EditorsNote: changes turnover stat in fifth graph
Zach Norvell Jr. and Geno Crandall stroked consecutive 3-pointers to snap a late tie Saturday night as No. 5 Gonzaga finally pulled away from upstart San Francisco for a 96-83 West Coast Conference win at San Francisco.
Norvell’s 3-ball gave the Bulldogs (16-2, 3-0) an 84-81 edge with 2:58 left, and Crandall added his only bucket of the game 42 seconds later for a six-point lead. Gonzaga finished the game on a 15-2 run, spoiling the Dons’ hopes of taking first place in the WCC and perhaps jumping into the Top 25 on Monday.
Brandon Clarke led five Zags in double figures with 24 points and nine rebounds while Rui Hachimura scored 21 points. Josh Perkins added 16 points, all in the second half, while Killian Tillie came off the bench for 14 points before fouling out. Norvell finished with 13.
Six players reached double digits for USF (14-3, 2-1), paced by Frankie Ferrari with 21 points. Charles Minlend scored 14 while Nate Renfro and reserve Matt McCarthy each tallied 12. Jimbo Lull and Jordan Ratinho chipped in 10 points apiece.
The teams combined for just nine turnovers in a very well-played game. Gonzaga hit 52.2 percent of its field goals and earned a 42-38 edge in rebounding.
In the biggest game played in USF’s old gym in years, the Dons came out and traded punches with Gonzaga for the first 8 1/2 minutes. A 3-pointer by Minlend at the 11:37 mark allowed them to forge a 16-16 tie.
Then the Bulldogs made their first big run. Tillie tipped in Hachimura’s missed 3-pointer to start it and added a 3-pointer and another tip-in. When Hachimura sank a jumper in the lane, Gonzaga opened up a 31-21 lead with 6:51 left.
USF controlled the half’s remainder, with Ferrari delivering key buckets in a 16-6 spurt. He canned a pair of short jumpers that helped pull it within three points, then drove the lane and drained a floater with 6 seconds remaining to even the score at 37 at the half.
—Field Level Media