No. 17 Gonzaga routs Howard
Gonzaga opened with a 12-1 run against Howard on Tuesday at McCarthey Athletic Center, and the Zags never looked back in a 106-69 victory.
“We did a nice job against that zone, and banging in those early (3-pointers) was huge,” Gonzaga assistant coach Brian Michaelson said on his post-game interview on the Gonzaga IMG Radio Network.
Gonzaga (2-0) scored 12 of its first 18 points from behind the 3-point line, and connected 14 times from deep on the night.
The No. 17 Zags played an offensive efficient and balanced game from the outset, scoring nine of their first 13 field goals off assists. On the night, Gonzaga scored 40 baskets off 22 assists, led by guard Josh Perkins’ six.
Perkins also contributed nine points in an even scoring distribution. The five Zags starters’ scoring totals ranged from eight points out of forward Killian Tillie, to 13 from forward Corey Kispert. Guard Silas Melson added 10 points, and forward Johnathan Williams scored 12 with a game-high nine rebounds.
Five Zags scored in double-figures, paced by a game-high and career-high 18 from Zach Norvell Jr.
“He can score. When he’s going, he’s going,” Gonzaga coach Mark Few said of Norvell in the post-game press conference. “There’s more to his game than shooting. He’s really good on ball screens, he’s a really good passer, he makes players better. I’ll try to encourage that more than just shooting every time he touches it.”
Forward Rui Hachimura scored a career-best 12 points. Guard Jesse Wade scored all nine of his points from behind the 3-point line.
Tuesday’s visit to Gonzaga marked the third leg in an arduous road swing to open the season for Howard (0-3). The Bison play their first seven games away from Burr Gymnasium in Washington D.C. They opened with losses at George Washington and Indiana, playing both to nine-point decisions.
Guard R.J. Cole led Howard with 16 points and four assists. Forward Cameron Lewis added nine points and five rebounds. Forward Zion Cousins had his second 10-rebound game in a row. Gonzaga opened its season with a combined margin of victory of 65. The Zags host Utah State Saturday before kicking off a challenging stretch that includes Ohio State, Creighton and No. 5 Villanova from Nov. 23 through Dec. 5.
“It will start getting more difficult on Saturday,” Few said. “The competition’s going to start amping up with Utah State...They’re much more physical than what we’ve been seeing.”
NOTES: Gonzaga F Johnathan Williams surpassed 1,000 career points (1,010) on Tuesday. ... Gonzaga reached triple digits for the first time since scoring 102 against South Dakota in December 2016, and its 106 points were the most since scoring 109 against Bryant on Nov. 18, 2016. ... The Zags’ 22 assists were a total they reached five times in their national runner-up 2016-17 season. ... Howard freshman G R.J. Cole is averaging 22 points per game through his first three. The Bison had the nation’s leading scorer, James Daniel III, in 2015-16. He transferred to Tennessee in the offseason.