The No. 8 Zags are never threatened by the Huskies, who did not make a three-pointer or get an assist in the first half. The Zags have won seven in a row at home over the Huskies and 10 of the last 11.
SPOKANE – For two minutes at the start, this game was competitive.
And then No. 8 Gonzaga proceeded to hammer the Washington men’s basketball team during a historic 98-71 drubbing much to the delight of the raucous soldout crowd at McCarthey Athletic Center that waited a decade for the Huskies to return to The Kennel.
More like a continuation of smackdowns for the Huskies, who endured their worst loss by the Bulldogs since 1943.
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The 27-point beatdown was UW’s most lopsided loss since a 99-67 defeat last season at Arizona.
Wednesday’s game was more of the same for Gonzaga, which has won 10 of the past 11 meetings against its cross-state rival, including seven straight at home.
This time it wasn’t close after the Bulldogs used a 30-6 run to extend their lead to 35-10 with 7:41 remaining in the first half.
For practical matters, the game was over at that point and the rest of the game was a spectacle of two teams headed in opposite directions.
Perhaps fittingly, Nigel Williams-Goss, the former UW star who transferred to Gonzaga, sank a floater in the lane over freshman standout Markelle Fultz to put the Zags up by 25 points and cap the spurt.
Their matchup served as the biggest subplot in a game that included several story lines.
“He (Williams-Goss) used his bigs for him; he had a big guy down there so he could drive around,” said Fultz, the Pac-12’s leading scorer, who finished with 25 points on 10-for-26 shooting and 10 rebounds. “He just played smart. He’s a good point guard. He had a good night tonight and I respect him.”
Williams-Goss, who tallied a season-high 23 points along with five rebounds and five assists, had been critical of his former team for its lack of preparation before games and wins during his two seasons with the Huskies.
Washington’s inept performance highlighted the criticism surrounding coach Lorenzo Romar, who was unceremoniously serenaded with “Fire Romar” chants throughout the game from GU students.
“This is not a reflection of what our season is about to be like, I’ll tell you that right now,” said Romar, who is 4-9 against GU. “In the first half, we took some steps back in finding guys (on defense).
“Gonzaga is too good a team to make mistakes on. Just too good a team. They make you pay for it.”
Early on, the Huskies had no answer for sophomore forward Johnathan Williams, who scored the first seven points for Gonzaga. Then senior guard Jordan Matthews took over and buried a couple of open three-pointers en route to 14 points.
But it was 7-foot-1, 300-pound center Przemek Karnowski who gave the Huskies the most trouble while controlling the middle and making it nearly impossible to score inside.
He finished with 17 points and eight rebounds in 23 minutes.
Surprisingly, the Huskies won the rebounding battle 54 to 42, including a dominant advantage in offensive boards (29-11).
“We had a lot of misses,” Romar said noting UW’s 30.4 percent shooting.
Other than rebounding, nothing went right for Washington, which didn’t have an assist or three-pointer in the first half.
The Huskies trailed 47-22 at the break and never got closer than 24 points in the second half.
“The score was so far away that it was tough to get back in it,” said Fultz, who carried a UW offense that had few viable options.
Sophomore forward Noah Dickerson had 12 points and 15 rebounds, but no other UW player scored in double digits.
Meanwhile, Gonzaga’s offense rolled with incredible efficiency while shooting 53.8 percent. The last time the Zags (9-0) were this proficient offensively they throttled Utah Valley, Bryant and Mississippi Valley State.
Following back-to-back wins over Pac-12 teams (Gonzaga beat then-No. 16 Arizona last week), Bulldogs fans are envisioning another run to the NCAA tournament’s Elite Eight.
Unless Washington (4-4) makes a dramatic course correction and starts playing defense, the Huskies are staring at a sixth straight season outside the NCAA tournament.
The Huskies dropped their third straight game to fall to 4-4. Romar has started 4-4 four times, and each season the Huskies missed the Big Dance.
|UW has started 4-4 four times under coach Lorenzo Romar and missed the NCAA tournament those seasons:|