The Associated Press
FORT MYERS, Fla. — Coach Mark Few and Gonzaga keep reaching new heights.
While the top-ranked Bulldogs opened their season with a 102-90 victory over No. 6 Kansas, Few won his 600th game.
“I got an ice shower in the locker, which I didn’t expect,” said Few, who has been at Gonzaga since 1999. “(Kansas coach) Bill (Self) and I set this up for a big college basketball game on Thanksgiving Day before the Cowboys game. That’s why we love college basketball. There’s a lot more games like this coming across the season.”
Drew Timme scored 25 points, Jalen Suggs had 24 and Corey Kispert added 23 as No. 1 Gonzaga pulled away for a statement win.
“We’re not that experienced of a team coming back,” Few said. “We needed Drew and Corey against a high, high-level team. We needed their experience and toughness.”
The Bulldogs built a double-digit lead in the first half at the Rocket Mortgage Fort Myers Tip-Off, then saw the Jayhawks rally from a 14-point deficit in the second half to tie it twice. Gonzaga went on a 22-7 run to go up 96-78 late in the second half to put the Jayhawks away.
“I thought we played a great team,” Self said. “They have four guards who I think will be the best guards we’ll play all year.”
Suggs, who got in foul trouble in the first half, scored 17 of his 24 in the second half.
“I played patient, picked my spots, picked my moments,” Suggs said.
Few said Suggs was special. “And he’s so good to coach,” he added.
Marcus Garrett led Kansas with 22 points and Ochai Agbaji added 17 points. Agbaji picked up his fourth foul midway through the second half, which hurt the Jayhawks. When he left, Kansas trailed 70-67.
“We needed Ochai out there,” Self said. “We’re not deep enough to make up for him.”
Thanks to 62 points in the paint, the Bulldogs shot 65 percent from the field.
“We definitely can’t start games like that,” Garrett said. “We have to be better.”
Three non-athletes that are part of Gonzaga’s traveling party were isolating in their hotel rooms after one tested positive for the coronavirus.
A total of 112 tests were given and no players from any of the four participating teams tested positive, tournament officials said.
The way these teams played each other, it wouldn’t be a surprise to see Gonzaga and Kansas meet again late in the NCAA Tournament, maybe the Final Four.
The Bulldogs are deep and look like they can play defense as well as any of Few’s teams. They can score from the inside and the outside.
Kansas never gives up. Not many teams in the country could get in a 14-point hole to the nation’s No. 1 team and come back to tie it. However, the Jayhawks couldn’t recover from Gonzaga’s second offensive attack.