Not what Gonzaga (15-5, 6-1) fans expected against the the worst team in the West Coast Conference. This should’ve been a beatdown of Pacific (6-16, 0-7) but it didn’t seem like a whole of fluidity in offense was visible. The Zags only finished with 9 assists on 28 made field goals while turning over the ball 12 times which lead to 16 points off turnovers for the Tigers.
I mean, trailing at the half to Pacific? What is going on here? If it wasn’t for Graham Ike’s 18 points in the second half, we would be looking at Gonzaga in a whole different light. He struggled with foul issues and sat for most of the first half. Ike has been been playing extremely well coming out of the halftime locker room in the past couple of contests. He was the real bright spot to take away from the victory against the Tigers (if any).
The key coming into the game was to slow down Pacific’s top facilitator in Moe Odum and Gonzaga had trouble doing so. He finished with 12 points and six assists but did turn it over 5 times. Odum was the anchor behind their offense and was the reason this matchup was so close besides for what seemed like a lack of motivation from the Zags.
Nolan Hickman (19 points on 5-10 FG, 3-8 3PT, 6-6 FT with 4 assists, 3 rebounds, 2 steals) has been the purest and most reliable scorer when it comes his decision-making/shot selection in the past couple of weeks. His high percentage looks against the Tigers really stood out (and especially his consistency at the free throw line which is still a problem for the team as a whole who finished 18-26 FT for 69.2%). His growth from year two and year three continues to look like two completely different players in thanks to his position change.
A major congratulations are in order for Ryan Nembhard who joins the 1,000 point club after two seasons with Creighton and currently in his first season with Gonzaga. A lot more points are on the way.
It’s an extremely important week for the Zags with matchups against Loyola Marymount and Saint Mary’s coming up. Must win opportunities for the Zags, no excuses. The March Madness streak depends on it.
Arden Cravalho is a Gonzaga University graduate from the Bay Area... Follow him on Twitter @a_cravalho