Wiltjer leads No. 25 Gonzaga over San Diego 88-52
SPOKANE, Wash. (AP) — A one-point home loss to BYU that made Gonzaga players “sick to our stomachs” was not something Coach Mark Few wanted to repeat.
Few urged his three starting guards to up their game, and No. 25 Gonzaga beat San Diego 88-52 on Saturday night.
“I loved how our guards stepped up,” Few said.
Guards Bryan Alberts, Josh Perkins and Eric McClellan combined for 22 points, and Kyle Dranginis came off the bench to score nine.
That took the pressure off forwards Kyle Wiltjer, who scored 25 points, and Domantas Sabonis, who had 14 points and 15 rebounds.
“We got after those guards Friday to take shots,” Few said. “They can’t just throw it in to the posts.”
Center Ryan Edwards came off the bench to add 10 points for Gonzaga (14-4, 6-1 West Coast).
That allowed Few to give some rest to Wiltjer and Sabonis, who have been playing heavy minutes.
“Ryan seemed like he got comfortable,” Few said.
Duda Sanadze had 21 points for San Diego (6-11, 1-5). The Toreros lost to Gonzaga for the 36th time in the past 39 games.
“Once they get going, it’s hard to stop them,” San Diego forward Brett Bailey said.
“You can’t let him get going early,” Bailey said of Wiltjer.
San Diego shot just 31 percent in the game, compared to 57 percent for Gonzaga. The Bulldogs won the rebound battle 46-29 and made 11 of 18 from 3-point range.
“When we are hitting shots we are such a deadly team,” Wiltjer said. “We made them shoot tough twos.”
Wiltjer, who made 10 of 15 shots, leads the WCC in scoring at 22.3 points per game and had topped 30 points for three straight games.
Gonzaga made its first five shots of the game but the score was tied 12-12.
Sanadze’s 3-pointer for San Diego tied it at 19.
Wiltjer and Josh Perkins replied with 3-pointers as Gonzaga went on a 14-0 run for a 33-19 lead. The Toreros were scoreless for six minutes during that run, missing 11 shots.
Gonzaga led 46-27 at halftime, behind 16 points from Wiltjer. The Bulldogs shot 64 percent in the first half, to just 33 percent for San Diego.
San Diego opened the second half with an 8-0 run to cut Gonzaga’s lead to 46-35.
Gonzaga replied with a 12-0 run to push the lead back to 23 points. San Diego was scoreless for more than five minutes and sank only 4 of 17 shots to open the second half.
Gonzaga poured it on, extending the lead to 75-39 with 6:30 left in the game.
Thursday’s 69-68 loss to BYU was Gonzaga’s third home loss of the season, the most for the Bulldogs since the 1990-91 campaign.
Gonzaga made 61 percent of its 3-point shots, compared to 57 percent of its total field goals.
San Diego shot just 29 percent in the second half and made just 5 of 26 from 3-point range in the game (19 percent).
San Diego: Lamont Smith is in his first season as head coach, after playing for the Toreros ... Sanadze is the only player scoring in double figures with an average of 13.1 ... Jito Kok came in leading the WCC with 44 blocked shots ... Four San Diego starters are from overseas, while the fifth is from Spokane.
Gonzaga: Gonzaga has already lost more games this season than the three they lost all of last season ... freshman guard Josh Perkins is averaging 14 points and 4.3 assists in WCC play ... forward Domantas Sabonis came in averaging 18 points and 10.7 rebounds, and shooting 64.6 from the floor.
San Diego plays at Pepperdine on Thursday night.
Gonzaga plays at Saint Mary’s on Thursday night.