SPOKANE — After an underwhelming performance against North Dakota, Gonzaga coach Mark Few decided that starting post players Johnathan Williams and Killian Tillie would come off the bench Monday against IUPUI.
His message was received.
Tillie scored a career-high 27 points, and Williams added 17 points and 14 rebounds as No. 12 Gonzaga pounded IUPUI 101-71.
“They are fun to watch,” Few said of Williams and Tillie. “But when they don’t bring energy and physicality and toughness, we are not as good.”
Gonzaga (10-2), last year’s runner-up in the NCAA Tournament, needed overtime to beat North Dakota last Friday. Regulation time was plenty to handle the Jaguars.
The Bulldogs shot 68 percent while holding IUPUI to 39 percent. They won the rebound battle 38-24 and outscored the Jaguars 48-38 in the paint.
“I liked our energy better,” Few said. “We were really, really good on the offensive end.”
T.J. Henderson scored 18 points for UIPUI (2-8), which has lost six straight games. The Jaguars have lost all 17 games against ranked opponents in their history.
“As far as our guys going out and competing, I’m very proud of them,” IUPUI coach Jason Gardner said.
“They move the ball well,” Gardner said of the Zags. “I think everybody wants to move the ball like that.”
Tillie made 8 of 12 field goals and all 10 of his free throws.
“Tills did a good job attacking,” Few said. “We were way more aggressive. We were able to establish ourselves a little bit down low and get to the basket.”
Josh Perkins added 13 points and six assists for Gonzaga, which topped 100 points for the third time this season.
“I think he does a great job of getting guys the ball,” Gardner said of Perkins. “He’s real steady: never too high, never too low.”
Gonzaga went on an 18-7 run midway through the first half to take a 28-14 lead. Tillie had eight points during the run.
Gonzaga led 47-31 at halftime after holding the Jaguars to 33 percent shooting.
Tillie made four straight Gonzaga baskets as the Bulldogs built a 59-44 lead in the second.
Silas Melson’s basket pushed the Gonzaga lead to 20.
The Jaguars went on a 12-4 run to cut Gonzaga’s lead to 74-63 before the Bulldogs pulled away again.
“They are a hard-nosed team,” Few said. “They are a lot better than their record indicates.”