It's a turkey hat! - Tom Pennington
Well, we stuck with them for a while, but we just didn't have enough juice to stick with the 17th rank team in the country for a full forty minutes. Their zone was simply too tough for us to penetrate. We could never get anything going on the inside with Booker and Jennings non-factors for most of the game. Filer and Roper shot well from outside (shot a combined 4 of 8), but pretty much everyone else struggled with the 3 ball. When you can't get anything going on the inside, and you can't get hot from outside, you usually don't stand much of a chance. Credit the Tiger D for keeping the game close for as long as it was.
I understand that we had trouble doing anything inside, and that Gonzaga's tight zone was pretty much asking them too, but there is never a reason for Milton and KJ to just be tossing up 3s. The two combined to go 1-9 on the night. KJ looked great at the beginning of the night (in the first three minutes, he recorded two blocks, a rebound, and a dunk), but he struggled for much of the rest of the night. All the big guys did. Booker, Jennings, Nnoko, and KJ all finished the game with at least 3 fouls. The game was close for as long as it was because we were able to dictate the pace of the game and play solid defense. But no inside game and mediocre outside shooting will pretty much always result in a loss.
I'm obviously disappointed that we lost, but at the same time, this is a perrenial top-25 Gonzaga team. To keep the game so close for so long has to be seen as a positive for this young squad. And we look a lot better now than we did at this point last season. The loss sets us up with a rematch with a UTEP squad that beat us by 13 last year in a game that was one of the low points of the season. Hopefully we can exact some revenge.