The Gonzaga express continues to run at full speed as they ran over Bryant by a score of 109-70. The Zags continued their balanced offensive attack with five players scoring in double figures led by the frontcourt trio of Przemek Karnowski, Johnathan Williams, and Zach Collins who combined for 60 points. Josh Perkins chipped in with 18 points including a handful of deep threes.
Gonzaga took advantage of its significant size advantage early and often, wasting no time getting the ball to Karnowski in the post as he kicked off the contest with 4 points in the first minute. Bryant had no answer for Karnowski in the post as he scored at will when left one-on-one, and easily passed out of double teams to set up open teammates on the perimeter or on the opposite block.
Bryant, however, was able to just hang around in the first half thanks to excellent shooting, hitting 53.6% of their shots, including 5-8 from the three-point line. Much of the damage done by Bryant came from freshman guard Adam Grant who hit 4-5 three-point attempts en route to 15 points in the opening 20 minutes.
While the Zags employed a 3/4 court press defense which helped them collect 14 turnovers in the 1st, the coaching staff will almost certainly be working on tightening up the defensive pressure before the Zags head to Florida for the Advocare Invitational next week. Gonzaga’s defense was better in the second half, but overall, there were too many moments when Bryant players had uncontested jump shots.
Considering Gonzaga’s significant size and athletic advantage, it was no surprise they enjoyed a significant free throw advantage. But, I don’t think anyone was expecting 45 free throw attempts in a single game as the free throw line parade got started just 4 minutes into the second half when Gonzaga hit the bonus.
It wasn’t just Bryant though who got hit with a repeated whistle, as Killian Tillie and Zach Collins found themselves in foul trouble for most of the game. The freshmen got hit with a couple of cheap fouls that they’ll learn to avoid as they gain experience. The limited minutes didn’t mean limited impact as Collins still notched 18 points and 6 rebounds while showcasing his very impressive post game.
While Collins continues to impress, the co-players of this game would have to be Karnowski and Williams. The Mizzou transfer in particular battled through some of the same struggles that plagued him in the team’s first two games in the opening stanzas of this contest, but came alive as the game wore showing his best crashing the offensive boards and finishing second chance opportunities—he even hit a pair of threes. Williams would finish with 20 points and 8 rebounds.
Karnowski shined all night on his way to 22 easy points as he dominated Bryant’s big men on both ends of the floor. Most significantly, he showed his leadership skills throughout the game, marshaling the defense and ensuring his teammates were positioned properly. With Mark Few not expecting Karnowski to reach 100% in terms of his basketball conditioning until January, we can only anticipate that his impact will continue to grow as the season matures.