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10 Observations from Gonzaga’s win over LMU


NCAA Basketball: Brigham Young at Gonzaga James Snook-USA TODAY Sports

Now that was a revenge game. That should discourage other WCC teams from thinking about beating Gonzaga. The reward? A perfect game from Gonzaga and an embarrassing beatdown in front of your sold out home crowd.

  1. I want to see the first half version of the Gonzaga Bulldogs every night for the rest of the season. Too much to ask for? Perhaps, but now we’ve seen what this team can look like when every player plays like their best self and the team defends together. It’s a fun squad that can dismantle opposing teams.
  2. For the Lions to replicate their win over Gonzaga they had to control the boards and control the tempo. They did neither. Gonzaga dominated every aspect of the game in the opening minutes and set the tone for the rest of the night. It feels like it has been awhile since Gonzaga asserted itself like that, and it was refreshing to see.
  3. This had to be one of LMU’s best crowds in years. It was great to see for a program that appears to be on the rise and could use a resurgence. Unfortunately for the Lions, they didn’t look ready for the moment and the pressure that comes with it. The team has to keep winning, of course, but the trick for LMU is to figure out how to build that atmosphere for the non-Gonzaga games and sustain that enthusiasm over a long period of time.
  4. Gonzaga raced out to a 21-4 lead in the first five and a half minutes of the game without Drew Timme even attempting a shot or free throw and completed the first half domination with Timme contributing only two points. It was pretty evident that the entire Gonzaga team has been waiting for this game to turn up on the calendar for four weeks, and no one squandered the revenge opportunity.
  5. Julian Strawther might have been the hottest man on the planet in the first half. He hit his season average of 14 points in the first 8 minutes of the game while almost singlehandedly silencing a sold out crowd, and finished with 22 points in the half. Incredibly enough, that still didn’t come close to the torch shows that Dan Dickau (34 points in a half) and Adam Morrison (37 points in a half) put on LMU once upon a time. What a phenomenal Gonzaga tradition.
  6. The only thing to nitpick about the first half was the bevy of fouls picked up by the frontline. LMU got to enjoy the bonus midway through the first half, but I appreciate the physicality and aggressiveness that Gonzaga was playing with and the foul trouble was a worthwhile tradeoff for the team playing with that mentality.
  7. Rick Issanza’s length gave Gonzaga fits in the first game between these teams, but his impact wasn’t felt in this game. The Zags feasted with 8-10 foot floaters and, of course, were red hot from the three-point line. When the offense is scoring with that level of efficiency away from the restricted circle, Issanza’s size isn’t doing much for you. And it wasn’t like the Zags were shying away from challenging Issanza. They went inside and right at him on multiple occasions without any fear.
  8. I can’t remember the last time I saw someone convert multiple 4-point plays in a single game. What a night for Strawther.
  9. Phenomenal effort by Gonzaga’s defense to deny Cam Shelton and the rest of the Lions any daylight or relief. The pressure was ratcheted up to 100 and nothing came easy for LMU. That’s how I want to see this team defend every game. The on-ball pressure came with high energy, and the defensive rotations were as good as we’ve seen all season. They let up on that defensive pressure in the second half, but the
  10. The Zags only scored 67 points in the loss to LMU in the Kennel. They scored 68 points in the first half. Perfect revenge game symmetry.