In a game where we saw 192 total points scored, Gonzaga came out on the winning end defeating the #1 team in the country from a year ago by 12. Both teams shot the ball well, with Kansas shooting 53.2% from the field and 44% from three while Gonzaga shot an absurd 64.5% from the field and 33.3% from three.
The stars came to play with preseason All-Americans Marcus Garrett and Corey Kispert both putting up 22+ points while shooting efficiently from the field. What really helped Gonzaga however was the supporting cast, as Top 10 recruit Jalen Suggs dazzled with 24 points in his college debut and Drew Timmie led all scorers with 25 points. Joel Ayayi also added a quiet 15 points for the Zags. This game was close throughout, but Gonzaga held the lead for nearly all the game. Kansas never let them get to more than a ten point lead, and would cut it down to 1 a few times, but Gonzaga never let them take control and eventually put them away in the final minutes. Here are a few takeaways for each team after their first games of the season.
- The freshman played well. Once Bryce Thompson got comfortable in the second half, he looked great, knocking down a few jump shots and attacking the basket a few times. As the season goes on, all signs point towards him being a top scoring option, a great sign for Jayhawk fans. Jalen Wilson, who is technically a freshman after only playing 2 minutes last season, looked great, scoring a couple of big baskets in the second half and held his own playing some center down the stretch.
- David Mccormack needs to control his body. Throughout the game, Gonzaga would bully him on defense, switching to him nearly every play which allowed them an easy bucket. If he wants to stay as a starter, he needs to improve on that because he was a big negative on the court in the first half for them.
- The defense needs to improve. To Gonzaga’s credit, they are one of if not the most offensively talented team in the country, but if Kansas wants to win the Big 12 title and make a tournament run, this is not acceptable. Besides Marcus Garrett, they need another guy who can step up and make a stop. Ochai Agbaji did a good job of that today but was in foul trouble for most of the second half, so they need to find a solution to that.
- It’s only the first game of the season. Last year, Kansas played an ugly game to Duke and lost and only ended up losing 2 more games the rest of the season. There is still a long way to go, but if they don’t address some issues they will catch up to Kansas and hurt them in the long run.
- This Gonzaga team is as deep as we’ve seen. All five of their starters can put up 30 points on any given night, and Nembhard off the bench can step up and do the same if someone is having an off night. This is one of those teams who will score 80 points every game, it’s just up to their opponent to score more.
- The only negative to point out about this game is the 15 turnovers. Drew Timmie had 5 of them and even though he made up for them with his scoring, that can really cost them in a future game. Gonzaga needs to work on ball security and making the right passes so they can minimize the turnovers.
- Jalen Suggs might be the best freshman in the country after his performance today. He scored 24 points on 9-15 shooting and 2-3 three point shooting, while having an 8-1 assist to turnover ratio. It is very rare that we see a freshman be the best player on the court of a team with two top 10 players in the country, but Jalen Suggs showed how good he can be and may hear his name be called in the Top 5 in a few months.
Gonzaga faces a decent team in Auburn tomorrow, while Kansas gets an easy game to get their first win of the season against St. Joseph’s.