With a dominant defensive performance, and great shooting from the perimeter, Gonzaga strolled to an 80-46 victory over the Idaho Vandals. The Bulldogs did an excellent job of contesting every shot, and used their length and athleticism to disrupt the Idaho offense throughout the game. The result was never in question, as GU jumped out to a 17-0 lead to start the game. By the end of the opening half, the score was 47-11, and the team could finally turn its attention to the impending Old Spice Classic next week.
What can Zag fans take from this dominant performance over a clearly inferior team?
- The focus on defense is clearly paying off. I have never seen a Gonzaga team play such intense defense throughout the course of a game. Sure, there have been bunches in games where the team has looked committed to defense, but it appears that this year, only a 40 minute commitment will be tolerated. I loved watching Meech and Pargo harass the Idaho guards up the court, and Micah and Matt did a terrific job staying in front of the man they were guarding. Here is a great quote from Coach Few regarding the 1st half defense:
- Pargo is emerging as one of the elite guards in the country. Some Gonzaga fans will look at the box score and see that Jeremy had only 5 points, and probably assume this was not one of his finest performances. The truth is, Jeremy controlled every aspect of the game from his position. Along with his 5 points, he had 8 rebounds and 7 assists. He rarely looked out of control, and always made the right decision with the ball. We all know that Jeremy can score and take over a game on the offensive end, but with this team it will not be necessary very often. Clearly, Coach Few recognizes the high level Jeremy is playing at:
- Micah and Josh are playing at a consistently high level. Both of these guys have displayed flashes of greatness during their time at Gonzaga. However, neither has been able to put together consistent performances that match their talent. It seems that they both realize that this is their last chance to impress scouts and lead this team to its highest level. Micah shot the ball with great accuracy, as he led the team with 18 points. He rarely forced his shot, and was able to score consistently within the offense. Josh played like a man against boys, as he dominated the paint throughout his 15 point and 7 rebound performance. This team has so many weapons, and everyone is playing for the team:
"We've got enough different weapons," Few said.
While there is no denying that the Zags looked great, there are still some things that have me a little concerned.
- I know it has only been two games, but Steven Gray has not played at the level that I think he is capable of. It is concerning to see Steven struggle with his shooting, but he is to solid of a shooter to stay in this funk. What really worries me is his sloppiness on both sides of the court. Steven has seemed lackadaisical passing the ball, and continues to make poor decisions with the basketball. I also noticed that Steven has the tendency to drift away from his man on the defensive end. He gave up numerous open looks, which could be difference against a team like Michigan St.
- Will Coach Few punish Austin Daye for his technical foul? If I'm not mistaken, Coach Few's rule is that a player typically does not start the next game after he receives a technical foul. This was clearly the case of one of the Idaho guys jawing at Austin after his dunk attempt was blocked. Austin responded by drilling a 3, and then talking some trash. A good referee would have told both guys to quiet down, and given them each a warning. What worries me, is that this team can't afford to have Austin sitting on the bench against Oklahoma St. The Old Spice Classic is a heaven-sent opportunity for Gonzaga to stake its claim to a top seed in the NCAA Tournament. It is vital that Austin starts next week, and I hope that Coach Few does not punish him for some harmless talking.