This is what a 1-versus-16 matchup is supposed to look like.
Gonzaga was absolutely dominant in every facet of the game against Fairleigh Dickinson and rolled to an easy win. Five Zags scored in double-figures, led by Rui Hachimura (21 points). It was a bounce-back game for Gonzaga, which entered the NCAA Tournament coming off a loss to Saint Mary’s.
Elyjah Williams and Mike Holloway Jr. led the way for the Knights with 10 points a piece.
The Zags returned to their high-scoring ways in Thursday’s game. Their defense stepped up too. In the WCC Tournament final, the Zags scored just 47 points; in the Round of 64, they gave up just 49 points.
From the very start it was clear that this would be a very lopsided match-up. Seven minutes into the game Gonzaga owned a plus-seven mark on the glass. Moments later, halfway through the first, Fairleigh Dickinson had committed more fouls (seven) than it had scored points (six).
Over the final 4:19 of the half the Zags went on a 19-0 run. Over the 20 minutes of the first half, the Knights scored just 17 points.
It was more of the same in the second half. Gonzaga led by as many as 42 points. At one point late in the game the Knights had 34 points, one fewer than the number of rebounds Gonzaga had at that time.
With five-and-a-half to play in the game the Zags emptied their bench, getting rarely used players like Joel Ayayi and Greg Foster, and walk on Jack Beach, some quality NCAA Tournament minutes.
With the win Thursday, the Zags are back in the Round of 32 for the 11th consecutive season. Gonzaga will face the winner of No. 8 Syracuse versus No. 9 Baylor on Saturday.