Bulldogs Pass Early Test Against Mountaineers With Ease
SPOKANE, Wash. (AP) - Gonzaga faced an early test against West Virginia. Coach Mark Few was pleased with the results.
Gary Bell Jr. scored 15 points and No. 19 Gonzaga crushed the Mountaineers 84-50 on Monday night.
``It's nice to be able to face that type of athleticism and physical play and that type of pressure and be able to function,'' Few said.
``The defense was really good today,'' Few said after Gonzaga forced 20 turnovers. ``That was a great performance by our guys.
``I was worried we might get exploited on the glass,'' Few said, but the Bulldogs won the rebound battle 38-36.
Aaric Murray led West Virginia (0-1) with 14 points, while Jabari Hinds added nine.
The Mountaineers shot just 27 percent from the field in the game and never got their offense untracked. They were 3 of 26 from 3-point range.
``The first thing I think we need to do is we've got to find out who really wants to play and who doesn't,'' West Virginia coach Bob Huggins said. ``We don't compete.''
Gonzaga made only 4 of its first 15 shots, but led 15-2 after 8 minutes as West Virginia missed 9 of its first 10 shots. Sam Dower's stuff made it 21-6.
Gonzaga led 45-18 at halftime, thanks to 51 percent shooting that included 6 of 11 3-pointers.
Bell made consecutive baskets to push Gonzaga's lead to 34-12 with 4:44 left in the first half. At that point the Mountaineers had made 3 of 19 shots.
Gonzaga led 45-18 at halftime, thanks to 51 percent shooting that included 6 of 11 from 3-point range.
West Virginia shot only 21 percent in the first half, making 5 of 23 while committing 15 turnovers. They were only 1 of 13 from 3-point range.
The Mountaineers closed the gap a bit in the second half.
Matt Humphrey's steal and breakaway dunk cut Gonzaga's lead to 50-32 with 14:45 left. But Elias Harris replied with a 3-pointer for Gonzaga to push the lead back over 20.
Bell's basket for Gonzaga made it 68-37.
The schools' only other meeting was in the second round of the NCAA tournament last season, with Gonzaga winning 77-54. This was the first time the Mountaineers have played in the state of Washington.
Gonzaga opened the season with a 103-65 win over Southern Utah.