Friday, February 10, 2017

No. 1 Gonzaga 90, Loyola Marymount 60: Balanced effort powers Gonzaga past LMU

                                                              Photo Credit: AP Photo

By: Devin Larkins
Twitter: @motownape

LOS ANGELES— With a trip to Moraga, CA to play the No. 20 Saint Mary’s Gaels right around the corner, the top-ranked Gonzaga Bulldogs (25-0, 13-0 West Coast Conference) showed no signs of a letdown in a 90-60 win over the Loyola Marymount Lions (11-13, 4-9 West Coast Conference) at the Gersten Pavilion.

Nigel Williams-Goss outshined everyone with game-highs of 19 points and 11 rebounds, as he returned after missing the Santa Clara game with an ankle injury. The Bulldogs’ offensive attack was distributed throughout the team with five players scoring in double figures.

“This team has great balance. We can share it, I feel comfortable and have eight guys to get to double figures if needed,” Gonzaga coach Mark Few said.

Gonzaga started the game dumping the ball in the low post to Przemek Karnowski, drop stepping his way for two easy buckets and showed early signs of life on offense.

The underdog Lions fed off the energy of the crowd, as they led the Bulldogs 10-9 going into the first timeout, but would be the last time with the lead.

Killian Tillie proved to be the engine for the Bulldogs by converting his first three shots from the field with all 11 points in the first half.

Gonzaga carried a 50-28 lead into the second half as LMU turned the ball over and allowed the fast breaks on the other end for layups. The turnover/assists ratio did not fare well for the Lions as they turned the ball over 17 times, but managed 11 assists.

“If you look at those transition buckets, they were easy baskets. They had 12 points [from turnovers],” Loyola Marymount coach Mike Dunlap said.

When Gonzaga was forced into their half court sets, were continuously fouled by LMU, which led to 34-of-44 makes from the charity stripe.

Both teams return to action on Feb. 11, as Gonzaga prepares itself for the biggest game of their  season to date on Saturday February 25th taking on No. 20 Saint Mary’s (21-2, 11-1) at 5:15 p.m. on ESPN. A Saint Mary’s win could propel them to a tie with Gonzaga for the top spot in the league standings. Loyola Marymount hosts Portland (9-15, 2-10) earlier in the day at 1 p.m.

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