Sunday, January 7, 2018

No. 19 Gonzaga 85, Loyola Marymount 66: Williams' 30 points powers Zags to a 4-0 start in the WCC

Photo Credit: Devin Larkins

LOS ANGELES– The No. 19 Gonzaga Bulldogs (14-3, 4-0 WCC) handled their weekend in an 85-66 win over the Loyola Marymount Lions (5-10, 0-4) with the road team's fanbase making the trip from Spokane, WA.

In a home game for LMU, but with more Gonzaga fans filling the Gersten Pavilion stands, the Lions came ready to play. Steven Haney and James Batemon started the night nailing long range shots. Haney added another three-pointer, bringing the smaller of the crowds to an early half raucous.

The Lions used their team strength of rebounding and three-point shooting, which kept them in range down five points mid-way through the first half.

Haney continued to knock down long distance makes through the first half. and collected a total of 22 points, shooting an incredible 55 percent from three-point range.

Johnathan Williams kept the Zags in front and the crowd cheering with several first half dunks and finished with 18 points in the first half on 8-of-11 shooting. 
Williams continued to add points and rebounds seemingly at will. At one point snatching a rebound from the LMU players hands and finished with a game-high 30 points, to go along with 10 rebounds for a double-double.

“I was able to get some things going. Tried to just come out aggressively you know, tried to crash the boards and set a tone. I just gotta to be more consistent on the glass and also scoring. It was pretty really good to get game good and a win,” Williams said. “I was just facing up, I’m not going to back a 7’3 guy down. So I started using my face up skills and tried go past him.”  
"[Jonathan] is a tough matchup for everybody in the league because he can also stretch ya. He is interesting guy, he can take you of the block, he can pound you on the boards and he can shoot a three. So he is a hard matchup, not just for us but really for everybody," LMU coach Mike Dunlap said, “He is a pro and everybody knows it.” 

Long distance shooting would be the catalyst for the Lions in the first half making 8-of-14 shots.

“We want to keep doing that,” Dunlap said. “We moved the ball well in the first half. "Playing a quality team like them (Gonzaga) inside the 20 is really good for them (LMU players) – just being patient.”

LMU hung un as it trailed 46-41 after 20 minutes, but Gonzaga began the second half with inside and out attack. Josh Perkins scored on twice on as many trips down the floor to start the second half as their lead climbed to 21 points and would not look back.

Looking Ahead:

Both teams will play again on Jan. 11 as Gonzaga will head back home to Spokane, WA to face the Portland Pilots (6-11, 0-4) San Diego Dons (12-4, 3-1). LMU play host the San Francisco Dons (10-7, 2-2) continuing conference play.