Zags take their time in defeating Quinnipiac
LAKE BUENA VISTA, Florida – Gonzaga fired several passes that left coach Mark Few with hands on hips and asking, ‘Why?’
The 11th-ranked Zags missed shots, lots of shots, from beyond the arc, including many without a defender in the vicinity. They had trouble solving Quinnipiac’s zone defense.
They had defensive lapses, leaving Quinnipiac leading scorer Reggie Oliver alone for an uncontested jumper.
They still won by 20.
Gonzaga didn’t play its best basketball, not by a long shot, but it did get better as the game went along, finally muzzling the Bobcats 82-62 Thursday in the opening round of the AdvoCare Invitational at the HP Field House.
GU (4-0) advances to the semifinals against the Seton Hall-Florida winner. Quinnipiac (0-3) faces the Seton Hall-Florida loser.
Quinnipiac kept it interesting until roughly 12 minutes remained, pulling within 50-40 on Oliver’s bank shot.
Gonzaga wing Jordan Mathews had missed seven straight 3s, four against the Bobcats and three against Bryant last Friday, when he took a pass on the wing and buried a trey.
Mathews repeated the feat on the next possession and GU was up 16. Johnathan Williams then delivered three consecutive field goals inside and Gonzaga’s lead was 20.
Zach Collins’ three-point play made it a 23-point bulge.
Four Zags reached double figures, led by 13 each from Williams and Collins. Freshmen Peter Kiss paced Quinnipiac with 18 points.
If you’re a fan of turnovers and missed 3-pointers the first half was for you. The teams combined to go 3 of 21 from distance and commit 22 turnovers, 13 by Quinnipiac.
The Zags led 37-29 after a sluggish first 20 minutes. Williams’ dunk off a Przemek Karnowski dish put Gonzaga up 12-6 but the Bobcats responded with seven straight points.
Collins scored all eight of his first-half points in the next 3-½ minutes as GU eased in front 24-17.
The Bobcats pulled within 26-25 on Oliver’s bank shot. GU reserve forward Killian Tillie’s steal and dunk fueled a late 11-0 run. The Zags misfired on their first seven 3-pointers, several coming against Quinnipiac’s zone defense, before Josh Perkins connected from distance.
The Bobcats scored the last four points to close within nine at the break. The difference was primarily at the free-throw line where GU, taking advantage of 12 minutes in the bonus, hit 10 of 12 to Quinnipiac’s 3 of 4.