Slow Turning

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

Gonzaga vs LMU

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Steven Gray

Before tonight’s game started, and even into the early minutes of the game, I was thinking that I would end up writing about how much I have really come to enjoy watching Steven Gray play. My impression of him has changed from thinking of him as being a 3-point shooter to possibly becoming one of the best all-around players I’ve ever seen in a Gonzaga uniform. I could not be more impressed with the way he has improved at playing defense and the intensity that he brings. I think it’s affected his shooting percentage but I’ll take a lower shooting % because his D is that fantastic.

Instead of gloating about Steven Gray and Gonzaga’s play of late, however, I am stumped as to how they lost to the Loyola Marymount Lions tonight. They didn’t have a great start but it wasn’t terrible. They were playing D, had shots fall, and Gray was effective at both ends of the court.

Now, on to Bouldin.

I’ve been on the Matt Bouldin bandwagon since first seeing him in a Gonzaga uniform. I think he has a tremendous feel for the game and he’s confident when running the offense. My one complaint are his games when he forces passes, turns the ball over, doesn’t set the tone for the offense, and has atrocious shot selection.

At the beginning of the season, I wasn’t sure that he could lead the team (I commented briefly on it here http://bit.ly/caCOzk), but as the season progressed, I was more and more taken with him as the team’s leader. He still had moments in games of looking lost and making an errant pass but for the most part, he put the team on his back and guided them to win after win after win, until they were ranked in the Top 25 again. As the team won, I began to believe that he could lead Gonzaga in an NCAA Tourney run. With Elias Harris racking up double doubles, Steven Gray taking charge on defense, and Bouldin leading the offense this didn’t seem like an unrealistic thought.

Then came the loss at USF. Bouldin got props for scoring the team’s only points in OT (if memory serves correctly), but my complaint was where was he at the end of regulation? Those points, had they come before the end of the game, could have resulted in a Gonzaga win.

Gonzaga responded well with wins over Portland, at Memphis, St. Mary’s, and San Diego. Maybe those games were too easy. Maybe with the tough games out of the way, they’re on cruise control. Maybe they’re tired. Maybe this really is a rebuilding year instead of a reloading year. With all of the talent that Gonzaga has, they’re dominated by freshman. Gray is called a veteran, but he’s starting for the first time and is needed almost the entire game on both offense and defense.

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I’m watching the replay and Gonzaga isn’t sharp but they’re not as bad as I originally thought. Gray stands out for playing with effort. I still don’t understand why Grant Gibbs didn’t get to play. He was effective the last time GU played LMU and the spark that the team needed. Bottomline, LMU just wanted the win more than Gonzaga did. It was awfully sad, though, to watch Bouldin foul out in his last game at LMU.

My final thought after tonight is that with losses to USF and LMU, I no longer think of the Duke game as an anomaly.

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Written by rachel

February 19, 2010 at 12:13 am

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