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Gonzaga stymies LMU in 76-46 win

The shorthanded Lions struggled to slow down a Gonzaga squad that is beginning to peak at the right time.

NCAA Basketball: Loyola Marymount at Gonzaga James Snook-USA TODAY Sports

The dominance displayed by the Gonzaga Bulldogs in Moraga last weekend carried over against a shorthanded LMU squad in a 30-point win in Spokane.

Five Bulldogs scored in double figures led by Corey Kispert off the bench with 14 points (5-7 FG). Johnathan Williams and Killian Tillie both posted 12 points, with Williams picking up his 5th consecutive double-double as he also recorded 13 rebounds. Silas Melson and Rui Hachimura both chipped in 10 points. Eli Scott was the only LMU player in double figures with 16 points in a losing effort.

The Zags raced out to a blistering 15-0 start that ended the game before the crowd could even settle into their seats. Each member of the starting lineup scored in that open salvo, including a trio of threes from Williams, Perkins, and Norvell. After taking a momentary break, the Bulldogs went on a 12-0 run late in the first half, highlighted by an electric steal and dunk in transition from Norvell, that stretched the lead to 31-7.

LMU had the look of a fighter that took a hard punch to the chin immediately after stepping into the ring and immediately wanted no part of the onslaught that was to come. With the late scratches of Steven Haney Jr. and James Batemon, the top two scorers for the Lions this year, offensive production was extremely difficult to come by for LMU.

The sizzle that permeated the first half took an extended halftime break and but reappear momentarily if only to allow Gonzaga to reel off another 15-0 run in the final 10-minute stretch of the game. With a large lead to work with and LMU struggling mightily to put the ball in the basket, the Zags were never threatened and the only question to consider was how large the final margin of victory would be.

Other than a concerning moment when Tillie took the knee of Eli Scott to the back of his head when diving for a loose ball, the Zags played a rather uneventful final 20 minutes. Fortunately, Tillie only missed a few minutes of action and even channeled the head bump into a pair of threes. I’m not endorsing head injuries, but maybe he should play mad more often?

Hachimura wasn’t quite at his automatic level finishing around the paint, but he was still highly effective at getting deep position which he used to draw a number of fouls from the LMU defenders who were running out of ideas on how to slow down the sophomore from Sendai.

While the Zags were taking part in a free throw parade thanks to LMU’s preference to send them to the line instead of giving them any more looks inside the three-point line, THE WAVE (of all things) made an unwelcome appearance around the bowels of The Kennel. Our favorite top-10 team is crushing it on the floor and the wave breaks out? This is why we can’t have nice things. Ban the wave.

Gonzaga will wrap up its home schedule on Saturday against Pepperdine when seniors Johnathan Williams and Silas Melson will play inside The Kennel for the final time.