Williams leads No. 12 Gonzaga to 97-70 rout of Washington
SEATTLE (AP) Playing its first true road game, in an amped-up environment against an in-state foe, coach Mark Few wondered how No. 12 Gonzaga would respond following a one-sided defeat.
He didn’t need to worry. The Bulldogs emphatically continued their dominance over Washington.
”We came into a setting that was primed to see how we would react to adversity and I thought our guys just handled it in a spectacular fashion,” Few said.
Johnathan Williams had 23 points and 12 rebounds, Zach Norvell Jr. added 21 points and Gonzaga ran away in the second half for a convincing 97-70 victory Sunday.
The Bulldogs (8-2) rebounded nicely from a loss to No. 4 Villanova and never allowed the Huskies to entertain the idea of a second Top 25 upset in one week. Gonzaga led by 19 in the first half and didn’t let the Huskies put together a sustained run in the second half.
The Zags were 7 of 15 on 3-pointers in the second half and when they weren’t hitting shots from the perimeter, Williams was scoring in the post. He went 9 of 14, making most of them inside 10 feet while using a variety of post moves.
Gonzaga didn’t settle for challenged perimeter shots and instead made sure its interior players were allowed a chance to dominate. The Bulldogs shot 56 percent in the second half and committed only three turnovers in the final 20 minutes.
”I just came out and played more aggressive. I didn’t come out tentative,” said Williams, held to five points and no rebounds against Villanova. ”I played more athletically. I stopped worrying about the shots and worried just about playing hard.”
Noah Dickerson led Washington (7-3) with 18 points and David Crisp added 16. Leading scorer Jaylen Nowell struggled with foul trouble and fouled out after scoring 11 points, well below his season average of 17.8.
The sellout crowd at Hec Edmundson Pavilion was intrigued by Washington’s development under new coach Mike Hopkins after the Huskies upset No. 2 Kansas on the road Wednesday. But it was a split crowd and those in Gonzaga colors had plenty to cheer in the second half as the Bulldogs dissected Washington’s zone defense.
”The one thing I felt like they did better than us tonight is they out-teamed us,” Hopkins said. ”That’s where we’ve got to get. It’s the team. It’s everybody.”
It was the first game in Seattle between the in-state foes since 2005, a lengthy layoff with numerous excuses but no good reasons for the long break in the series. The teams played two years ago at a tournament in the Bahamas and then met last year in Spokane in the resumption of the series for at least four years.
Gonzaga has won 11 of the past 12 meetings.
Gonzaga got a scare early in the second half when Josh Perkins walked off the floor grabbing at his right shoulder with 14:33 left and the Bulldogs leading 64-45. Perkins appeared to get bumped trying to make a pass and immediately called timeout. He pointed at his right shoulder and walked off the floor into the tunnel with an athletic trainer. Perkins quickly came back to the bench and missed less than a minute of game action.
Perkins said the shoulder briefly popped out and popped back in. He added the final exclamations with a 3-pointer that beat the shot clock and a lob to Rui Hachimura for a dunk in the final few minutes. Perkins had 14 points and eight assists.
”Just some shoulder issues in the past. It hurt for a little bit but I’m good,” he said.
Washington changed its starting lineup for the first time this season, bringing Nowell off the bench and starting Naz Carter. The Huskies had the same starting lineup through the first nine games.
Gonzaga: Norvell has been outstanding since entering the starting lineup over the past three games. He had 22 points in the loss to Villanova and 21 in his first start against Creighton.
Washington: The Huskies could not capitalize on their upset of Kansas due to a sloppy first half. Washington committed eight turnovers in the first half, was just 7 of 14 at the free throw line and missed nine straight shots during one stretch. The Huskies trailed by 19 in the opening 20 minutes and didn’t appear ready for the big stage while trying to follow up such a big win.
Gonzaga: The Bulldogs return home to host North Dakota on Saturday.
Washington: The Huskies host Loyola Marymount on Sunday.