Dominant but sloppy
After an inauspicious start, Gonzaga returned to their dominating ways defeating the Merrimack Wizards 80 – 55. Gonzaga was led by Drew Timme who scored 22 points on a perfect 8 for 8 from the field with Chet Holmgren adding 15 points, 15 rebounds and 4 blocks. Anton Watson also had an outstanding game with 9 points, 10 rebounds, a team leading 5 assists and 3 steals. Merrimack was led by Jordan Minor with 17 points and 7 rebounds.
As expected, Merrimack played a tough zone defense throughout the game and it gave the Zags problems in the first half. In the first three minutes, Gonzaga tried to attack the zone by shooting from deep but missed their first three attempts. Thankfully, they soon realized getting the ball to Drew Timme and letting him take advantage of Merrimack’s small front court was the best option.
Timme went was a perfect 7 for 7 in the first half to go with a perfect 6 for 6 from the line. We didn’t see too many, if any mustache strokes in this game as Timme took a more serious, workmanlike approach to the contest.
Three-point shooting struggles and turnovers plagued the Zags throughout the half as they finished 0 for 6 from deep with 8 turnovers against 8 assists.
The offense finally got uncorked to begin the second half. Holmgren and Strawther hit quick threes, the defense tightened up and the Zags were off and running scoring points and looking impressive in transition.
Gonzaga finished the game with a sloppy 17 turnovers, but the game got a bit chaotic throughout the second half as the lead went above 20 points. Gonzaga’s struggles from deep continue as they finished the game 5 for 22 (thanks Will Graves) for 23%.
With Sunday’s game against Washington cancelled, Gonzaga doesn’t play again until Saturday, December 18 against Texas Tech in Phoenix, Arizona. Gonzaga will have eight days to practice, take finals and recuperate before facing another KenPom top 15 opponent.