With its starting point guard out with an injury, a tough loss to Washington in the immediate past and the rugged defense of Washington...
SPOKANE — With its starting point guard out with an injury, a tough loss to Washington in the immediate past and the rugged defense of Washington State slowing down its high-scoring offense, the stage was set for an upset of No. 9 Gonzaga.
Instead, the Bulldogs (5-2) got 25 points from Adam Morrison and 23 from J.P. Batista, and played some rugged defense of their own in beating the Cougars 67-53 on Thursday night.
“That was a great win for us,” coach Mark Few said, noting his team held Washington State to 37 percent shooting while hitting 54 percent itself.
Point guard Derek Raivio sat out the game after injuring his back against Washington. He may not be ready for Saturday’s game against Oklahoma State, Few said.
But freshman guard Jeremy Pargo had four assists and five rebounds in 29 minutes.
“As long as I keep it simple and get it to the guys who can score, I feel good,” Pargo said.
Morrison, who leads the nation with an average of 29 points, was 8 of 16 from the field. He scored 43 points against Washington, the second time he reached that figure this season.
Gonzaga vs. Oklahoma State, KeyArena, 12:45 p.m., Ch. 11
“I thought we were respectable against Morrison,” Washington State coach Dick Bennett said.
But Batista was dominant inside, shooting 9 of 11 with nine rebounds and four assists.
“I never played against anyone so strong,” Washington State forward Chris Henry said of Batista.
Gonzaga also got 12 points from forward Sean Mallon, and seven from guard Pierre Marie Altidor-Cespedes. Only four players scored for the Zags.
Few was not distressed at having so few players score, noting WSU’s team is built around defensive stops.
“The bottom line is getting it done,” he said.
Washington State (4-2) lost for the seventh straight time to Gonzaga. Robbie Cowgill led the Cougars with 14 points, while Josh Akognon had 13. Leading scorer Derrick Low was held to three points, and second-leading scorer Ivory Nelson did not score.
“We have not shown the improvement I expected,” Bennett said.
However, the Bulldogs were held 18 points below their season average and committed 18 turnovers.
The Zags have won 28 straight home games, the second-longest streak in the nation after Washington (29). They have won 40 of their past 41 nonconference home games, and have yet to lose in the 2-year-old McCarthey Athletic Center in 16 games.
The Cougars fell to 5-107 all-time against teams ranked in the Top 10.
Gonzaga led the entire game, though Washington State stayed about 10 points down for much of the contest.
The Cougars made a rally late in the second half, after Morrison completed a three-point play for a 55-43 lead. A basket by Cowgill and a three-pointer by Akognon cut Washington State’s deficit to 55-48 with 6:56 left. However, the Cougars didn’t score again for nearly four minutes as Gonzaga went up 63-48.
Other Top 25 games
At No. 3 Connecticut 78, Massachusetts 60
Rudy Gay had 17 points and nine rebounds to lead the Huskies over the Minutemen in the 108th meeting of the New England programs.
Josh Boone had 10 rebounds and scored his 13 points in the second half for the Huskies (7-0), who lead the series 69-39.
Rashaun Freeman, who hit the winning basket for the Minutemen (2-2) last season, had 19 points and nine rebounds.
At No. 11 Illinois 58, Georgetown 48
Dee Brown scored 16 points and Illinois’ defense made up for a poor shooting night as the Illini (9-0) remained unbeaten.
Brown made two layups midway through the second half that boosted Illinois’ lead to 14 points and stalled Georgetown’s comeback attempt. The Hoyas (3-2), down 15 points at halftime, rallied behind Jeff Green, who scored 19 of his 21 points in the second half.
At No. 19 George Washington 70, Florida International 45
Pops Mensah-Bonsu had 15 points and eight rebounds in his best game since returning from a suspension as the Colonials (6-0) subdued Florida International (3-3).
At No. 24 Arizona 75, Northern Arizona 66
Hassan Adams scored 21 points and pulled down two of his eight rebounds in the final seconds to lead Arizona.
Freshman Marcus Williams from Seattle’s Roosevelt High School had a season-high 17 points for the Wildcats (3-3), while Ivan Radenovic had 14 points and 11 rebounds.
Kelly Golob was 5 of 10 on three-pointers and had 23 points for the Lumberjacks (4-5), who have lost 22 straight to Arizona. Northern Arizona is 0-17 against ranked opponents.
• Kentucky’s Randolph Morris had his eligibility restored by the NCAA but the center can’t play until next season as a condition of the reinstatement. Morris also must repay expenses related to tryouts for NBA teams.
• Iowa senior point guard Jeff Horner will miss two to five weeks with a knee injury.