In the prelim for Saturday nights main event, Gonzaga coasted past San Diego 97-72. Gonzaga was led by Drew Timme’s 22 points and 13 rebounds (8 offensive), Ben Gregg chipped in an impressive 18 points and Rasir Bolton and Malachi Smith emptied the RCKid21’s wallet with 10 assists, seven and three respectively while Nolan Hickman added five assists without a turnover. For San Diego, Jase Townsend led them in scoring with 15 points and Marcellus Earlington had 5 rebounds.
In the bizarre stat of the night, USD only shot two free throws for the entire game. Most impressive stat, Gonzaga had 18 offensive rebounds
In what felt like would be a low energy contest with a quiet crowd, Gonzaga opened the floodgates in the last eight minutes of the first half to drop 48 points to the Toreros 31.
Gonzaga started slowly seemingly bothered by USD’s zone defense, but the Gonzaga ¾-court press forced a couple of turnovers and helped lead to a couple of Torero shot clock violations.
Who wasn’t slow tonight were Drew Timme, Ben Gregg and Anton Watson. Timme scored 14 first half points with an impressive seven offense rebounds. He sat the last four minutes of the half but Ben Gregg took his place on the floor and in stat sheet. Ben dropped 11 in the half off 4-4 from the field including a trey, 2 for 3 from the line and four rebounds. Watson’s eight points included an alley oop and a one-handed hammer dunk both assisted by Bolton.
San Diego committed an eye-popping 13 first half fouls.
Like most February games essentially over in the 1st half, Gonzaga took control and cruised through the second half. Early highlights included Anton Watson hitting Timme with an impressive wrap around pass followed on the next play by a sweet bounce pass by Timme to Bolton. Strawther also hit back-to-back NBA range three-pointers. Timme grabbed six more rebounds and then took a seat for the last 10 minutes.
The bench emptied starting with a little over five minutes left and the Zags had several attempts to hit 100. Better to see Dom Harris get several minutes of run, Colby Brooks show his skills and Abe Eagle play than hit triple digits.
ESPN’s Gameday St. Mary’s at Gonzaga contest starts at 7:00 p.m. on ESPN,