Top-ranked Gonzaga is building momentum and looking for his 20th consecutive win dating back to last season when he visits San Diego in the West Coast Conference game on Thursday night.
The Bulldogs (15-0, 6-0 WCC) have won nine games this season by 20 or more points, including eight of their last 11. It appears to add to that loss total against the Toreros (2-6, 1- 3), who normally don’t do well against Gonzaga.
The Bulldogs have won the last 12 games, 23 of the last 24 and 45 of the last 48.
And Gonzaga looks stronger coming into this encounter after beating the Pacific visit 95-49 on Saturday. The 46-point margin was the largest of the season, beating a 112-67 loss to Dixie State on December 29.
The Bulldogs jumped to a 34-8 lead in the first 10 minutes and were never threatened as they held the Tigers to 27.9 percent shooting from the field.
The outing was more of what Gonzaga’s coach, Mark Few, was looking to see. He wasn’t overly excited about the previous two games: a 95-70 home win against Pepperdine and a 73-59 road win over Saint Mary’s.
“We challenged them a bit,” Few said. “We let our guard down in both games.”
Drew Timme was in his game against Pacific when he scored 22 points on 8 of 11 shots. Has scored 20 or more in three of the last four games.
“I thought Drew was pretty scarred,” Few said of the performance. “He gave a great effort in defense.”
Timme is shooting 61.2 percent from the field and ranks second on the team in both scoring (18.5 points per game) and rebounding (6.9).
Corey Kispert leads Gonzaga in scoring (20.6) and 3-point baskets (47). He has made a magnificent 49 percent of his shots from behind the arc.
Jalen Suggs (13.9) and Joel Ayayi (12.5) also average in double digits for a team that leads the nation with 94.4 points per game. Ayayi has an average of 7.5 leading boards on the team.
That kind of firepower is hard to match for the Toreros, who are averaging 65.4 points during a season in which they have experienced two 14-day quarantines due to COVID-19 issues.
San Diego posted its highest scoring production of the season with Saturday’s 78-70 road win over Portland. He ended a streak in which he scored fewer than 70 in four straight games, all losses.
Josh Parrish was the star against the Pilots with a season-high 20 points on 9-of-11 shooting. He also matched the season’s best of eight rebounds.
Parrish is averaging 11.9 points per game, second in the Toreros behind Joey Calcaterra (14.7).
It has been a difficult season for San Diego due to isolation breaks, one delaying the start of the season and the other after the first of the year. The Toreros also canceled three straight games just before Christmas.
San Diego is now trying to make up for the postponements as the game against Gonzaga begins a streak in which he plays eight games in 17 days.
“We all know this has been a season like no other,” Parrish recently told the San Diego Union-Tribune. “It makes it a little more difficult. A lot more difficult. At the same time, it makes you feel grateful every day that you can get back on the basketball court. You are much hungrier. You have a much more desired focus.”
–Field level media
Eddie is an Australian news reporter with over 9 years in the industry and has published on Forbes and tech crunch.