Timme scores 32, leads No. 2 Gonzaga to rout of Santa Clara
SANTA CLARA, Calif. (AP) — Drew Timme scored 32 points and Andrew Nembhard had 19 as No. 2 Gonzaga routed Santa Clara 115-83 on Saturday for its 24th consecutive West Coast Conference victory.
The Bulldogs (14-2, 3-0 WCC), who lead the nation in both scoring and field goal percentage, eclipsed the century mark for the third consecutive game and shot 58.7% from the field (44 for 75) against the Broncos (11-6, 1-1).
Timme, a consensus preseason All-American, was 14-for-18 shooting, added eight rebounds, and had his way inside. The 6-foot-10 junior came out of the game with 8:48 remaining. Seven-foot freshman Chet Holmgren, expected to be a top pick in this year’s NBA draft, had 11 points and 12 rebounds.
“It’s amazing how easy he scores it,” Gonzaga coach Mark Few said of Timme. “He had a lot of traffic in there today. He’s unbelievable. He’s been an elite scorer in all of college basketball the last two years. And guys are doing a good job finding him.”
Jalen Williams had 17 points to lead Santa Clara, but the WCC’s leading scorer connected on just 6 of 16 shots.
The Broncos entered the day ranked 15th nationally in field goal percentage (49.1%), but they were held to just 39.7% shooting as the Bulldogs did not allow anything easy inside.
Gonzaga displayed its offensive firepower with a 27-5 first-half run that broke the game open.
Timme was set up for good looks inside, Rasir Bolton hit two 3-pointers and the Bulldogs also scored in transition to jump out to a 33-11 lead by the midpoint of the first half.
“I think they’re a phenomenal offensive team,” Santa Clara coach Herb Sendek said. “They execute, and, obviously, Timme right now is just at a whole other level with his efficiency and productivity.”
Timme didn’t mind exiting the game early and missing out on a chance to eclipse his career high of 37 points, set Nov. 13 against Texas.
“My favorite thing is taking care of business and … watching all my other bros get some buckets and stuff,” Timme said. “That’s the best for me.”
Timme had 21 points on 10-for-12 shooting by halftime, helping the Bulldogs to a comfortable 60-41 lead.
Gonzaga: The Bulldogs got out to a fast start and did not let the home team, or its fans, build up any hopes for an upset.
Santa Clara: The Broncos did not have the size inside to match up with Gonzaga and are usually a better 3-point shooting team. They hit just 8 of 26 shots from beyond the arc.
Santa Clara senior Keshawn Justice, who finished with 13 points, reached the 1,000-point mark for his career with the first of back-to-back 3-pointers in the first half. He’s the 36th player in program history to reach that number.
“I’m really happy for him,” Sendek said. “He’s had an outstanding career, a total team guy. He’s a tremendous person with a great family. He’s just been really good for us.”
Nine NBA scouts were credentialed for the game, and surely they were taking a close look at Holmgren, a 7-footer with unusual skills for a big man.
He dribbled coast to coast for a dunk in one second-half sequence and changed plenty of shots defensively.
Gonzaga: Plays Thursday at Pacific, having never lost to the Tigers during coach Mark Few’s tenure.
Santa Clara: Plays Thursday at Saint Mary’s, a team the Broncos beat by two points on the road last season.
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