Slow Turning

Like the song says, you can learn to live with love or without it

Still the best: Zags control WCC

with one comment

The tag line from espn.com says it all.

Admittedly I was a little worried about this game. It was one that St. Mary’s had to win and since they had been on a roll, I wasn’t sure what to expect.

What I got was a game where Gonzaga flexed its collective muscle and let everyone know that there should be no doubt as to who rules the West Coast Conference, the state of Washington (especially with Washington and Washington State losing tonight), and in all likelihood, the west coast period.

What I liked most about this game was everyone saw minutes, with only Grant Gibbs and GJ Vilarino not making it into the scoring column. Even better was that Gonzaga took care of the ball in the second half. By limiting their turnovers, they were able to take St. Mary’s out of the game and control the outcome.

My favorite two points of the night were Will Foster’s FTs. Runner up was Matt Bouldin’s 3-point shot to end the first half.

I’m not sure if he’s hurt or not but Bouldin looked slow. Maybe the SMC guards are just that fast but they were blowing by him, especially in the first half. He came out on fire in the second half and really pushed Gonzaga to take over the game.

Robert Sacre had an outstanding game. I’m not sure where he’s been but I hope this game makes him realize that he has the ability to dominate when he exerts himself. When he plays aggressive, I would take him over any other big guy in the country. (I haven’t seen all the other big guys but if Omar Samhan is one of the best bigs in the country, then there’s no doubt that Sacre can play with any of them.)

Elias Harris was in foul trouble in the first half, but somehow ended the game being Gonzaga’s leading scorer. The best part was Elias getting an and-1 and then the camera shot went to his dad doing a fist pump.

Steven Gray had an atrocious shooting night going 0-4 from beyond the arc, but he was a stud on defense. When he’s playing D the way he did tonight, I’d prefer to see him drive to the hoop to get 2 points, and maybe draw the foul. Regardless of his shooting slump, he’s still one of my favorite players to watch.

Demtri Goodson had the team’s first few points. He’s gotten into a nice groove and is playing as well as I’ve ever seen him play. It seems like he’s deferring to Bouldin, Gray, and Harris, which funny enough, seems to have opened up the game for him.

Kelly Olynyk coming into the game and scoring a quick bucket reminded me of how they used to do that with Sean Mallon. In addition to the joy of watching him score, it was a nice trip down memory lane.

I have no doubt that Gonzaga can get up for big games, but I think the challenge from here on out is to play at this level for the rest of the regular season. Some think this is a Sweet 16, possibly Final Four, team. I’m not sure I’d put them there yet, but when they play team basketball it’s hard to see them losing very many games.

Mine one complaint from the game had nothing to do with Gonzaga. :30 Seconds with Stephen Bardo was with Mickey McConnell. Why would he choose to sit down with a St. Mary’s player when it’s a home game for Gonzaga? For the next Gonzaga game, I think he needs to sit down with Will Foster! In addition to being a senior, he’s also a fan favorite.

Here are some pre-game links:

Game of the Night: Gonzaga vs Saint Mary’s (11:00 PM, ESPN2)
February 11th, 2010 by Jeff Borzello
http://bit.ly/dtqzKu

WCC Announces January Players of the Month
Gonzaga and Saint Mary’s split men’s and women’s awards
http://bit.ly/dAwhCa

NCAAB St. Mary’s Gaels vs Gonzaga Bulldogs February 11th
Crunchsports.com
http://bit.ly/cV2AUt
*What I love about this is that it’s talking about tonight’s game but the picture is from two years ago and is Gonzaga vs USD

Latest California Sports:
Feb 11, 2010 2:46 am US/Pacific
http://bit.ly/bs9aHG
No. 16 Gonzaga hosts Gaels with 1st place on line

SPOKANE, Wash. (AP) — The No. 16 Gonzaga Bulldogs will seek to reach 20 wins for a 13th consecutive season on Thursday, and coach Mark Few would like fans to savor that fact, at least a little.

Few says fans have become accustomed to success from Gonzaga.

But a look at the struggles of basketball powers like North Carolina and Connecticut this season shows that success is not automatic. The Zags have been making it look easy, however.

Gonzaga has won at least 20 games every season since the 1997-98 team went 24-10. Few, who is in his 11th season as head coach, has never won fewer than 23 games.

Gonzaga faces Saint Mary’s on Thursday in a first-place showdown in the West Coast Conference.

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