Watson leads No. 4 Gonzaga in 117-83 blowout of Pepperdine

Jan 8, 2022, 6:02 AM | Updated: 8:51 pm
Pepperdine forward Maxwell Lewis dunks during the first half of the team's NCAA college basketball ...
Pepperdine forward Maxwell Lewis dunks during the first half of the team's NCAA college basketball game against Gonzaga, Saturday, Jan. 8, 2022, in Spokane, Wash. (AP Photo/Young Kwak)
(AP Photo/Young Kwak)

SPOKANE, Wash. (AP) — Fourth-ranked Gonzaga had to postpone its first three conference games because of COVID-19 issues within the program, but when the Bulldogs got back on the basketball court, they were firing on all cylinders.

Anton Watson scored 19 points, Drew Timme and Chet Holmgren scored 18 each, and No. 4 Gonzaga routed Pepperdine 117-83 on Saturday night. The win extended the nation’s longest home winning streak to 60 games.

Hunter Sallis scored 13 and Rasir Bolton and Julian Strawther had 12 points each for Gonzaga (12-2, 1-0 West Coast Conference), which was playing its first game since Dec. 28.

“We have a lot of guys who can put the ball in the hole and we like to share,” Gonzaga coach Mark Few said.

“I think we were crisp” despite the layoff, Few said. “You worry about that. We were terrific on defense and played with great purpose on offense.”

Watson came off the bench to make 7 of his 12 shots and added six rebounds and a couple of steals.

“Anton was good around the basket,” Few said. “He’s finally asserting himself.”

Houston Mallette scored 21 points and Jan Zidek 16 for Pepperdine (6-10, 0-1), which was playing its first game since Dec. 23. Pepperdine had won four of its previous five games, but was hampered by 42.7% shooting and 18 turnovers.

Pepperdine coach Lorenzo Romar did not meet with reporters after the game.

Gonzaga has a 42-game winning streak in the series, with Pepperdine last beating the Zags in 2002. That’s the third longest streak in Division I history.

This game was decided early, and Gonzaga scored a season-high in points.

Timme scored nine points and Gonzaga made 10 of its first 12 shots to lead 26-7 barely five minutes into the game. Holmgren’s 3-pointer gave the Zags a 36-14 lead with about 10 minutes left in the first.

The Waves started making some shots, but Watson and Bolton pushed Gonzaga to a 63-41 lead at halftime and 56% shooting in the half.

Mallette led Pepperdine with 13 first-half points, but the Waves shot just 40% in the first and committed 10 turnovers.

Gonzaga opened the second half with a 13-1 run to take a 76-42 lead, and Timme’s basket put Gonzaga up by 40 at 92-52 with just over 11 minutes left.

FOUR TO THE DANCE

Few said the most important goal for the West Coast Conference in rescheduling postponed games is to strengthen the chances of sending four teams to the NCAA tournament. Gonzaga, BYU, Saint Mary’s and San Francisco all have a chance to get there, Few said, adding, “that has to be the priority.”

INSIDE GAME

Gonzaga scored 68 points in the paint, compared to 32 for the Waves. The Zags won the rebound battle 51-36.

POLL IMPLICATIONS

Gonzaga should stay put after handily defeating the Waves.

BIG PICTURE

Pepperdine: The Waves didn’t have enough firepower to hang with Gonzaga, which seemed to score at will. … After being off for 15 days because of COVID-19 issues, Pepperdine will now play seven games in 13 days.

Gonzaga: The Bulldogs have won 25 consecutive conference openers dating to 1996. … The Bulldogs came into the game leading the nation in field-goal shooting at 52.1%.

UP NEXT

Pepperdine: Hosts San Diego on Monday.

Gonzaga: Hosts rival Brigham Young on Thursday. The Cougars were the last WCC team to beat Gonzaga — on Feb. 22, 2019. The Zags have won 22 straight conference games since, which is the longest streak in the nation.

“We’ll be tested on Thursday,” Few said. “BYU always plays, crazy, crazy hard.”

___

More AP college basketball: https://apnews.com/hub/college-basketball and https://apnews.com/hub/ap-top-25-college-basketball-poll and https://twitter.com/AP_Top25

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

AP

Associated Press

Agent: Bills S Micah Hyde to go on season-ending IR

ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. (AP) — The agent for Buffalo Bills safety Micah Hyde announced Saturday that the team plans to place the starter on season-ending injured reserve because of a neck injury. Jack Bechta added in a message posted on his Twitter account that he expects Hyde to be healthy in returning for next season. […]
1 day ago
FILE - Floyd Mayweather Jr. stands in the ring before an exhibition boxing match against Logan Paul...
Associated Press

Mayweather says Japanese fans will ‘see the old pretty boy’

TOKYO (AP) — The undefeated Floyd Mayweather Jr. says Japanese fans will be able to “see a glimpse of the old pretty boy” when he fights the Manny Pacquiao-trained Mikuru Asakura in a three-round exhibition on Sunday. The 45-year-old Mayweather told reporters on Saturday that he is in good condition for the clash with Asakura, […]
1 day ago
South Korea's Kang Leeseul looks to pass the ball past Bosnia and Herzegovina's Andela Delic during...
Associated Press

Kang helps South Korea wins 1st World Cup game in 12 years

SYDNEY (AP) — Leesuel Kang scored 37 points to help South Korea rout Bosnia and Herzegovina 99-66 on Saturday, giving the Asian country its first win in the women’s World Cup in 12 years. South Korea (1-2), which has played in 16 consecutive World Cups — tied with the U.S. for most ever — hadn’t […]
1 day ago
United States players are congratulated by China following their game at the women's Basketball Wor...
Associated Press

Wilson, Gray lead US to 77-63 win over China in World Cup

SYDNEY (AP) — A’ja Wilson admitted she was tired. The WNBA MVP had just gotten to Australia less than 24 hours ago, fresh off a championship and the U.S. was playing its toughest opponent of the World Cup. After a slow start, Wilson was clutch in the fourth quarter, finishing with 20 points to help […]
1 day ago
St. Louis Cardinals designated hitter Albert Pujols, center, is surrounded by his family while spea...
Associated Press

Cards’ Pujols hits 700th home run, 4th player to reach mark

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Albert Pujols seemed like a long shot in early August to reach 700 home runs, still more than a dozen swings from the hallowed mark and his power stroke all but gone. Or so it appeared. Now showing the pop of his youth in the final weeks of his career, the […]
1 day ago
San Francisco Giants' David Villar celebrates with Austin Wynns (14) after hitting a two-run home r...
Associated Press

Davis hits go-ahead double in 9th, Giants beat D-backs 6-5

PHOENIX (AP) — J.D. Davis had the go-ahead RBI double in the ninth, Shelby Miller pitched 2 2/3 innings of scoreless relief in his season debut and the San Francisco Giants beat the Arizona Diamondbacks 6-5 on Friday night. The Giants rallied with two outs in the ninth off reliever Caleb Smith (1-3), who gave […]
1 day ago
Watson leads No. 4 Gonzaga in 117-83 blowout of Pepperdine