Business as usual.
That was Corey Kispert’s attitude following a resounding 116-61 win for his Gonzaga Bulldogs over the visiting Lewis-Clark State Warriors Friday night in the McCarthey Athletic Center.
“We expect to come out here and dominate these teams,” Kispert said. “Our goal every night is to go out and beat up on teams.”
Message received loud and clear, Mr. Kispert.
Anton Watson led the charge for the Zags, scoring a game high 28 points on 12-for-13 shooting from the field and adding nine rebounds and five assists in his collegiate debut.
“I just went out and played hard, and the outcome was good for me and good for the team,” Watson said postgame.
The majority of Watson’s points were a result of his defense. Using his length and intelligence, Watson was the X-factor for a Zags defense that forced 24 turnovers.
“He’s got great hands,” coach Mark Few said about Watson. “It’s great to be able to have a guy like that can play up front on the press.”
The Bulldogs were able to capitalize heavily off their stellar defense, as they scored 38 points off of Warriors turnovers, with 23 of them off fast breaks.
Watson was not the only freshman standout from Friday’s exhibition, as forward Drew Timme added 18 points on an efficient 9-for-10 shooting performance in his debut. Timme found a majority of his success around the basket, where his size and strength were too much for the Warriors to handle.
“[Watson and Timme] are beasts in the post,” Kispert said. “Post play and points in the paint were kind of our focus tonight”.
The Zags were able to expose the smaller Warriors team, scoring 74 points in the paint.
“We’ve got some big boys,” forward Filip Petrusev said, who found similar success down low, scoring 22 points on 9-for-12 shooting.
Along with dominant post play, the Zags were able to score quickly in transition, something that Bulldogs fans are used to seeing.
“We did a really good job of playing with good energy and getting out on the break and running,” Few said.
The Warriors were led by guard Travis Yenor, who scored a team-high 13 points. Hodges Bailey added 11 points while shooting 3-for-6 from behind the arc.
Entering Friday’s exhibition, the Warriors were 3-0 on the season and ranked 23rd in the nation among Division I NAIA schools.
This wasn’t the first time these two teams have played. GU has won all 11 matchups against LCSC dating back to 1973. The previous matchup was in 2013, where the Zags dominated by a score of 104-57 in Spokane.
The Zags will begin the regular season on Nov. 5 against Alabama State at the McCarthey Athletic Center.
“I’m really excited,” Watson said. “We’ve definitely got to bring it.”