No. 1 Gonzaga thumps North Dakota State 102-60
SPOKANE, Wash. (AP) — Brandon Clarke and Rui Hachimura each scored 18 points as top-ranked Gonzaga beat North Dakota State 102-60 on Monday night to remain undefeated.
Corey Kispert added 17 points and Zach Norvell Jr. 15 for Gonzaga (7-0), which reached No. 1 in The Associated Press Top 25 earlier in the day by virtue of beating former No. 1 Duke at the Maui Invitational.
Vinnie Shahid scored 16 points for North Dakota State (2-5), which shot just 36 percent in the game.
Clarke made all nine of his field goal attempts and added eight rebounds and five blocks for Gonzaga. Six Zags scored in double figures.
Gonzaga has beaten four teams from Power Five conferences already this season, and came in averaging 97 points per game to 71 for the Bison.
North Dakota State stayed close early, and led 19-18 with just over 10 minutes left in the first.
Gonzaga replied with a 19-0 run, making seven consecutive field goals, for a 37-19 lead. Clarke had 10 points and Josh Perkins had a pair of 3-pointers in the run.
The Bison were scoreless for more than 6 minutes before Cameron Hunter’s 3-pointer ended the Gonzaga run.
But Gonzaga then embarked on a 16-3 run to take a 53-25 lead at halftime. The Zags shot 72.5 percent (21 of 29) in the first half, while North Dakota State shot just 37 percent and committed eight turnovers.
Kispert sank three consecutive 3-pointers as a 22-2 run put Gonzaga up 85-38 midway through the second.
Gonzaga students chanted “we want Cleveland” in the final minutes.
North Dakota State: The Bison of the Summit League have only beaten UC Santa Barbara and Towson this season. In their game notes they noted: “The Zags are really good. They almost never lose.” The Bison lost to Gonzaga in the second round of the 2015 NCAA Tournament.
Gonzaga: The Zags played without guard Geno Crandall, who is out several weeks with a fractured hand, and forward Killian Tillie, out for another month with an ankle injury. Gonzaga now enters the toughest portion of its remaining nonconference schedule, with games in the next two weeks against Creighton, Washington, No. 6 Tennessee and No. 11 North Carolina. Only the Washington game is home.
North Dakota State plays at Drake on Saturday.
Gonzaga plays at Creighton, which is receiving votes in the AP poll, on Saturday.