I don’t know if it was the Gonzaga student body not being there for Christmas break but Gonzaga’s offense wasn’t very crisp in the first half. That quickly changed in the second half. It’d just be nice for Gonzaga to start jumping out to early leads in these non-conference buy matchups.
Anyways, I’m being picky. Anton Watson was a machine against Jackson State in the win tonight, no surprise there. The senior put up triple-double-esque numbers with 10 points on 4-9 FG and 1-1 3PT, 8 rebounds, 6 assists, 2 steals, 1 block. Plus, the Spokane native moved up to second all-time in Gonzaga steals with 179 total in his illustrious career (right behind another Spokane legend named John Stockton who stands alone with 262 steals total). And put Jordan O’Neal on a poster. Look out below.
Four other Zags scored in double figures along with Watson (Graham Ike - 22 points, 11 rebounds, 1 block; Nolan Hickman - 18 points, 3 assists; Braden Huff - 17 points, 9 rebounds, 2 blocks; Ryan Nembhard - 11 points, 6 assists, 5 rebounds).
This felt like a great opportunity for more Jun Seok Yeo minutes as the Zags still have San Diego State and then Kentucky on the horizon. This team needs more help off the bench going forward due to the injuries and the South Korean looks to be the x-factor in those specific matchups. If he can get on the floor more.
Tonight’s win over Jackson State could be a sneaky win for Gonzaga over Mo Williams and his Tigers in the NCAA Tournament seeding. The former NBA champion has Jackson State gradually improving since he’s stepped onto campus and looks like a contender for the SWAC championship. You definitely noticed that in the first half and the Tigers looks much better than the two other SWAC programs that came to Spokane this season (Arkansas-Pine Bluff, Mississippi Valley State).
My Christmas wish from the backcourt is consistency on a game-by-game basis, especially from the three-point mark. Another tough shooting performance tonight for the Zags going 5-18 3PT (27.8 3PT%). From the frontcourt, more aggressiveness down-low defensively. No time than the present to stop playing soft.
I hope you all have a happy holidays. The Zags are back at it on December 29th against San Diego State at 6 PM PT on ESPN2.
Arden Cravalho is a Gonzaga University graduate from the Bay Area... Follow him on Twitter @a_cravalho