Gonzaga Bulldogs

No. 20 Gonzaga scores 1st 15 points, tops Santa Clara 101-52

SPOKANE, Wash. -  Silas Melson scored 19 points, Josh Perkins had 12 points and eight assists, and No. 20 Gonzaga cruised by Santa Clara 101-52 on Saturday night for its 16th straight victory in the series.

Gonzaga scored the first 15 points and was never threatened. Perkins made Gonzaga’s first shot for a 3-0 lead and he hit another 3 from the corner on the Bulldogs’ next possession. Johnathan Williams added a dunk and Zach Norvell Jr. had a putback and two free throws as the Bulldogs scored on their first five possessions.

Norvell finished with 14 points, Rice transfer Jeremy Jones scored a career-high 11, Rui Hachimura had 11 and Corey Kispert and Jacob Larsen each added 10 for Gonzaga (12-3, 2-0 West Coast Conference). The Bulldogs had a season-high 28 assists on 36 field goals.

It was the largest margin of victory over Santa Clara in 90 meetings, topping 43 points in 2013.

Emmanuel Ndumanya ended Santa Clara’s game-opening scoreless drought at the 14:39 mark with a hook shot in the lane. The Broncos were just 2 of 6 from the field over the first nine minutes with seven turnovers.

Norvell’s reverse layup and Hachimura’s alley-oop dunk briefly energized the quiet winter-break crowd at the McCarthey Athletic Center in the first half.

Gonzaga made its first 10 shots inside the arc and hit 8 of 17 first-half 3-pointers for a 52-25 lead at the break. Perkins had seven assists in the opening half as the Bulldogs had 16 helpers on 20 field goals en route to shooting 62.5 percent. The Broncos were undone by 10 first-half turnovers, leading to 11 fewer field-goal attempts, and the Zags’ hot shooting.

Ndumanya scored a career-high 12 points for Santa Clara (4-10, 1-1). KJ Feagin, who ranks second in the WCC in scoring at 18.7 points per game, was held to nine points on 3-of-9 shooting.

BIG PICTURE

Santa Clara: The Broncos’ guard-driven offense was outmatched against the bigger Zags. The Broncos’ defense entered ranked 343rd in the nation by allowing opponents to make 50.1 percent from the field. The Zags came in averaging 50.3 and finished at 54.5 against the Broncos. … Santa Clara has struggled in the first halves of its last three games, combining for just 72 points — including 25 against Gonzaga.

Gonzaga: The Bulldogs have combined for 23 3-pointers in their first two WCC games of the seasons. Gonzaga reached 10 3-pointers early in the second half, after makes by Silas Melson and Josh Perkins, for its 10th double-digit game of the season.

UP NEXT

Santa Clara: At Loyola Marymount on Thursday.

Gonzaga: At Pepperdine on Thursday.


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