The Gonzaga Bulldogs easily dispatched the Lions of Arkansas Pine Bluff in a 110-60 win to move to 2-0 in the early days of this young season.
Filip Petrusev was nearly perfect from the field (9/10) en route to a career high 25 points to go along with 6 rebounds. Admon Gilder shook off early foul trouble to notch 15 points, as did Drew Timme, while Ryan Woolridge (14 points), Anton Watson (12 points), and Corey Kispert (10 points) all reached double figures as well. Joel Ayayi (8 points), Pavel Zakharov (6 points), and Martynas Arlauskas (5 points) rounded out the rest of the scoring for Gonzaga. In contrast to the six Zags who reached double figures, Shaun Doss was the only Arkansas Pine Bluff player to cross that threshold with 15 points.
Gonzaga used a balanced and unyielding offensive attack to pull away in the first half after the Golden Lions hung in through the first media timeout thanks to some hot shooting. Arkansas Pine Bluff cooled off quickly, but the Zags never did, as a huge flurry of points in the middle of the first half allowed them to establish a sizable lead they would not relinquish.
Petrusev dominated Arkansas Pine Bluff’s interior defense, regularly establishing prime position deep in the paint and finishing easily through contact. He wasn’t a man one show, however, as Woolridge and Watson each put together strong performances in the first half to help build Gonzaga’s lead. Woolridge, in particular, was quite impressive in running the offense while taking his opportunities off the bounce and in transition. For his part, Watson produced the game’s two biggest highlights with a spectacular steal/dunk combo and then a perfectly executed alley-oop from a baseline out of bounds play right at the buzzer to end the first half.
Despite taking a 56-30 lead into the locker room at halftime, the Zags didn’t let up in the second half, reaching the century mark with over five minutes left in the game and before Arkansas Pine Bluff even got to 50. Gonzaga’s defense improved over the course of the evening, sprinkling in some 2-3 zone defense to supplement its primary man-to-man scheme to frustrate the Golden Lions. The offense, on the other hand, was in midseason form as Gonzaga moved the ball well all evening and had success playing the inside-out game against an overmatched Arkansas Pine Bluff squad.
The evening also saw Mark Few play with a handful of different lineup combinations which could be useful down the road. Though the are only two games into the season, the Zags show all the right signs of moving in the right direction as they gear up for some big games later this month.