Killian Tillie amassed 21 points and 10 rebounds to lead No. 12 Gonzaga to a sluggish 71-61 West Coast Conference win over Pacific on Thursday night at the Spanos Center in Stockton, Calif.
Josh Perkins chipped in 12 points while Johnathan Williams added a 10-point, 13-rebound double-double for the Bulldogs (22-4, 12-1 WCC). Zach Norvell and Rui Hachimura also contributed 10 points.
Gonzaga never trailed in the second half but couldn’t put the Tigers away because it made only 27.6 percent of its shots after halftime.
Pacific (12-14, 7-6) got 15 points from Roberto Gallinat before he fouled out. Miles Reynolds had 13 points and Jahlil Tripp added 12. However, the Tigers couldn’t take advantage of the Bulldogs’ leaden touch, making only 31 percent in the second half and 35.7 percent for the night.
Gonzaga looked as if it might blow the game open when Silas Melson canned two foul shots with 8:51 remaining for a 55-42 lead. However, Pacific kept working the game and managed to pull within 59-51 as Gallinat sank three foul shots with 2:35 left.
The Bulldogs got a tip-in from Tillie with 1:39 remaining to restore a 10-point edge and managed to keep the Tigers at bay with foul shooting after that. Gonzaga canned eight in a row in the final minute, enabling the Zags to stay a game behind Saint Mary’s for first place in the WCC.
Gonzaga landed the first punch with an 11-2 first-half run, opening up an 18-10 lead when Williams sank a jumper with 11:39 on the clock. Pacific stayed in touch, though, slicing the margin to 29-27 as Gallinat hit a 3-pointer at the 3:34 mark.
The Bulldogs tightened up defensively for the half’s remainder, allowing just two points and rebuilding their lead to 36-29 on the strength of Williams’ layup with 1:27 left before intermission.
The difference in the opening 20 minutes was shooting. While Gonzaga converted nearly 52 percent of its field-goal tries, the Tigers experienced troubles against a taller opponent, hitting only 11 of 27 field-goal attempts.
—Field Level Media