Gonzaga University crushed Texas in basketball on Saturday, 78-58. The Zags went up by as many as 26 points and led the entire game. They are now 10 games into their season with a 13-0 record while Texas is 4-10 after this loss to Gonzaga at home
Gonzaga beat Texas in basketball on January 5, 2019. Gonzaga is a private catholic university that was founded in 1887.
12:45 a.m. Eastern
The top-ranked Gonzaga Bulldogs defeated the No. 5 Texas Longhorns 86-74 on Saturday night in Spokane, Washington, reaffirming Mark Few’s club’s status as the men’s college basketball team to beat in one of the season’s most anticipated matches. Zags-Horns did not quite equal the entertainment value or intensity of UCLA-Villanova in a top-5 thriller the day before, but the way Gonzaga’s win played out had crucial consequences as onlookers attempted to stack the game’s national championship contenders. Gonzaga and Texas’ performances will continue to be a national talking topic, as both teams look set for lengthy March runs, which might pit them against each other in the NCAA tournament.
With that in mind, ESPN’s college basketball team of Myron Medcalf, Jeff Borzello, John Gasaway, and Joe Lunardi discussed the finer points of the Zags’ victory, including top Bulldogs Drew Timme and Chet Holmgren’s performances, as well as the way forward for a newcomer-laden Texas team that remains a talented work in progress.
On Saturday, Gonzaga seemed to be unstoppable. Based on what you witnessed versus Texas, what is similar and what is different about this squad compared to last season’s Zags? Are the adjustments important in terms of Gonzaga’s hopes for a national championship?
For most of the night, the Bulldogs seemed to be unstoppable, and Texas certainly had a role in that. Making your own shots is a decent strategy to slow down the Zags’ attack, but the Longhorns failed to piece together points until a strong second-half surge.
Drew Timme (career-high 37 points) was unstoppable when it came to being all-powerful. Of course, this is the aspect of Gonzaga that hasn’t changed from last season, and it’s nice to walk out on the court knowing that your leading scorer can go for 30-plus points while missing relatively few shots. Timme is the center of the Bulldogs’ attack, and he doesn’t have to be in the paint to perform his job. He’s at ease passing the ball and screening for open shooters on the perimeter.
Another thing that hasn’t changed from last season is Andrew Nembhard’s rock-solid guard performance. He’s the major assist producer in this offense, and he’ll have plenty of chances to add to his totals.
Even though the Zags didn’t need Chet Holmgren to score against Texas, we expect him to be a different player this season. Rasir Bolton, an Iowa State transfer, did score some points and seems to be a good match in Spokane. True, Gonzaga’s defensive rebounding was merely fair versus Texas. But this is a squad that can win it all with Timme, Nembhard, Holmgren, and Bolton.
— Gasaway, John
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Holmgren, on the other hand, revealed his defensive flaws. Texas went at him in the second half and tried all they could to pull him off his feet. It was successful. In the second half, he was called for a foul. That’s something I believe we’ll see more of in the future. Teams will attempt to pull Holmgren and Timme away from the hoop and generate fouls to get them out of the game, like Texas did in the second half against Gonzaga. When those two are on the floor together, I’m not sure how many teams will be able to stop them. Despite his lackluster offensive performance, Holmgren shown that he could have an influence on the game even if he didn’t score. Because of Holmgren’s presence, Texas was always sluggish to double Timme, despite his good start. Timme wasn’t without flaws (see: four turnovers). However, the talent level of others surrounding him will make it tough to double him, which should open up possibilities for Holmgren and others.
It’s also evident that Mark Few feels driven to employ both of them at the same time. While playing with Timme, Holmgren will have to find methods to make an impression. I also don’t believe he has to be overwhelmed by that notion, since there will be times this season when just one of them is on the court. However, this is Timme’s team. That was evident in Saturday’s victory.
Myron Medcalf is a writer who lives in the United States.
There were a lot of worries going into the season regarding Chris Beard’s Texas rotation and who may be the odd man/men out. Was the Gonzaga game fruitful in terms of providing answers?
Both yes and no. On the one hand, until Vanderbilt transfers, we may not have a clear sense of how Beard would distribute minutes. Dylan Disu is in good health and ready to compete in games. Following knee surgery in February, he has been gradually regaining strength. Disu will offer high-level rebounding abilities and another scoring threat to Texas’ frontcourt whenever he is cleared to play.
Beard was certainly looking for anything to slow down Drew Timme against Gonzaga, as seen by the minutes shuffle. Christian Bishop began at number five, although he didn’t play much in the second half. Tre Mitchell came off the bench to open the game, but he moved to the low post in the second half. Timmy Allen and Brock Cunningham played the most minutes of any of the frontcourt players, with Beard playing less minutes at times. Allen and Cunningham both played more minutes on Saturday than they did in the season-opening victory against Houston Baptist, so it’ll be a game-by-game trend to keep an eye on.
Courtney Ramey and the Texas rotation are set to see further changes in the near future. Young Kwak/AP Photo
From a minutes standpoint, Jase Febres has been a pleasant surprise on the perimeter. Returnees Courtey Ramey and Andrew Jones, as well as high-level Minnesota transfer Marcus Carr, were anticipated to get the most of the playing time, and they have, but Febres isn’t far behind. Febres, one of the team’s greatest shooters, played more minutes on Saturday than Jones, with the majority of his minutes coming in the second half, as Texas sliced into Gonzaga’s advantage.
While Texas’ rotation will be examined throughout the season, it’s worth mentioning that Mark Few has two five-star guards in Nolan Hickman and Hunter Sallis coming off the bench. There isn’t a team in the nation that can make that claim. After scoring 11 points off the bench in the opener, Hickman earned increased playing time in the second half on Saturday, while Sallis only saw four minutes in the first half against Texas. The evolution of the partnership throughout the course of the season will be interesting to see.
Rasir Bolton gets the shot off just in time and banks it in from half court for a 20-point advantage for the Zags.
What are the potential Bracketology ramifications of this outcome for Gonzaga, the current No. 1 seed? For Texas, the current 2-seed? In March, how will the NCAA selection committee evaluate a Nov. 13 result?
Gonzaga’s dominant win only serves to solidify the Bulldogs’ status as the nation’s best team. A defeat may have resulted in a switch of the top overall seeding — Kansas? UCLA? — but that’s no longer a concern as the season enters its second week. The Zags begin a comfortable three-game winning streak before facing UCLA and Duke in Las Vegas over Thanksgiving week.
Texas had a 2-seed (No. 8 overall) into the tournament in Spokane, but dropped to a 3-seed after their loss. Texas does not play another major game this month, so there is plenty of opportunity for the Horns to rejoin the debate for a higher seed. Northern Colorado, San Jose State, Cal Baptist, Sam Houston, and UT Rio Grande aren’t going to move the needle with five consecutive cupcakes.
In the end, huge November games are important, but only as one piece of a very vast pie. For the time being, the top seeds are Gonzaga, Kansas, and UCLA, in that order, plus Michigan. In other words, nothing has changed since opening night. The Zags, like last year, might very well be a predicted 1-seed throughout the season. Later findings from work-in-progress teams like Texas will be scrutinized more closely by the committee.
Joe Lunardi (Joe Lunardi)
Gonzaga beat Texas in basketball. The Zags won the game by a score of 69-65. Reference: gonzaga vs texas.
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