Sunday, November 16, 2008

Taking Care of Business: Gonzaga Moves to 1-0 on the Season

After extinguishing the hot hand of Montana State-Billings guard Michael Hall, the Gonzaga Bulldogs cruised to a nice 83-52 victory over the Yellowjackets. Hall frustrated the Gonzaga faithful at the end of the first half as he simply could not be stopped and he capitalized on the Zags constantly settling for the outside shot. He scored 14 consecutive, unanswered points to end the half. At halftime Gonzaga was only up five points and their was an odd silence throughout the McCarthey Athletic Center when both teams headed to the locker room.

The Zags soon realized who they were and who they were playing and opened it up in the second half. Here are some quick points for discussion regarding the game last night...

  • I was excited to see the amount of time Will Foster got and it appears that the staff may still not be confident enough in him to play him in excess. Ira Brown got 17 minutes and played great in the post. I wonder if this will stick for the year.
  • The rebounding was perfect. The Zags dominated the glass and the leading rebounders were Austin Daye and Josh Heytvelt. These two have to continue owning the boards if this team is going to dominate. No more guards leading the team in rebounds.
  • Gonzaga held Michael Hall to five points in the second half. The kid jacked up 17 shots including 12 three point attempts.
  • Thankfully Gonzaga attempted five less three point attempts in the second half and that included two by fan favorite Andrew Sorenson. Aside from Steven Gray, I'm much more confident in everyone getting to the basket and scoring. Bouldin's shot looked excellent last night but aside from that, Gonzaga was ice cold from beyond the arc.
  • Jeremy Pargo and Matt Bouldin have impressed me so much in two games. They are not forcing the action to go their way and Pargo is getting the ball to the playmakers when he didn't have a look. Pargo didn't shoot as well as you'd like but he had 10 assists and Bouldin was 5-9 from the field.
  • Steven Gray never really seemed comfortable out there. He was 1-5 from three-point land last night and hasn't shot the ball particularly well in the two games this season. The season is still very young so it's not time to start worrying but he's got to be that "lights out" shooter for this team to reach the top.
The end of the first half was frustrating but I don't think it was anything more than a hot hand surprising the Zags. The game was just about to get blown open by the time Michael Hall showed up with his Stephen Curry like performance. The last made basket for Gonzaga in the first half came at the 3:38 mark when Josh Heytvelt drained a jumper. After that, the Zags had four turnovers, a number of missed outside shots and some bad fouls. I was screaming to call a timeout at some point and get it figured out but Mark Few opted to let the barrage continue. It wasn't the best sequence of events for the Bulldogs but once Hall cooled down, Montana State-Billings was dead in the water.

All is well in Zag-land this morning after the solid performance and this team appears to be ready to live up to the high expectations that have been placed upon them. It's always nice to see the teams that get embarrassed (Kentucky and Washington) in their opening games at home and know that our guys take care of business. This team is so solid that I didn't even mention guys like Demetri Goodson and Micah Downs until right now, who by the way, were excellent.

Gonzaga has a few days off before taking on the Idaho Vandals on Tuesday, November 18th at the McCarthey Athletic Center.