Clarke, Hachimura lead No. 8 Gonzaga over UT-Arlington 89-55
SPOKANE, Wash. (AP) — Gonzaga’s rebounding was poor in a loss at No. 9 North Carolina last weekend, and Brandon Clarke said the No. 8 Bulldogs were determined to improve.
Clarke had 17 points and 13 rebounds, Rui Hachimura added 20 points and 11 boards, and Gonzaga pounded Texas-Arlington 89-55 on Tuesday night.
The Zags dominated the paint with a 53-31 rebound advantage after Clarke and Hachimura combined for just 10 against the Tar Heels.
“We are players who can get more than 10 boards per game,” Clarke said. “Tonight we came out and got those boards.”
Gonzaga lost last week to No. 3 Tennessee and North Carolina, knocking them from No. 1 on the AP Top 25.
“It burns we couldn’t get those two wins,” Clarke said. “Our defense and rebounding was something we had to work on.”
Coach Mark Few saw the difference.
“Certainly it was a better job than we did the other night,” Few said. “We rested and we challenged them a little bit. It’s exactly what we wanted to see.”
Five Zags scored in double figures.
Brian Warren scored 12 points for Texas-Arlington (3-8), which has lost seven straight. They fell to 1-31 against ranked teams.
The Mavericks were undone by poor shooting, making only 26.8 percent of their shots to 52.5 percent for Gonzaga.
“We needed to make some shots,’” said Chris Ogden, the first-year coach of the Mavericks.
“We took 12 more shots than they did and took care of the ball,” Ogden said. “At some point some of those shots need to go in.”
Gonzaga jumped out to a 19-5 lead behind consecutive 3-pointers from Josh Perkins while Texas-Arlington made just two of its first 15 shots.
Joel Ayayi’s layup put Gonzaga up 32-12. The Mavericks made just four of their first 22 shots, while Gonzaga was shooting 62 percent.
Warren hit consecutive 3-pointers to launch a 13-2 run that cut Gonzaga’s lead to 34-25, but Clarke and Hachimura each scored 13 points as Gonzaga took a 48-30 halftime lead. Gonzaga shot 60 percent in the first while holding Texas-Arlington to 27.8 percent, including 5 of 17 from 3-point range.
The teams traded baskets in the second half, and a 15-3 run put Gonzaga up 70-41. The Mavericks did not threaten after that.
“Playing teams like Gonzaga will really help us come March,” Ogden said.
The taller Zags outscored Texas-Arlington 48-16 in the paint. Gonzaga also blocked eight shots, to none for the Mavericks.
Few said forward Killian Tillie (ankle) and guard Geno Crandall (hand) are still on track to return from injuries after the new year. “They are making strides,” Few said.
LONG RANGE WOES
The Mavericks made just 8 of 34 from 3-point range. The Zags were almost as bad, sinking 6 of 24.
Few said the Zags had traveled some 14,000 miles in the past three weeks for games. “It’s a physical and emotional toll,” he said. Now they play six consecutive home games against lower-profile opponents.
UT-Arlington: The Mavericks came in undefeated against Gonzaga by virtue of beating the Bulldogs in 1992, before they were a national power. ... The Mavericks are projected to have the seventh-toughest nonconference schedule in the nation. “For us it’s all about March,” Ogden said.
Gonzaga: The Bulldogs came in second in the nation in field goal percentage (52.2 percent), and fourth in scoring at 93.7 points per game. ... Perkins came in leading the nation with 92 assists, while Clarke is second in field goal percentage at 70.8.
UT-Arlington plays at Cal Poly on Friday.
Gonzaga hosts Denver on Friday.