The Zags' frontcourt outmaneuvered less-experienced Huskie bigs in Gonzaga's easy 80-64 victory over Washington.
Here's your reminder that if you don't stop the Gonzaga bigs you're not going to have a good time. Despite the fact that Washington fired off 78 shots compared to 48 for Gonzaga, the Bulldogs were just leaps and bounds more efficient and under control on the offensive end where they shot 50 percent from the floor.
Damontas Sabonis muscled his way up, around and through the Huskies' forwards on his way to scoring 13 points in the first half and 17 in the gae., Kyle Wiltjer worked around the bucket and found his way to the charity stripe consistently, finishing with 13 points in the first 20 minutes and 24 points and 11 rebounds in the game.
Offensive boards and Gonzaga turnovers helped keep the Huskies in the game in the second half. Malik Dime in particular had 9 offensive rebounds. Washington tried to use its athleticism and quickness to press and keep Gonzaga out of rhythm in its set offenses. The Washington defense got after it a bit more on defense in the second half to cut the lead to 70-59 with under three minutes to go , but it just wasn't enough to pull close to the more-talented Zags.
A 44-27 halftime lead was partially due to 7-34 shooting from a Huskies' team that looked rushed and lost on offense, but that's not to discredit the nice effort defensively from the Zags. Andrew Andrews had an atrocious first half from the floor, going 0-8 but still managed to knock down 9 free throws. He and Dejounte Murray finished as the Huskies' leading scorers with 21 points each. Still underestimating what these new rules are doing to the game? Can't play with your hands on the man with the ball and get away with it these days. That, and Coach Lorenzo Romar's team took more than a few shots that would make any observer mutter "ugh, why?"
This one from Slipper Still Fits discusses how this Apple State rivalry needs to come back. This was the first time since 2006 that the two squads had faced off. Next time, more folks in the northwest will be hoping its with a more experienced Washington team so that this is actually a game. The Huskies, who lost their first game today, are talented enough to cause some problems in the PAC-12 this season, so be on the look out for them. The offensive efficiency will just have to come a long way.
The Zags play the winner of Wednesday evening's game between Texas and Texas A&M in the semifinals of the Battle 4 Atlantis.