SPOKANE. — Gonzaga is one of the nation’s elite offensive teams. On Thursday night, the Zags showed they can also grind out a defensive win.
Johnathan Williams scored 14 points and grabbed 12 rebounds as Gonzaga edged stubborn San Diego 69-59.
“We kind of needed it,” Gonzaga’s Zach Norvell Jr. said of the grinder. “We want to see what kind of guys we’ve got.”
Norvell had two clutch 3-pointers in the closing minutes to keep the Zags ahead.
The game featured poor shooting by both teams, and was close throughout.
“We got punched in the mouth a couple of times,” Gonzaga coach Mark Few said. “We reacted the right way.”
Norvell, who finished with 13 points, has got a knack for late game heroics Few said.
“He’s got a lot of confidence in himself,” Few said of the freshman from Chicago.
Josh Perkins also scored 13 points and Silas Melson added 12 for Gonzaga (20-4, 10-1 West Coast), which has won 18 of the past 19 games against the Toreros.
Olin Carter III scored 21 points for San Diego (15-8, 6-5), a surprise team in the league this year.
“I thought we did a great job defensively,” San Diego coach Lamont Smith said. “We just had a hard time boxing out.”
“We gave them too many second chance opportunities and it’s hard to do that and win on the road.”