s been extremely hard to watch recently. Over the last three games as a a team (a 1-2 record through that stretch), Gonzaga has shot 12-54 3PT (22.2 3PT%). You aren’t going to win many basketball games that way in this era of the game. Dusty Stromer (29.5 3PT% on the season) and Ryan Nembhard (18.8 3PT%) have been struggling the most. The Gonzaga big men have been shooting better and more consistently from deep than the guards on this squad which is a very unique yet unacceptable situation.

It may be Christmas break for Gonzaga but no days off. Time to get back to the drawing board and welcome the last SWAC team to the Kennel this season. Jackson State comes into town on Wednesday at 6 PM PT on ESPN+. The Zags are 5-0 at McCarthey Athletic Center to start the 2023-2024 campaign.

Arden Cravalho is a Gonzaga University graduate from the Bay Area... Follow him on Twitter @a_cravalho