20200125 MBB v Pacific Action -CMcInelly

Joel Ayayi, Filip Petrusev and Killian Tillie smile on the bench. Gonzaga men's basketball defeated Pacific this Saturday by a score of 92-59.

Gonzaga men's basketball defeated the Pacific Tigers by a score of 92-59 on Saturday night in The Kennel. 

The Bulldogs (21-1, 7-0 West Coast Conference) have extended their win streak to 13 games including their home win streak of 35 straight games. The Zags came into the matchup against the Tigers a week after defeating rival BYU by a score of 92-69 in The Kennel. Killian Tillie led the way in that game with 22 points and 10 rebounds. 

Pacific (15-8, 3-4 WCC) had to make a quick turnaround after its 74-60 loss against BYU on Thursday. Jahlil Tripp led the Tigers in scoring that game with 18 points while shooting 7 for 11 from the floor. With its loss to the Zags, the Tigers have now lost three of their last four games. 

After a scary fall against BYU, forward Filip Petrusev made his presence felt on both ends from the opening tip. Petrusev scored the Zags first points in the opening minute and had a steal on the defensive end seconds later. Then later in the first half, the sophomore drove in the lane and managed to connect on a tough floater right as the shot clock expired. 

“I was just trying to be aggressive and not think about it,” Petrusev said, who finished with 15 points and six rebounds. 

“I think [Petrusev] showed a lot of toughness,” Coach Mark Few said. “Those ankle sprains are not easy to come back from, it’s a lot of pain”. 

The Tigers managed to cut their deficit to single digits after a Jahlil Tripp jumper made the score 30-22 in favor of GU midway through the first half. Tripp would finish the first half with 15 points, but that was the closest the Tigers would get the rest of the game. The Zags responded with two 3-pointers from Killian Tillie both courtesy of Ryan Woolridge assists. 

GU made 64.5% of its shots in the first half, including 62.5% from behind the arc. The halftime score favored the Zags 48-33. 

“Our offense was cooking,” Few said. 

The Bulldogs opened the second half with hustle and determination, led by forward Corey Kispert. After missed shots by both Tillie and Petrusev, Kispert grabbed the rebound and drew the foul while making a tough layup. The next possession had the same result as Kispert hustled for another rebound and was fouled. 

“Just doing everything I can to get myself going,” Kispert said. “In this case it was [offensive rebounding] and getting to the free-throw line”. Kispert tallied 16 points for the Zags. 

Defense was also key in a dominate second half for the Bulldogs. With the Zags up big, Drew Timme blocked a shot attempt by Pierre Crockrell II, and after a Tigers rebound it was Tillie’s turn to block Broc Finstuen’s attempt. 

Tillie and Timme accounted for nine of GU’s 10 blocked shots while holding the Tigers to just 23.5% shooting in the half. 

“[Pacific] likes to shoot layups and close shots so when we protect the rim like that, we’re pretty good defensively,” Kispert said. 

Tillie led the Zags in scoring with 22 points to go with 8 rebounds and 4 blocks. Guard Ryan Woolridge added 11 points, while Joel Ayayi and Admon Gilder each added 10 points. 

The Zags are on the road for their next game versus the Santa Clara Broncos on Thursday. The two teams met earlier in the month, a game the Bulldogs won 104-54 in The Kennel.

Cole Forsman is a staff writer. 

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