No. 13 Gonzaga Avenges Loss with Rout of Loyola Marymount
LOS ANGELES (AP) — Julian Strawther scored 28 points and No. 13 Gonzaga avenged an earlier loss to Loyola Marymount with a 108-65 rout Thursday night.
Loyola Marymount snapped Gonzaga’s 75-game home winning streak with a 68-67 victory on Jan. 19, but the Lions were no match this time. Six players scored in double figures for the Bulldogs as they led the entire game and opened a 51-point advantage less than six minutes into the second half.
According to STATS Perform, it was the largest road win by a Division I team in the last 40 years against a team they had lost to at home earlier in the season.
“Our defense was good, probably as good as we've been all year,” Gonzaga coach Mark Few said. “We kept our intensity, even in the second half. It is something we can really draw on moving forward.”
Anton Watson had 16 points and Drew Timme scored 13 for Gonzaga (22-5, 11-2 WCC), which remained one game behind first-place Saint Mary's in the West Coast Conference.
Cam Shelton, who made the game-winning basket in the first meeting, led Loyola Marymount (17-11, 7-7) with 15 points. Keli Leaupepe had 13.
Strawther has scored at least 25 points in three of the past six games. The junior guard had 22 points in the first half as the Bulldogs built a 68-28 lead at halftime.
Gonzaga had an early 5-4 advantage before it took control with 20 straight points. Strawther had seven points during the run, including a four-point play and a dunk off an alley-oop after getting the pass from Malachi Smith.
“Ever since that first game we had this one circled on the calendar. We wanted to return the favor,” Strawther said. “I'm glad that we dominated for 40 minutes. That was the big emphasis.”
The Lions were held scoreless for 5:14 before Jalin Anderson's jumper in the lane ended the spurt. They committed six turnovers during the first six minutes of the game.
“I thought they threw the first punch and kept punching,” Loyola Marymount coach Stan Johnson said of Gonzaga. “We never responded. They did a great job taking us out of our stuff, especially the pick-and-rolls. Once things got hard for us offensively, we let that affect our defense.”
The Bulldogs made 14 of their first 16 from the field and ran out to a 35-10 lead. Their largest advantage of the first half came on a dunk by Smith with three seconds remaining after he stole the ball from Shelton near midcourt.
It was the eighth time this season the Bulldogs scored at least 100 points. They lead the nation in offense, averaging 87.1 points per game.
“Certainly Loyola had our attention after what they did to us up in Spokane. But I hope we’re feeling that this thing is winding down and we're getting closer (to the end of the regular season). We've got three games left now (until the conference tournament),” Few said.
Gonzaga: The Bulldogs extended their road winning streak against unranked foes to 41. They shot 40 of 66 from the field, marking the fifth time this season they have made at least 60%.
Loyola Marymount: The Lions have two wins over top-15 teams for the first time in program history, but have dropped four of their last five.
Gonzaga: Remains in Southern California to face Pepperdine on Saturday.
Loyola Marymount: Hosts Pacific on Saturday in its regular-season home finale.