No. 8 Gonzaga clicking early with UT Arlington next
The notion that a Gonzaga squad featuring four new starters might need time to adjust to one another has turned into a giant misnomer.
The No. 8 Bulldogs have won each of their first four games by at least 30 points and look to add another blowout to the ledger when they host UT Arlington on Tuesday night in Spokane, Wash.
Gonzaga has won by an average margin of 35.5 points, with Friday's 79-49 road win over Texas A&M representing the closest encounter.
The Bulldogs' strong start has consisted of superb offense (95.2 points per game), tenacious defense (59.8 allowed) and stunning rebounding (plus-17.8 margin).
"That's a big point of emphasis the last couple weeks," sophomore forward Filip Petrusev told reporters of the rebounding after Friday's victory. "Everybody is going to the boards, especially defensively and not allowing (teams) the second chances. We rebound and get into our offense right away."
Petrusev, a sophomore forward, is one of the new starters who is playing like a locked-in veteran. He leads Gonzaga in scoring (18.3), rebounding (9.3) and blocked shots (eight total) and is shooting 63.6 percent from the field.
Junior forward Corey Kispert, the lone holdover starter, is second on the team in scoring (15.3).
Freshman reserve forward Drew Timme is shooting 70 percent from the field while averaging 13.3 points. Senior guard Admon Gilder (13.3), senior point guard Ryan Woolridge (11.0) and freshman forward Anton Watson (10.5) are also in double digits.
Gilder and Woolridge shared game-high scoring honors with 16 points and each collected seven rebounds against Texas A&M.
Upsetting Gonzaga would be quite a feat for UT Arlington (2-2), which fell to 1-32 all-time against ranked programs when it suffered a 67-47 loss at then-No. 14 Oregon on Sunday night.
The Mavericks shot a program-worst 23.4 percent (15 of 64) from the field, narrowly lower than the previous mark of 23.5 against Texas State on Jan. 9, 1999.
"We can't expect to beat them when scoring 47 points," UT Arlington coach Chris Ogden said after the loss. "For the most part we were locked in, but we went through some stretches where we couldn't get a shot to fall, and in those moments we have to be more disciplined to get a piece of the paint and make better shot selections.
"We had a lot of open looks that just didn't go in, but we also took some bad shots, and that's where we need to improve."
Sophomore guard David Azore is the lone player averaging in double figures with a 10.5 average. Azore scored 11 points against Oregon but was just 2-of-8 shooting.
Sophomore forward Jordan Phillips had a team-best 14 points against the Ducks on 4-of-12 shooting.
The Mavericks were just 6 of 30 from 3-point range to fall to 29.9 percent for the season. Overall, UT Arlington shoots 36.7 percent from the field, with 137 of its 251 shots from the field coming from beyond the arc.
Last season, UT Arlington shot just 26.8 percent from the field in an 89-55 loss to the Zags in Spokane. The Mavericks are 0-2 all-time against Gonzaga.
Bulldogs senior forward Killian Tillie (knee) still hasn't played this season. He has participated in recent game warm-ups and could make his debut on Tuesday.
Gonzaga is looking for its 26th consecutive home victory.
--Field Level Media
Updated November 18, 2019