Clarke was effective at both ends of the court, contributing 19 points, 13 rebounds and six blocks for the 2-0 Zags.
SPOKANE – Brandon Clarke contributed 19 points, 13 rebounds and six blocked shots as third-ranked Gonzaga beat Texas Southern 104-67 on Saturday night.
Josh Perkins added 19 points and 11 assists for Gonzaga (2-0), which had little trouble handling the Tigers.
Rui Hachimura of the Zags had 17 points in 20 minutes after battling foul trouble for most of the first half.
Trayvon Reed led Texas Southern (1-1) with 14 points and 16 rebounds.
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The Tigers kept the game reasonably close early, but lost control toward the end of the first half.
Clarke’s defense threw the Texas Southern offense out of rhythm and Gonzaga used a 16-3 run to build a 46-24 halftime lead.
Texas Southern failed to get much going in the second half against an amped-up Gonzaga defense.
“I was proud of our guys,” Zags coach Mark Few said. “I thought we were much more active on the defensive end. Just more energetic and scrappy, and that’s kind of how we have to be.”
Clarke, a redshirt junior from Phoenix who started his college career at San Jose State, fired up the crowd with back-to-back dunks — one an alley-oop from Perkins, who was falling out of bounds before throwing a tough pass.
“I just told him, that is the BC we want to see,” Few said of Clarke. “Sometimes we throw a lot at ya with all of the coverages and things that we are doing. I think he was a little paralyzed by that, but he just kind of cut loose and played today, which was a good thing.”
Texas Southern shot 34 percent from the field, including 27 percent on three-point attempts.
Gonzaga shot 52 percent, including 32 percent on threes.
“I’m not sure we will see another team in the regular season quite as potent as they were tonight,” Texas Southern coach Johnny Jones said of the Zags.
Gonzaga is expected to get its toughest test of the young season when it hosts Texas A&M on Thursday.