The no.1 Gonzaga Bulldogs opened the new NCAA season furiously, beating the no.6 Kansas Jayhawks, 102-90.
The Bulldogs were brutal in the offense, keeping a fantastic pace throughout the entire event. They had three players with 20 or more points, and all of them stepped up in different periods, picking up where the previous one stopped.
Even though the Jayhawks tied the game twice in the second half, erasing a double-digit minus from the first half, they didn’t have enough power to restrain the top candidate for the title.
Drew Timme had 25 points, Jalen Suggs one fewer, and Corey Kispert 23. Kispert was the one who was leading the Zags in the first part of the game, recording 17 points. Suggs had foul troubles in the opening 20 minutes, but in the second sequence, the prolific point guard was unstoppable with 17 buckets.
Suggs also had 8 assists and 4 rebounds, carrying his team calmly on the decisive possessions. Drew Timme was unreal offensively, shooting 11-for-15 from the field and grabbing 6 boards with two steals. Joel Ayayi had a solid contribution with 15 points and nine boards.
Gonzaga increased the tempo midway through the first half, once they pulled away to 29-15. As time went by, the Jayhawks were making runs decreasing the advantage, and allowing the Zags to run away again. Shortly following the start of the second half, Kansas tied the game at 56-all, and they got close with 10:20 to go, 71-72, but those were their finals tries.
From that moment on, the Bulldogs went on a 22-7 run, to close the match and post the first win of the year. Not only that, Mark Few’s boys sent a statement, outclassing one of the best teams in the competition.
Kansas had two players who had the solution for the rivals, but they couldn’t make a difference. Marcus Garrett scored 22 points, with only two misses in nine tries from the field, while Ochai Agbaji had 17 points and four assists. His early fouls prevented him from generating even better numbers. Bryce Thompson was solid off the bench with 12 points and two steals, in 28 minutes.
Gonzaga had the edge in rebounds, 33-24, and they produced 62 points from the paint, the most that one team did against the Jayhawks in the previous 15 seasons.-->
Up next, Zaga faces Auburn Tigers tomorrow, while Kansas meets Saint Joseph’s Hawks also on Friday.