The Associated Press
SAN FRANCISCO — Top-ranked Gonzaga has played five straight road games in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic, but Drew Timme and the rest of the Bulldogs didn’t show it against San Francisco on Saturday.
Timme scored 28 points and grabbed 10 rebounds as undefeated Gonzaga blasted San Francisco 100-61, lifting the Bulldogs to at least 20 wins for the 24th consecutive season.
Aaron Cook, Joel Ayayi and Corey Kispert each scored 12 points for Gonzaga (20-0, 11-0 West Coast), which won its 24th consecutive game dating to last season.
“I don’t think we played five road games in a row even when we were crappy in the early 1990s,” coach Mark Few said. “The guys deserve a lot of credit.”
Traveling and staying in hotels is not much fun these days, Few said.
Despite watching his team score 100 points, Few praised Gonzaga’s defense which held the Dons to 35% shooting and locked down their lethal long-range shooting.
“They are averaging 10 or 11 3’s in wins,” Few said. “They are a really dangerous team. That might have been one of our better, if not best, games … in executing the plan.”
Khalil Shabazz and Jamaree Bouyea each scored 14 points for San Francisco (10-10, 4-6), which lost for the 21st consecutive time to Gonzaga since its last victory in 2012.
Earlier Saturday, the Bulldogs were the No. 1 overall seed in rankings released by the NCAA Division I Men’s Basketball Committee. Selection Sunday is a month away. They played like the top seed against the Dons.
Timme, who made 11 of his 12 shots in the game, scored 15 of Gonzaga’s first 17 points as the Bulldogs jumped to a 17-3 lead.
“I felt good. It was fun,” the power forward said. “Coach tells us to come out aggressive and not start slow. We jumped on them early and didn’t take our feet off the gas.”
San Francisco missed its first 10 shots from the field and it wasn’t until Anthony Roy scored with 11:38 left in the first that the Dons got their first field goal. At that point they trailed 20-6.
Timme made his first eight shots from the field, including a pair of 3-pointers, as Gonzaga built a 37-18 lead.
San Francisco, one of the nation’s best 3-point shooting teams, missed its first 12 shots from distance.
Timme had 21 points and seven rebounds in the first half as Gonzaga led 48-26. The Zags held San Francisco to 31% shooting and forced the Dons into 12 turnovers in the first.
San Francisco finally started to hit some long shots early in the second half, but by then they were down 69-39 with 12 minutes left.
Coach Todd Golden said his team had a long layoff because of COVID-19 protocols and still is not back to full strength. “It’s a little bit of a start-over for us. We’ve got to dig down and find our identity again in conference play.”
He had praise for Timme.
“He might be the most underrated player in the country,” Golden said. “He really makes them go.”
Gonzaga hosts Saint Mary’s on Thursday. Gonzaga has announced that family members of players will be allowed to attend the home game for the first time this season after COVID-19 protocols were relaxed in Washington. “It’s going to make our guys feel great,” Few said.
UCLA 64, Washington 61
SEATTLE — Mick Cronin will find plenty of mistakes to pick at when he goes back to watch UCLA’s latest film.
Despite the issues, Cronin was thrilled to escape with a win after how the past week has gone for the Bruins.
“Especially in conference play you got to play defense, so really proud of our effort,” Cronin said. “Just proud of the way our guys competed.”
Johnny Juzang scored 21 of his career-high 32 in the first half, and UCLA snapped a two-game losing streak holding off Washington 64-61 on Saturday night.
Juzang was the entirety of UCLA’s offense in the first half, and got just enough help from teammates over the final 20 minutes to hold off Washington’s late rally. Juzang made 12 of 23 shots and his big night helped counter a terrible performance at the free-throw line by the Bruins.
Juzang said he hopes the win can build momentum for the final few weeks of the regular season after the Bruins suffered consecutive losses to USC and Washington State.
“Let’s change the course of the rest of the season,” Juznag said. “Just kind of a mentality, intensity level, team focus and togetherness, that was the biggest takeaway from tonight.”
Juzang was mostly quiet in the second half but his basket in the lane with 54 seconds left gave UCLA a 61-57 lead. Erik Stevenson answered with a 3 for Washington, but Jules Bernard hit a jumper from the top of the lane with nine seconds left to push the lead to three.
After each team split free throws, Quade Green missed a desperation 3-pointer at the buzzer trying to force overtime.
Bernard finished with 14 points for the Bruins, the only other player in double figures. UCLA (14-5, 10-3 Pac-12) had lost three of four after starting conference play 8-0.
“The coaches had things to say to get us in the right mind frame and going in the right direction,” Juzang said. “I think the biggest part was everybody was now on the same exact page, because you’re in a sink or swim situation with the postseason.”
Marcus Tsohonis led Washington (3-16, 2-12) with 22 points off the bench, all coming in the second half. Tsohonis made six 3-pointers, but it wasn’t enough to snap Washington’s five-game losing streak. Green added 14 points for the Huskies.
“I felt like in that second half we all together played extra hard,” Tsohonis said. “It was kind of rough in the beginning because we put ourselves in a hole again, but we were getting stops. It’s just about keep getting better and keep playing hard because even though we lost tonight it showed we can play with anybody.”
Juzang scored the final 18 points of the first half for UCLA. But the Bruins missed a chance to turn the game into a blowout in the opening minutes. After jumping out to an 11-0 lead, the Bruins went nearly 10 minutes without scoring.
Juzang’s basket with 7:08 left in the half finally snapped the drought, but even his 15 points over the final seven minutes could only give the Bruins a 26-20 lead at halftime.
UCLA built a 44-34 lead midway through the second half, but Washington continued to chip away. The Huskies pulled even at 57 with 2:47 left on Tsohonis’ final 3-pointer, but Washington could never take the lead.
The Huskies will host Stanford on Thursday.
USC 76, Washington State 65
PULLMAN — Tahj Eaddy scored a season high 29 points, Evan Mobley had 20 points, 11 rebounds and six blocked shots and No. 20 Southern California beat Washington State 76-65 on Saturday night for its 10th straight victory over the Cougars.
The Trojans (17-3, 11-2 Pac-12) have won six straight and 12 of their last 13 games. They have held their last three opponents to 65 points or under.
Eaddy was 10 of 16 from the field. His previous season high was against the Cougars on Jan. 16 when he scored 21 points.
Dishon Jackson had 18 points for the Cougars (12-9, 5-9), and Isaac Bonton added 17.
The Trojans went on a 13-2 run late in the second half to close out the game.
After a 81-73 victory over No. 24 UCLA on Thursday night where they shot almost 60% from deep, the Cougars were 3 of 25 on 3s against the Trojans.
Washington State: Hosts Washington on Monday night.