Killian Tillie was at his best with an excellent all-around performance that included 22 points (9-11 FG), 8 rebounds, and 4 blocks. Gonzaga had six players score in double figures, including all five starters. Corey Kispert (16 points, 5 rebounds), and Filip Petrusev (15 points, 6 rebounds) looked strong all night long, even though the latter was a game time decision after spraining his ankle against BYU one week ago. Pacific’s Jahlil Tripp scored 21 points in the loss.
Gonzaga benefited from some extra rest this week with this game being the only one on its calendar.
The Bulldogs looked fresh and seized control early, pushing the pace to its preferred tempo and establishing early offensive rhythm. The Zags converted five of their first six field goals to take an 11-4 lead which prompted Pacific’s Damon Stoudamire to call an early timeout before the first media break. That timeout didn’t cool off the Gonzaga flamethrowers as the hosts continued to torch the Pacific defense and quickly doubled up the visitors halfway through the first half with a 30-15 lead.
The Tigers and Zags traded mini-runs for the remainder of the first half, but Gonzaga was firmly in control. Tillie, in particular, was electric in the first half as he lit up the scoreboard with a near-perfect first half that saw him post 17 points on 7-8 shooting from the field (3-3 from the three-point line) including a thunderous one-handed dunk that brought The Kennel off its feet.
Gonzaga didn’t take its foot off the pedal in the second half, getting off to another quick start to extinguish any hope the Tigers may have had for a possible comeback.
After Tillie and Petrusev landed a lot of body blows to the Pacific defense in the first half, Kispert and Ayayi tagged in for the second half to finish the job. The pair wreaked havoc on the opposing defense, getting into the lane with relative ease to expand Gonzaga’s lead.
Pacific simply didn’t have enough firepower alongside Jahlil Tripp to combat Gonzaga’s improving defense and keep pace with its efficient offensive machine.
While the Zags may have lost their #1 ranking, to no fault of their own, they are doing all they can to show the voters that they are still the best team in the country. If they keep playing like this, the voters might just reconsider their position.