SAN FRANCISCO — Top-ranked Gonzaga has played five straight road games in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic, but Drew Timme and the rest of the Bulldogs didn’t show it against San Francisco on Saturday.
Timme scored 28 points and grabbed 10 rebounds as undefeated Gonzaga blasted San Francisco 100-61, lifting the Bulldogs to at least 20 wins for the 24th consecutive season.
Aaron Cook, Joel Ayayi and Corey Kispert each scored 12 points for Gonzaga (20-0, 11-0 West Coast), which won its 24th consecutive game dating to last season.
“I don’t think we played five road games in a row even when we were crappy in the early 1990s,” coach Mark Few said. “The guys deserve a lot of credit.”
Traveling and staying in hotels is not much fun these days, Few said.
Despite watching his team score 100 points, Few praised Gonzaga’s defense which held the Dons to 35% shooting and locked down their lethal long-range shooting.
“They are averaging 10 or 11 3’s in wins,” Few said. “They are a really dangerous team. That might have been one of our better, if not best, games … in executing the plan.”
Khalil Shabazz and Jamaree Bouyea each scored 14 points for San Francisco (10-10, 4-6), which lost for the 21st consecutive time to Gonzaga since its last victory in 2012.
Earlier Saturday, the Bulldogs were the No. 1 overall seed in rankings released by the NCAA Division I Men’s Basketball Committee. Selection Sunday is a month away. They played like the top seed against the Dons.
Timme, who made 11 of his 12 shots in the game, scored 15 of Gonzaga’s first 17 points as the Bulldogs jumped to a 17-3 lead.
“I felt good. It was fun,” the power forward said. “Coach tells us to come out aggressive and not start slow. We jumped on them early and didn’t take our feet off the gas.”
San Francisco missed its first 10 shots from the field and it wasn’t until Anthony Roy scored with 11:38 left in the first that the Dons got their first field goal. At that point they trailed 20-6.
Timme made his first eight shots from the field, including a pair of 3-pointers, as Gonzaga built a 37-18 lead.
San Francisco, one of the nation’s best 3-point shooting teams, missed its first 12 shots from distance.
Timme had 21 points and seven rebounds in the first half as Gonzaga led 48-26. The Zags held San Francisco to 31% shooting and forced the Dons into 12 turnovers in the first.
San Francisco finally started to hit some long shots early in the second half, but by then they were down 69-39 with 12 minutes left.
Coach Todd Golden said his team had a long layoff because of COVID-19 protocols and still is not back to full strength. “It’s a little bit of a start-over for us. We’ve got to dig down and find our identity again in conference play.”
He had praise for Timme.
“He might be the most underrated player in the country,” Golden said. “He really makes them go.”
San Francisco: The Dons are only 4-44 against Gonzaga since Mark Few became coach of the Bulldogs more than two decades ago. The Dons have played only two games since Jan. 23.
Gonzaga: The Bulldogs have not been challenged much in conference play. In the first 400 minutes of conference play this season, covering 10 games, the Zags have only trailed for 45 minutes and 58 seconds. Gonzaga and No. 2 Baylor are the only two unbeaten teams in the nation. Gonzaga remains first in the nation in scoring offense (92.7 ppg) and field goal percentage (54.8%).
Gonzaga has won 17 consecutive games by double digits. That’s the longest streak within a season by an Associated Press No. 1 team since 1990-91 UNLV won 19 games in a row by 10 or more.