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Gonzaga knocks off LMU for 87-62 road win

A strong second half allowed the Bulldogs to cap off a strong weekend in Southern California.

NCAA Basketball: Gonzaga at Loyola Marymount Robert Hanashiro-USA TODAY Sports

The Gonzaga Bulldogs extended their conference road winning streak to 35 games with an 87-62 victory in LA over the Loyola Marymount Lions.

Gonzaga had five players score in double figures. Filip Petrusev scored a team high 16 points and 7 rebounds, while Corey Kispert scored 11 of his 15 points in a strong second half. Ryan Woolridge put together another rock solid outing with 13 points, 6 rebounds, and 5 assists. Admon Gilder chipped in 12 points, while Drew Timme rounded it out with 10 points. Killian Tillie finished the afternoon with 8 points, 6 rebounds, and 4 assists, while Will Graves closed out the game with a three-ball for the second consecutive outing.

Eli Scott did a lot of heavy lifting for an offensively challenged LMU squad, finishing the game with 20 points on 9-13 shooting from the field to go along with 5 rebounds.

No songs will be sung about the play in this game, and there probably won’t be many highlights cut for a hype reel either. LMU knows full well that it can’t get into a track meet with the Zags, and so, we’re often treated to a slog of a game when we see the Lions (already one of the slowest teams in the country in terms of tempo) and that was once again true of this affair.

The Lions played their plodding basketball, but didn’t find much success against a Gonzaga defense that played with greater focus in this Southern California swing than it had in recent weeks. Without a dynamic guard in the vein of the departed James Batemon, Mike Dunlap’s offense lacks a creative force that can stress opposing defenses and is heavily dependent on its undersized forwards to score inside of 10 feet.

While the Zags didn’t find it too difficult to put the defensive clamps on LMU, they were forced out of their comfort zone at the other end of the floor. Gonzaga’s transition opportunities were very limited—though that didn’t stop them from trying to manufacture some at times—and the quick strike offense that has been on display for much of the season was parked in the hangar. That allowed LMU to hang around for a long time despite the gulf in talent between the teams, though it never felt like the outcome was in question.

It almost certainly wasn’t the most fun game to play in for the Zags, but there’s certainly value to be extracted from being forced to play a patient basketball game for 40 minutes, The Zags got a lot of practice running their halfcourt offense which they’ll need to be able to execute against varying styles of play for the NCAA Tournament. With valuable reps in the bank and another win under their belt, it was a successful weekend in Southern California.