No. 1 Gonzaga looks to continue dominance over San Diego
Top-ranked Gonzaga is roaring toward an undefeated regular season and looks to take another step when it faces San Diego in West Coast Conference play on Saturday night in Spokane, Wash.
The Bulldogs (21-0, 12-0 WCC) tentatively have three games remaining after the WCC added home games against Santa Clara and Loyola Marymount to next week's schedule.
Gonzaga doesn't figure to face any issues against the trio of teams, particularly after it annihilated Saint Mary's 87-65 on Thursday to post its 48th consecutive home victory.
The Bulldogs have won 25 straight overall games dating to last season and the last 18 triumphs have all been by double digits. Gonzaga also leads the nation by scoring 92.8 points per game.
"This is a team," Bulldogs coach Mark Few said after the victory over the Gaels. "They move it and share it. Our offensive numbers are reflecting that. It's something to behold if you ask me."
Gonzaga faces few issues with the Toreros (3-7, 2-4). The Zags have won the past 13 meetings, 24 of the past 25 and 46 of the past 49.
In this season's first meeting, the Bulldogs pummeled host San Diego 90-62 on Jan. 28. Drew Timme led the way with 21 points and seven rebounds.
Against Saint Mary's, Corey Kispert was the game-high scorer with 20 points. Joel Ayayi also played well and made 4 of 5 3-pointers while scoring 16 points.
The four 3-pointers matched a career best for Ayayi, who was just 1-for-11 from 3-point range over the previous five games.
"I love that Joel was hunting his 3 a little bit more," Few said.
Ayayi ranks fourth on Gonzaga in scoring at 11.5 points per game. Kispert (19.2) and Timme (19.0) are the top two scorers and freshman star Jalen Suggs is third at 13.9.
San Diego returned from its third COVID-19 pause of the season to post a 71-60 road win over Santa Clara on Thursday.
The Toreros missed six games during the latest interruption, and the victory over the Broncos was their first game since the late-January setback against Gonzaga.
San Diego coach Sam Scholl was impressed with the performance, particularly because of the tests his club has faced this season.
"To weather some storms shows their resolve and resilience," Scholl told the San Diego Union-Tribune after the win. "Maybe that's what grew from all these pauses and our battle with COVID. Maybe that came out (Thursday night)."
Joey Calcaterra led the Toreros with a career-high 23 points and he leads the club with a 14.1 scoring average. Josh Parrish (10.7) is the only other San Diego player averaging in double digits.
Finn Sullivan, who averages 7.0 points per game, had his best outing of the season in the first meeting with the Zags. Sullivan had season highs of 16 points and six assists while making 6 of 8 shots, including 4 of 5 from 3-point range.
After that setback, Scholl referred to Gonzaga as "explosive" and "a well-oiled machine offensively."
San Diego's last win over Gonzaga was a 69-66 home decision on Feb. 22, 2014.
--Field Level Media
Updated February 19, 2021