Junior forward will consider in coming weeks whether to enter NBA draft
PITTSBURGH — Robert Sacre and Marquise Carter are done playing basketball at Gonzaga. This, they know. Nobody, including Elias Harris, seems to be sure about him.
Harris, the 6-foot-8 German forward, was non-committal after the Zags’ 73-66 defeat Saturday against Ohio State about whether he will return to Gonzaga for his senior year.
“I didn’t think about it at all yet,” he said. “My goal was playing Gonzaga basketball for now, and in the next couple of weeks, give it a couple of thoughts on whatever’s going to happen next.”
Asked how he plans to formulate a decision, Harris said he didn’t know. He is considered at best a second-round NBA draft choice.
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He had a big freshman year, slumped as a sophomore and then performed well in 2011-12. He did fight occasional inconsistency, and in the sub-regional here, sat with foul trouble in both first halves.
Harris tied the Ohio State game with a three-pointer with 4:03 left. On the next possession, he had another three that missed from the same spot in the right corner, and missed two free throws with 40 seconds left that virtually clinched it for Ohio State.
Carter, meanwhile, had a difficult senior year after being MVP of the West Coast Conference tournament in 2011, then scoring 24 points against St. John’s in the Zags’ NCAA victory. He lost playing time both to newcomers Gary Bell Jr. and Guy Landry Edi and played just two minutes Saturday.
Sacre leaves a defensive void, a post option and a big personality.
“I’ve never had so much fun in my life,” he said on the interview podium of his time at GU. “It’s been a great growing experience — sometimes with growing pains. (But) I love this program dearly.”
Gonzaga got back in the game by playing mostly zone defense from the 14-minute mark of the second half. William Buford drilled a three on the first OSU possession against it, and at that point, the Buckeyes were hitting 55.3 percent. They cooled off to 47.2.
OSU coach Thad Matta said it was only as an afterthought that his staff did any video preparation for the zone.
“I think they had, by our calculation, played 6 percent zone all season,” said Matta. “The chances were, we weren’t going to see it.”
And What’s More …
• The Zags got their fill of Big Ten teams this year, going 0-3 against them. They lost to No. 1 seed Michigan State by seven in Spokane and at Illinois the week before. A victory in either of those games might have saved them the second-round matchup against Ohio State.
• Gonzaga coach Mark Few, on the decision to play off Buckeyes point guard Aaron Craft to help elsewhere (Craft scored 17 points): “I love the kid’s game, I love how tough and smart he is. We just decided, he needed to score and we were going to dedicate our attention to some of the other people. That allowed him to get around the corner a couple of times.”
• Bell, the Kentridge High freshman, was Gonzaga’s leading scorer with 18 points, 13 in the second half, to go with five assists. “This was a very fun game,” he said. “This is why you come to Gonzaga, to play against these top talents. You know you’re going to be in the tournament all the time. This is definitely a big reason why I came.”
• Sacre, asked if the pain of losing felt different from second-game exits the past two years against Syracuse and Brigham Young, remembered a blowout defeat decided early against Syracuse: “Yeah, we weren’t down by 30 or 45. I didn’t feel it was over at halftime, that’s for damn sure.”
Bud Withers: 206-464-8281 or email@example.com