Thursday night was a potential trap game for the Gonzaga Bulldogs leading up to their key non-conference tilt Saturday night against SMU. The Zags, however, took care of business in a big way with a 92-66 blowout win over conference foe Portland. The Zags coming into the game had won five straight in WCC play, and they used a 12-1 run at the start of the second half to pull away from the pesky Pilots. Portland (11-16, 5-9), which has always been a tough road environment in conference play, gave Gonzaga (20-5, 12-2) all it could handle for the first 20 minutes. Then the second half began, and it was all Zags from that point on.
Kyle Wiltjer had a game high 21 points, and Domantas Sabonis recorded his team high 15th double-double of the season to fuel the Zags. Jarrel Marshall, the sixth man for Portland had a career high 25 points for the Pilots. It wasn’t enough though, as Gonzaga, who led by 9 at halftime, went on a three point barrage in the second half to pull away early. The Zags, who hit four 3-pointers to begin the half, had a 56-36 lead with just over 15 minutes to play. Portland was never a threat after that.
This game showcased one of the Zags’ best offensive performances all season, as they hit 15 threes to Portland’s 3, which ultimately was the difference in the game. The Zags shot 53% from the field and had 22 assists on 31 field goals. They limited turnovers, made their free throws, and ultimately played unselfish team basketball. This is the kind of Gonzaga team we expected to see all year.
The Bulldogs are getting hot at the right time as March is right around the corner. They have now won six straight games since the loss to St. Mary’s, and the Bulldogs are really coming into their own as they head to Dallas for their game against SMU. The Zags now sit at the top of the WCC Standings, 1.5 games ahead of second place St. Mary’s. Portland, who does not play this weekend, has a big game of their own next Thursday night when they will host St. Mary’s at the Chiles Center.