Corey Kispert leads No. 1 Gonzaga past Santa Clara
Corey Kispert scored 25 points as No. 1 Gonzaga overcame a slow start to defeat visiting Santa Clara 89-75 on Thursday night in a West Coast Conference game in Spokane, Wash.
Drew Timme scored 16 of his 18 points in the second half and Jalen Suggs added 13 points, 11 rebounds and eight assists for the Bulldogs (23-0 overall, 14-0 WCC), who have already wrapped up the conference’s regular-season title.
Guglielmo Caruso led Santa Clara (10-7, 4-5) with 19 points. Giordan Williams scored 18 and Josip Vrankic added 14 points and 11 rebounds.
It was the Bulldogs’ 20th consecutive victory by double digits, breaking the longest single-season streak by a top-ranked team in NCAA history set by UNLV in 1990-91. Gonzaga tied the record for consecutive double-digit wins by a No. 1, matching the undefeated national champion 1971-1972 UCLA Bruins.
The Bulldogs also tied a program record with their 50th consecutive victory at home.
Gonzaga, which trailed by a combined 50 seconds in their first 10 home games of the season, fell into an early hole.
Santa Clara scored the game’s first six points and took an 11-2 lead on Williams’ 3-pointer with 16:32 left in half.
The Broncos led 19-9 with 12:57 left in the half, before Gonzaga went on an 11-0 run, taking the lead on Aaron Cook’s free throw at the 10-minute mark. Cook scored 10 points off the bench.
The teams traded the lead for the rest of the half, with the Broncos leading for a total of 11:27. Joel Ayayi, who had 11 points and nine rebounds, made a 3-pointer with 35 seconds left to give Gonzaga a 40-38 advantage at the intermission.
Timme, who entered the game with a WCC-best 19.1 points per game, scored just two points in the first half as he was limited to eight minutes because of two early fouls.
The Bulldogs opened the second half with a 12-5 run and Santa Clara was never able to get within five points the rest of the way.
The Broncos played their fourth consecutive game without second-leading scorer Keshawn Justice, who remained in the concussion protocol.
–Field Level Media
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