Petrusev leads No.8 Gonzaga over Bakersfield 77-49
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By NICHOLAS K. GERANIOS
SPOKANE, Wash. (AP) Gonzaga freshman forward Drew Timme didn’t like a recent trend where the No. 8 Bulldogs started slowly in games against Texas A&M and Texas-Arlington.
“We’ve started off slow and given some teams hope,” Timme said. “Good teams don’t do that.”
Gonzaga got out quickly on Saturday night and pounded Cal State Bakersfield 77-49.
“We played real good defense in this game,” said Timme, who scored 11 points and was one of five Zags in double figures. “We just got up and pressured. It was physical. That’s the kind of game we like.”
The Bulldogs hounded the Roadrunners into 40% shooting and 27 turnovers.
Gonzaga coach Mark Few said Timme is “a breath of fresh air.”
“He’s always giving you great effort and great toughness, on both ends,” Few said.
Filip Petrusev scored 15 points, Killian Tillie added 13, and and Admon Gilder and Joel Ayayi each added 10 for Gonzaga (6-0), which has won 26 straight regular season games, longest streak in the nation.
Justin Edler-Davis scored 11 points for Cal State Bakersfield (2-4), which has never beaten a ranked opponent.
Gonzaga shot just 44.9%, but made 25 of 39 free throws and committed just 10 turnovers.
The Roadrunners scored the first basket of the game. Gonzaga replied by scoring the next 10 points, including a pair of 3-pointers from Tillie.
Gonzaga led 21-10 midway through the first, by which time the Roadrunners had already committed 10 turnovers.
Tillie’s third 3-pointer lifted Gonzaga to a 30-17 lead.
Gonzaga led 39-21 at halftime, thanks to 52% shooting.
Cal State Bakersfield was hurt by 32% shooting and 15 turnovers in the first half.
Two free throws and two baskets by Timme ignited a 16-2 run that lifted Gonzaga to a 61-31 lead midway through the second. The Roadrunners could not overcome that margin.
“We were active on defense,” Few said.
Gonzaga also moved the ball well on offense, Few said.
Cal State Bakersfield coach Rod Barnes said his team did some things well.
“We got some good shots and good opportunities,” Barnes said.
“When you get behind to a team like that, it’s hard to fight your way back,” Barnes said.
Forward Corey Kispert continued to struggle on offense. He scored just four points in the game for Gonzaga. “A shooter has got to shoot,” Few said. “He’s taking all good shots.”
Cal State Bakersfield: The Roadrunners own wins over Notre Dame de Namur and Life Pacific this season. They have nine juniors and two sophomores on their roster.
Gonzaga: The Bulldogs have won all three previous meetings with Cal State Bakersfield. The Bulldogs have won 27 consecutive home games, second-longest streak in the nation. They have the highest winning percentage in the nation since the 2010-11 season, at .844 (244-45).
Cal State Bakersfield hosts Sam Houston State on Tuesday.
Gonzaga travels to the Battle 4 Atlantis in the Bahamas, where they face Southern Mississippi in the first round on Wednesday. Few has a 36-9 record in Thanksgiving week tournaments.
“We’ll go down and play some really, really good competition,” Few said of the tournament.
Asked why the Zags play so many Thanksgiving tournaments, Few said it is a fact of life for the program.
“If we want to be a national program, it’s what we have to do,” Few said. “There is a small group of teams that get invited to national tournaments.”
“It will be a tough three nights down there,” Few said.
Timme is also looking forward to the tournament.
“I can’t wait to go back to some warm southern weather,” Timme, who is from Texas, said.
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Updated November 23, 2019