SPOKANE, Wash. – Gonzaga faced an early test against West Virginia. Coach Mark Few was pleased with the results.
Gary Bell Jr. scored 15 points and No. 19 Gonzaga crushed the Mountaineers 84-50 Monday night.
“It’s nice to be able to face that type of athleticism and physical play and that type of pressure and be able to function,” Few said.
Guy Landry Edi added 14 points for Gonzaga (2-0), which shut down the Mountaineer shooters. Kevin Pangos scored 13 points, Elias Harris 11 and Mike Hart 10 for the Zags.
“The defense was really good today,” Few said after Gonzaga forced 20 turnovers. “That was a great performance by our guys.
“I was worried we might get exploited on the glass,” Few said, but the Bulldogs won the rebound battle 38-36.
Aaric Murray led West Virginia (0-1) with 14 points, while Jabari Hinds added nine.
The Mountaineers shot just 27 percent from the field in the game and never got their offense untracked. They were 3 of 26 from 3-point range.
“The first thing I think we need to do is we’ve got to find out who really wants to play and who doesn’t,” West Virginia coach Bob Huggins said. “We don’t compete.”
Gonzaga made only 4 of its first 15 shots, but led 15-2 after 8 minutes as West Virginia missed 9 of its first 10 shots. Sam Dower’s stuff made it 21-6.
Gonzaga led 45-18 at halftime, thanks to 51 percent shooting that included 6 of 11 3-pointers.
Bell made consecutive baskets to push Gonzaga’s lead to 34-12 with 4:44 left in the first half. At that point the Mountaineers had made 3 of 19 shots.
Gonzaga led 45-18 at halftime, thanks to 51 percent shooting that included 6 of 11 from 3-point range.
West Virginia shot only 21 percent in the first half, making 5 of 23 while committing 15 turnovers. They were only 1 of 13 from 3-point range.
The Mountaineers closed the gap a bit in the second half.
Matt Humphrey’s steal and breakaway dunk cut Gonzaga’s lead to 50-32 with 14:45 left. But Elias Harris replied with a 3-pointer for Gonzaga to push the lead back over 20.
Bell’s basket for Gonzaga made it 68-37.
The schools’ only other meeting was in the second round of the NCAA tournament last season, with Gonzaga winning 77-54. This was the first time the Mountaineers have played in the state of Washington.
Gonzaga opened the season with a 103-65 win over Southern Utah.