Thursday, January 30, 2020

NCAAB Game Preview: Gonzaga vs. Santa Clara - 1/30/2020 - 10:30 PM EST

NCAAB Game Preview: Gonzaga vs. Santa Clara - Date: 1/30/2020 Jan 29, 2020Second-ranked Gonzaga is routinely recording blowout victories, and that might not be a good thing for Santa Clara.Just two weeks after the Bulldogs routed the Broncos by 50 points, the two teams meet again Thursday in a West Coast Conference tilt at Santa Clara, Calif.The 104-54 trouncing in Spokane, Wash., on Jan. 16 marked the fourth time in the past five meetings that Gonzaga has defeated the Broncos by at least 43 points. Among the wins was last season's 98-39 steamrolling at Santa Clara.The Bulldogs have beaten the Broncos (17-5, 4-3 WCC) on 20 consecutive occasions.Gonzaga (21-1, 7-0) looks formidable entering this matchup after winning its past five games by an average of 35 points. Free Pick. The latest triumph was a 92-59 home win over Pacific on Saturday, the Zags' 13th victory i n a row.The Bulldogs committed just seven turnovers and had six players score in double digits while shooting 56.9 percent from the field, including 9 of 18 from 3-point range."We're just balanced," Gonzaga coach Mark Few told reporters afterward. "We don't just have one guy we go to. Good Return on Investment. They understand that and have complete buy-in and really enjoy moving it around and finding each other." Senior forward Killian Tillie has matched his season high of 22 points in each of the past two games and has tallied at least 20 in four of the past seven contests.Tillie made 9 of 11 shots against Pacific -- including 4 of 5 from 3-point range -- and also contributed eight rebounds and matched his career best of four blocks.Tillie has increased his average to 13.3 points per game, third on the squad behind sophomore forward Filip Petrusev (16.1) and junior forward Corey Kisper t (14.5) for a team that leads the nation in scoring at 89 points per game.Kispert scored 16 points against Pacific while Petrusev added 15 despite playing on a sore ankle."I was just trying to be aggressive and not think about it because if you're scared, you're more likely to do something (to hurt it) again," Petrusev said afterward.The victory also was Gonzaga's 34th consecutive WCC regular-season victory, extending the record it set earlier this month.Santa Clara is 15-1 at home, but the setback came last Thursday, a 90-86 overtime loss to Pepperdine.The Broncos rebounded with a 65-52 road victory over San Diego on Saturday in a contest in which they led by as many as 25 points."I thought we really tried to play the right way in the first half," Santa Clara coach Herb Sendek said on the postgame radio show. "Our guys came out and did a really nice job of sharing the basketball. I thought our defense was really locked in." The sec ond half wasn't so splendid -- "We played in peaks and valleys," Sendek said -- but the result pushed the Broncos past last season's win total.Junior forward Josip Vrankic put together his second straight stellar outing with 20 points and nine rebounds. He also became the 35th player in Santa Clara history to reach 1,000 career points. His total is at 1,003.Vrankic scored a career-best 33 points on 12-of-18 shooting in the loss to Pepperdine.Vrankic is averaging 17.4 points in WCC play to increase his average to 12.1, second on the team behind sophomore guard Trey Wertz (12.8). Wertz had just seven points against San Diego.Santa Clara sophomore forward Guglielmo Caruso (11.6) will miss his eighth consecutive game due to a right leg injury.--Field Level Media