Perkins leads No. 12 Gonzaga over North Dakota 89-83 in OT
SPOKANE, Wash. (AP) Unheralded North Dakota gave No. 12 Gonzaga all it could handle on Saturday night.
Josh Perkins scored 20 points and Zach Norvell Jr. added 19 as the Bulldogs pulled out an 89-83 win in overtime.
Johnathan Williams added 14 points for Gonzaga (9-2).
”We were lucky that game was at home,” Gonzaga coach Mark Few said.
”We let them get some belief,” Few said of the early portions of the game. ”They outhustled us.”
Gonzaga, which came in ranked second in the nation in field goal percentage, shot terribly for much of the game. The Bulldogs were shooting in the 30s for most of the first half, as North Dakota built a 34-30 halftime lead.
”We had an offensive problem and that affected our defense,” Few said. ”We’ve been working on our press. That really helped us tonight.”
Geno Crandall scored 28 for North Dakota (4-7), which is struggling this season after qualifying for the NCAA Tournament last season. Cortez Seales added 23 on 11-of-15 shooting.
North Dakota coach Brian Jones said he was proud of his players.
”Our guys really responded and played with poise until some crucial moments,” Jones said. ”We fought and clawed and gave ourselves a chance to win the game.
”I thought their pressure wore us down,” Jones said.
”They have a great bench, depth and toward the end we wore down a little bit,” Jones said.
The game was tied 69-69 at the end of regulation.
Gonzaga opened the overtime period with 11 consecutive points – five by Norvell – for an 80-69 lead. The Bulldogs hung on for the win.
After struggling most of the game, Gonzaga made 5 of 7 field goals and 9 of 10 free throws in the overtime period to stay ahead of the Fighting Hawks.
Gonzaga came in shooting 50.9 percent, but shot just 44 percent for the game. North Dakota hit 52 percent.
The game in the Kennel was played in a tepid environment without its normally raucous student section because of Christmas break.
Perkins scored 18 of his points in the second half, while Norvell scored 16 in the second half.
The Fighting Hawks led 34-30 at halftime, behind 14 points from Seales.
North Dakota made five of its first six shots to open the second half and built a 45-33 lead.
Gonzaga responded with a 13-0 run and Rui Hachimura’s layup put Gonzaga ahead 46-45.
Three-pointers by Dale Jones and Crandall put North Dakota up 62-53.
Gonzaga stormed back. Perkins’ 3-pointer tied the score at 64-64 with 2:50 left. A basket by Williams put Gonzaga up 66-64 with 1:40 left.
Norvell scored for a 68-64 lead, capping a 13-0 run.
Crandall hit two free throws to bring North Dakota within two.
Williams hit one of two free throws for a 69-66 lead. But Crandall hit a 3-pointer with 2 seconds left to tie the game and send it into overtime.
BOARDS PRODUCE POINTS
Taller Gonzaga won the rebound battle 44-27, and had an 18-3 advantage in offensive rebounds. That led to a 22-0 lead in second-chance points.
North Dakota’s five starters all played at least 38 minutes in the game, as the reserves barely played. Gonzaga’s bench outscored the North Dakota bench 16-0.
North Dakota had 19 turnovers and Gonzaga 17, including 11 in the first half.
North Dakota: The Fighting Hawks were playing their first ranked opponent since losing to No. 4 Arizona in the opening round of the last NCAA Tournament. North Dakota is 0-6 all-time against Top 25 opponents.
Gonzaga: All five Gonzaga starters average in double figures, and two other players are averaging better than nine points per game. The Zags are averaging 91.2 points per game.
North Dakota hosts Idaho as Big Sky Conference play begins on Dec. 29.
Gonzaga hosts IUPUI on Monday, then travels to San Diego State for its final non-conference game next Thursday.
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