So much for Gonzaga having a tougher time making it through the West Coast Conference this season.
The second-ranked Bulldogs, who might return to the top of the national polls next week after No. 1 Baylor’s loss to No. 19 Texas Tech on Tuesday, crushed supposed conference contender BYU 110-84 Thursday night. Preseason All-American Drew Timme scored 30 points on 13-of-14 shooting from the field and had five rebounds and four assists.
“I take pride in being efficient,” Timme said. “It’s something I try to do every time, not force shots. I always like to let shots come to me. I was on.”
Next up for the Bulldogs (13-2, 2-0) is a trip to Santa Clara, Calif., to meet the Broncos (11-5, 1-0) in a Saturday afternoon conference game.
Speaking of efficient, Gonzaga’s Andrew Nembhard had 22 points and 12 assists with no turnovers against BYU. The dozen assists were his personal best in two seasons since transferring from Florida (where he once had 13 in a game). Julian Strawther added 20 points, and 7-foot freshman Chet Holmgren had another solid all-around game with 12 points on 5-for-7 shooting, seven rebounds and five blocked shots.
“We were awesome on offense, we really, really were,” Gonzaga coach Mark Few said after his team made 69.4 percent from the field. “Some of the (stat) lines are just incredible. To shoot 69 percent for the game is incredible. … Literally everybody that got in the game did what we asked them to do and wanted them to do.”
Gonzaga trailed 7-0 early before turning on the afterburners. The Bulldogs led 61-49 at the half and reached the 100-point plateau with 6:49 remaining in the game.
“Our pace after makes and misses was good, ball movement, understanding where the mismatches were,” Nembhard said. “Everybody was just clicking together. One of those nights.”
The Broncos opened conference play with an 84-70 victory at Pacific on Wednesday, giving coach Herb Sendek his milestone 500th career win.
Sendek was doused in the locker room by his players with a couple of bottles of water and an ice bucket.
“They got me good there, not only with the wet, but it was cold,” Sendek said. “It was good to share with everybody.”
Playing for the first time since Dec. 21 because of coronavirus concerns, the Broncos had all five starters score in double figures.
Jalen Williams had a team-high 22 points, eight rebounds and five assists. Keshawn Justice added 17 points on five 3-pointers and had seven rebounds, Parker Braun scored 14 points, Josip Vrankic had 13 points, a game-high nine rebounds and three assists, and PJ Pipes scored 10.
“When the ball moves and guys are looking for the open man, good things happen,” said Sendek, whose team shot 53.3 percent from the field (32 of 60) and made 12 of 26 3-point shots. “I’m really proud of our guys. I felt they played with a lot of heart, great togetherness and came away with a good conference road win.”
Gonzaga has won 22 consecutive games in the series. The team’s last defeat to the Broncos came on Jan. 20, 2011, an 85-71 decision in Santa Clara.
–Field Level Media