Nate Austin, Kelly Olynyk

No. 10 Gonzaga shows no signs of Butler ‘hangover’ in 83-63 win over BYU

1 Comment

Given the way in which No. 10 Gonzaga lost at Butler on Saturday night, with a turnover leading to Roosevelt Jones’ game-winner as time expired, it would have been easy for many teams to suffer a hangover of sorts.

That wasn’t an issue for Mark Few’s Bulldogs however, as the Bulldogs went on a 23-6 run in the first half on their way to a decisive 83-63 win over BYU in Spokane. Instead of simply going through the motions Gonzaga removed any doubt as to what the outcome would be before the game even reached halftime.

The play of big men Elias Harris and Kelly Olynyk was just one reason why Gonzaga was so effective on both ends of the floor. Harris finished with 25 points and ten rebounds and Olynyk led all scorers with 26 points to go along with nine rebounds and five assists.

How good was Olynyk? He didn’t miss a single shot, going 9-of-9 from the field and 8-of-8 from the foul line, and adding more evidence to the argument that he’s the favorite for WCC Player of the Year honors.

As a team the Bulldogs (18-2, 5-0 WCC) shot 56.9% from the field, doing a good job of finding quality looks from the field despite turning the ball over 19 times (the first time Gonzaga’s turned the ball over more than 16 times in a game this season). However Gonzaga’s emphatic victory wasn’t solely about what they were able to do offensively.

BYU sophomore guard Tyler Haws entered Thursday’s game as the leading scorer in the WCC and slowing him down was clearly something Gonzaga had to do in order to ensure victory. Haws finished the night having scored just one point on 0-of-9 shooting from the field, and when your leading scorer shoots that poorly it’s almost impossible to beat Gonzaga at The Kennel.

Overall BYU shot just 35.6% from the field, and after seven straight games of allowing opponents to shoot 40% or better from the field Gonzaga showed a renewed sense of urgency on the defensive end of the floor. That effort is something the Bulldogs can build upon, beginning with San Francisco on Saturday night.

Brandon Davies and Josh Sharp scored 14 points apiece for the Cougars (15-6, 5-2), who find themselves still in search of a victory that will bolster their NCAA tournament resume. As for Gonzaga, it was back to business as they continue on their quest to return to the top of the WCC.

Raphielle also writes for the NBE Basketball Report and can be followed on Twitter at @raphiellej.

Stanford loses key veteran guard to stress fracture

Marcus Allen
AP Photo
Leave a comment

Stanford guard Marcus Allen will be out indefinitely after suffering a stress fracture in his right foot, the school announced on Monday evening.

“We want to make sure Marcus is fully healthy before returning to the court,” Stanford coach Johnny Dawkins said in a statement. “Marcus played at a high level during our summer exhibition competition in Italy, where he was one of our leading scorers. We will certainly miss him as we continue to prepare for the season, but we are fortunate that this happened now and he will be back before he knows it.”

The loss of Allen is a potentially brutal blow in an already-thin back court. The 6-foot-3 Allen started 23 games as a sophomore last season, averaging 6.4 points and 3.5 boards. But he averaged 11.4 points and 5.4 boards as the Cardinal made a run to the NIT championship and looked poised to be able to replace the departed Chasson Randle’s production this year.

What’s worse is that without Allen, Stanford does not return a single player in their back court that averaged more than 11.5 minutes. Sophomore Robert Cartwright looks poised to step into the starting point guard role, but neither Dorian Pickens nor Christian Sanders looked like they were ready for that kind of role in the Pac-12 last season. Dawkins does return Malcolm Allen, Marcus’ twin brother, who sat out last season with a broken wrist.

The good news is that Stanford’s front court is strong enough to carry the Cardinal until Marcus is healthy. Rosco Allen, Reid Travis and Michael Humphrey will be able to hold their own against any front line in the Pac-12, while Grant Verhoeven and freshman Josh Sharma will provide adequate depth.

Utah lands top-75 center Jayce Johnson

Larry Krystkowiak
AP Photo
Leave a comment

Utah picked up its center of the future on Monday as four-star center Jayce Johnson pledged to the Runnin’ Utes, a source confirmed to The 7-foot Johnson recently cut his list to Cal, Colorado and Utah with the possibility of reclassifying to the Class of 2015.

Regarded as the No. 67 overall prospect in the Class of 2016, Johnson will look to attend Utah in December as a walk-on who will redshirt. While Johnson likely won’t play this season, he does give head coach Larry Krystkowiak another big man to use in practice to go against sophomore center Jakob Poeltl. A solid long-term prospect, Johnson has a good frame to add weight and he’s also skilled finishing with both hands. Utah now has its replacement for Poeltl if he opts to leave for the NBA after the season and he gets an extra semester to work with the program.

Johnson is coming off of his official visit to Utah this weekend as he joins junior college guard Jojo Zamora in the Class of 2016.