SPOKANE — Top-ranked Gonzaga has the most potent offense in the country, but coach Mark Few thinks the Bulldogs can be really good on defense, too.
Edmonds native Corey Kispert scored 26 points on 9-of-11 shooting and Gonzaga shut down hot-shooting San Francisco in the second half to win 85-62 on Saturday.
“It was a great second half of defense against a pretty potent offense,” Few said. “We held them to 25% (shooting) in the second half.”
Joel Ayayi added 18 points and Andrew Nembhard had 14 for Gonzaga (10-0, 1-0), which has won 44 consecutive home games — the longest streak in the nation. Drew Timme had 10 points and 11 rebounds.
Jamaree Bouyea scored 18 points for San Francisco (7-5, 1-1), which has lost 20 consecutive games to Gonzaga since 2012. Dzmitry Ryuny added 11 points.
Both teams shot well in the first half. San Francisco took a 14-13 lead, but the Zags replied with a 12-2 run to go up 25-16.
San Francisco cut the lead to three several times. But the Zags closed with a 9-0 spurt, including Kispert’s long 3-pointer at the buzzer that gave the Bulldogs a 47-37 halftime lead.
Few said his team took too many quick shots in the first half, which allowed San Francisco to stay close.
“We didn’t make them guard us,” Few said. “That was a heck of a shot by Corey going into the half.”
Kispert had 18 points in the first half as Gonzaga shot 58%. Bouyea had 16 points to keep San Francisco within striking distance. But he scored only two in the second half.
The Zags scored the first seven points of the second half to complete a 16-0 run and led 54-37.
Anton Watson’s basket gave Gonzaga a 65-45 advantage with 12 minutes left as the Dons made only three of their first 13 shots in the second half. A 15-3 run pushed Gonzaga’s lead to 75-48 as the Dons went more than six minutes without a field goal.
The Dons ended up shooting only 38.9% for the game, compared to 52.6% for Gonzaga.
The Zags also won the rebound battle 40-25 and outscored the Dons in the paint by 44-24.
San Francisco coach Todd Golden said his team competed hard.
“I thought we did some good things, we just didn’t take care of the ball well enough and we let them get too many transition points,” Golden said. “If you allow that to happen against this team, you will make things difficult on yourself.
“I was proud of the way we competed,” he added. “We played till the end. We did a decent job.”