SPOKANE, Wash. (AP) — Top-ranked Gonzaga struggled a bit in beating two of the best teams in the West Coast Conference last week, so coach Mark Few pushed his squad to step up its defense.
The undefeated Zags did just that.
Drew Timme scored 22 points and freshman Jalen Suggs came close to a triple-double as Gonzaga smothered Pacific 95-49 on Saturday night for its 19th consecutive victory dating to last season.
“I thought Drew was pretty dialed in,” Few said. “He gave a great effort on defense.”
Corey Kispert had 16 points and Joel Ayayi scored 12 for Gonzaga (15-0, 6-0 WCC), which won its 47th consecutive home game — the longest streak in the nation. Suggs finished with nine points, 11 rebounds and eight assists.
Last week, Gonzaga had relatively close wins against Pepperdine and Saint Mary’s.
“We challenged them a little bit,” Few said. “We let our guard down in both games last week.”
Daniss Jenkins scored 17 points for Pacific (5-3, 2-2), which tried to play its slowdown game but was undone by poor shooting.
Gonzaga shot 49% while Pacific made just 27.9% of its attempts, including 2 of 16 from 3-point range.
“I thought we really challenged every shot tonight,” Few said. “The way we beat them on the glass (50-37) was a good sign also.”
Pacific coach Damon Stoudamire did not hold a virtual news conference after the game.
Timme scored 11 points as Gonzaga jumped to a 26-5 lead in less than eight minutes. Pacific made only two of its first 14 shots, while Gonzaga shot 60% in that span.
Pacific trailed 34-10 with just over eight minutes left in the first half. The Tigers made only four of their first 19 shots.
“We came in more focused,” said Timme, who shot 8 of 11 and grabbed seven rebounds. “We did a great job responding.”
Suggs scored to give Gonzaga a 52-21 lead at halftime. The 31-point margin was built on 53% shooting, along with seven 3-pointers. Pacific shot just 27% in the first period and committed 10 turnovers.
Gonzaga opened the second half with a 15-4 run, and Kispert’s 3-pointer pushed the lead to 67-25.
A LITTLE SHORT
Few said the team realized Suggs was close to completing the second triple-double in program history, but he couldn’t quite get there. “We were trying and he was trying too hard, actually,” Few said.
There is still a chance to reschedule Gonzaga’s game against No. 2 Baylor that was called off earlier this season due to COVID-19 issues, Few said. The problem remains finding a mutually agreeable date during conference play. “We’re flexible and ready,” Few said. “Sometimes when there’s a will there’s a way.”
Timme said the team does indeed talk about finishing the regular season undefeated. “We’re a competitive bunch. All we want to do is win,” he explained. “We just want to win every game. Every chance we want to prove we are the best.”
A lopsided conference win should keep the Zags atop the AP Top 25.
Pacific: The Tigers have lost all eight games between the teams in Spokane. … Stoudamire guided the Tigers to 23 wins last season, the program’s most since 2013. … The Tigers lead the WCC in scoring defense at 61.4 points per game, but could not stop the Zags.
Gonzaga: The Bulldogs lead the series 18-1 after winning the last 16 meetings. … Gonzaga came in as one of six remaining unbeaten teams in the nation. The Zags lead the country with an average of 94.4 points per game.
Pacific plays at Santa Clara on Thursday.
Gonzaga visits San Diego on Thursday.
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