Game Notes: First Round Running Diary
Live from Louisville/Morehead State, Vanderbilt/Richmond, BYU/Wofford, and St. Johns/Gonzaga.
7:56: Well, we have finally come to the night cap! Gonzaga and St. John’s! I have spent the last few minutes looking for a certain Gonzaga alumni that spent some time dolling out assists in the NBA.
7:59: Wow, what a start! Both teams up and down and hitting some early shots. Three minutes in, it is already 10-10.
8:07: I am kind of surprised that Gonzaga has decided to “go small” with no 7-footers. But, it is not hindering them, as some impressive offensive possessions spark them to a 19-14 lead.
8:12: For a team that is extremely offense-centric, the Zags are turning up the defense! Their half-court trap turns it over and Steven Gray finishes on the other end to give the “underdogs” a ten-point advantage.
8:19: Gonzaga Head Coach Mark Few finally puts Robert Sacre back in (after a dominate first minute of the game) along with fellow 7-footer Kelly Olynk. Also coming in is the young David Stockton who as a true freshman, appears to be a high school freshman, not a collegiate one.
8:33: Gonzaga is in complete control of this game, hitting open shots and controlling the glass. With six left, the Zags enjoy a 34-21 advantage.
8:41: St. John’s is now getting beat at their own game. Trapping, pressure defense and turning steals into easy baskets. With 2:00 left in the half, Gonzaga has stretched the lead to 14.
8:45: The Johnnies hold for the last shot of the half with Justin Brownlee nailing an 18-footer to bring to deficit back to 11 as the teams head to the locker room. 43-32, Gonzaga.
8:50: St. John’s Paris Horne and Dwight Hardy have been the main contributors for Head Coach Steven Lavin, who has spent the greater part of the first-half getting on the officials. I wonder if the calls might start going St. John’s way in the second half.
9:05: Halftime is winding down and there are just 20 more minutes of basketball remaining today. I chat up former UVM Head Coach Tom Brennan, who I spoke with at length during yesterday’s practice sessions. Coach is truly a good guy and was impressed with the way the Zags performed in the first half. Brennan is doing Westwood One radio alongside Ted Robinson.
9:09: St. John’s switch things up defensively moving to a match-up zone which seems to confuse the Zags for the first couple possessions of the second half. Elias Harris, Marquis Carter and Steven Gray promptly drain back-to-back-to-back threes. Problem solved.
9:12: At the “under-16” time-out, the Zags have bumped their halftime advantage back up to 14.
9:21: I got caught just watching the game for the last ten minutes. Some good back and forth action with each team knocking down 3-pointers. While the Johnnies’ 5-7 from long-range is outstanding, I might be even more impressed with Gonzaga’s 8-11 from long-range. The spacing and ball movement has allowed for a lot of those 11 shots to be “buck-naked” wide-open. With 11 and change remaining, the Zags still hold a 12-point advantage.
9:33: Gonzaga is scoring and shooting amazingly well, but they are winning this game (now a 17-point lead) with defense and rebounding. 7:22 remaining and time is running out for St. John’s.
9:45: The game has slowed down a bit, but with 5 left, the Zags still lead by 13.
9:54: As we near the 10 o’clock hour, the Zags continue to hold onto a double-digit lead.
10:04: It’s the second Big East team to fall in Denver, as St. John’s falls to Gonzaga by a final score of 86-71.
I want more basketball!! Who is playing next? Do I have to leave?
I will surely be back on Saturday with the Richmond/Morehead State game, as well as what should be a spirited WCC preview of next year with BYU facing Gonzaga.