NCAA basketball

Potential No. 1 Pick Holmgren Helps Zags Pull Away From USD

Chet Holmgren had 23 points and 12 rebounds to lead No. 2 Gonzaga past San Diego 92-62 on Thursday night for its 11th straight victory.

Drew Timme added 13 points and eight rebounds as six Bulldogs scored in double figures. Andrew Nembhard had 14 points and seven assists.

Gonzaga (18-2, 7-0 West Coast Conference) has won its last 25 league games by double digits — and by an average of more than 24 points.

“This team is recognizing what all these different approaches were,” Bulldogs coach Mark Few said. “That’s probably what I’m most excited about, just their ability to read and react.”

Jace Townsend scored 13 points off the bench for the Toreros.

San Diego (13-10, 6-4), which entered third in the WCC standings, hung around for the first seven minutes before fading. The Toreros looked sharp early and tied the game 12-all on a 3-pointer. But the Zags outscored them 26-12 the rest of the half to take a 38-24 lead into the break.

In the first 10 minutes of the second half, the Toreros couldn’t chip away at the deficit against the deeper Bulldogs. Every time USD made a mini-run, Gonzaga answered with a timely 3-pointer, fast break or slashing bucket in the lane to stunt USD's momentum.

The 7-foot Holmgren buried a 3 from the top of the key with 7:05 left to give Gonzaga a 75-50 advantage.

“He broke the game open,” San Diego coach Sam Scholl said. “He is just very, very skilled. He has a tremendous feel. He is physical. He is not afraid to bang.”

The star freshman also had four blocks, and his height gave the Toreros problems inside.

“He is always a presence around the rim on defense. He does a good job of gauging what is going on and adjusting his defense,” Few said. “I think after that they really had problems scoring over him.”

The Bulldogs shot 57% from the field compared to 35% for USD.

“We talked about how disciplined we were going to have to be to not beat ourselves. We had too many momentary pauses,” Scholl said. “They are just a very talented passing team. They really do a great job of finding the open guy and delivering a strike so that guy can make a play.”

Gonzaga, to no surprise, had a huge advantage in points in the paint (48-22) and rebounds (45-21).

“Gonzaga challenges you and tests your mental discipline,” Scholl said. “When you play the best team in the country you have to be that good and that disciplined.”


Gonzaga: Has won 28 consecutive conference games and nine straight true road games, both the longest active streaks of their kind in the nation. The Bulldogs have won 70 of their last 74 games overall.

San Diego: It was the 100th meeting between the schools. Gonzaga holds a 78-22 record, including 15 straight wins. The last victory by the Toreros over the Bulldogs was 69-66 in San Diego on Feb. 22, 2014.


Gonzaga: Plays at BYU on Saturday night.

San Diego: Will host Santa Clara on Saturday afternoon.

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