No. 5 Gonzaga, No. 10 USC pick up wins in Phoenix at Colangelo Classic

Dec 18, 2021, 7:30 PM

Chet Holmgren #34 and teammates of the Gonzaga University Bulldogs prepare for a game against the T...

Chet Holmgren #34 and teammates of the Gonzaga University Bulldogs prepare for a game against the Texas Tech Red Raiders during the Jerry Colangelo Classic at Footprint Center on December 18, 2021 in Phoenix, Arizona. (Photo by Norm Hall/Getty Images)

(Photo by Norm Hall/Getty Images)

PHOENIX (AP) — Gonzaga went into its game against Texas Tech expecting to be pushed, poked and prodded. The Red Raiders may have a new coach, but they still have one of college basketball’s most aggressive defenses.

The key to withstanding it would be to execute and not get frustrated.

The Zags did both.

Andrew Nembhard scored 16 points, Rasir Bolton added 15 and No. 5 Gonzaga fought off No. 25 Texas Tech’s tenacious defense for a 69-55 win in the Colangelo Classic on Saturday.

“Anytime you play Texas Tech, we talked all week about really having to amp our toughness up,” Gonzaga coach Mark Few said. “It’s not only physical toughness, it’s mental toughness. Baskets are hard to come by and it’s hard to get baskets in the half court, so I was proud of our guys in both aspects.”

The Bulldogs (9-2) withstood Texas Tech’s defensive pressure most of the afternoon in the desert, limiting turnovers while working the ball around for open looks.

The Red Raiders doubled down on the post nearly every possession, holding Timme to seven points on 2-of-4 shooting and freshman phenom Chet Holmgren to five points on 1-of-5 shooting.

Gonzaga overcame it by working the ball out to the 3-point arc, where they shot 13 of 31. The Zags went to the 3 to pull away, hitting four during a big second-half run to stretch an eight-point halftime lead to 16.

“I guess that’s what we’re made of, who we are,” said Bolton, who made five 3-pointers. “We weather a run and come out on top in the game.”

The Red Raiders (8-2) struggled offensively without leading scorer Terrence Shannon Jr., who didn’t play after leaving Tuesday’s game against Arkansas State with back spasms. Texas Tech shot 37% and wasn’t able to mount a charge after Gonzaga’s big second-half run.

Kevin McCullar and Adonis Arms had 14 points each to lead the Red Raiders.

“Any team that has the talent and caliber of player of TJ Shannon, it’s going to make a difference,” Texas Tech coach Mark Adams said. “He’s a problem for other teams and makes a big difference for us on offense.”

Texas Tech has made a seamless transition to Adams since Chris Beard left for Texas. The Red Raiders rolled through their early schedule, lost a close game at Providence and knocked off No. 18 Tennessee in overtime at Madison Square Garden.

Texas Tech has played the kind of defense Adams helped Beard establish during five seasons in Lubbock, entering Saturday’s game fifth in defensive efficiency, according to KenPom.

The Red Raiders faced their biggest test yet against a Gonzaga team that leads the nation in shooting at 53% and is second in offensive efficiency.

“Gonzaga is such an efficient team and does so many things well,” Adams said. “We were able to keep Timme and Chet both in check. I thought we did a good job with those guys — that was our emphasis — but they’re such a balanced offensive team they got the ball to those 3-point shooters and made some shots.”

No. 10 USC vs. Georgia Tech

Southern California passed up shots early, took a few bad ones, threw weak passes that Georgia Tech’s players easily picked off.

Once the Trojans became more aggressive, the Yellow Jackets couldn’t stop them.

Boogie Ellis scored 16 points, Drew Peterson added 14 and No. 10 USC overcame a shaky start to beat Georgia Tech 67-53 on Saturday in the Colangelo Classic.

“Our players just have to keep shooting,” USC coach Andy Enfield said. “We were hesitant early in the game, turned down some open shots to drive it, then we were hesitant with our passing. Once we were more aggressive and flowed into a good offensive rhythm, I thought we played really well.”

The Trojans (11-0) needed some time to solve Georgia Tech’s aggressive zone, relying on their defense early before pulling away from the Yellow Jackets. USC went on a big run to lead by nine at halftime and kept making shots in the second to remain undefeated.

Ellis was the ringleader, hitting 7 of 14 shots and grabbing seven rebounds after scoring 19 points the four previous games combined.

“It was just realizing I can’t rely on my jump shot so much,” Ellis said. “Just taking what the defense is giving me. I feel like the last few games I haven’t really been getting inside the paint.”

Georgia Tech (5-5) has labored through a gauntlet of tough games, losing to Wisconsin, North Carolina and No. 19 LSU before arriving in the desert. The Yellow Jackets’ biggest issue has been scoring — 207th in Division I — and it continued against the long, athletic Trojans.

Georgia Tech had some good moments in the first half but finished 33% from the floor and 5 for 19 from the 3-point arc.

Michael Devoe led the Yellow Jackets with 25 points.


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No. 5 Gonzaga, No. 10 USC pick up wins in Phoenix at Colangelo Classic