SANTA CLARA, Calif. (AP) — Drew Timme scored 32 points and Andrew Nembhard had 19 as No. 2 Gonzaga routed Santa Clara 115-83 on Saturday for its 24th consecutive West Coast Conference victory.
The Bulldogs (14-2, 3-0 WCC), who lead the nation in both scoring and field goal percentage, eclipsed the century mark for the third consecutive game and shot 58.7% from the field (44 for 75) against the Broncos (11-6, 1-1).
Timme, a consensus preseason All-American, was 14-for-18 shooting, added eight rebounds, and had his way inside. The 6-foot-10 junior came out of the game with 8:48 remaining. Seven-foot freshman Chet Holmgren, expected to be a top pick in this year’s NBA draft, had 11 points and 12 rebounds.
“It’s amazing how easy he scores it,” Gonzaga coach Mark Few said of Timme. “He had a lot of traffic in there today. He’s unbelievable. He’s been an elite scorer in all of college basketball the last two years. And guys are doing a good job finding him.”
Jalen Williams had 17 points to lead Santa Clara, but the WCC’s leading scorer connected on just 6 of 16 shots.
The Broncos entered the day ranked 15th nationally in field goal percentage (49.1%), but they were held to just 39.7% shooting as the Bulldogs did not allow anything easy inside.
Gonzaga displayed its offensive firepower with a 27-5 first-half run that broke the game open.
Timme was set up for good looks inside, Rasir Bolton hit two 3-pointers and the Bulldogs also scored in transition to jump out to a 33-11 lead by the midpoint of the first half.
“I think they’re a phenomenal offensive team,” Santa Clara coach Herb Sendek said. “They execute, and, obviously, Timme right now is just at a whole other level with his efficiency and productivity.”
Timme didn’t mind exiting the game early and missing out on a chance to eclipse his career high of 37 points, set Nov. 13 against Texas.
“My favorite thing is taking care of business and ... watching all my other bros get some buckets and stuff,” Timme said. “That’s the best for me.”
Timme had 21 points on 10-for-12 shooting by halftime, helping the Bulldogs to a comfortable 60-41 lead.
Gonzaga: The Bulldogs got out to a fast start and did not let the home team, or its fans, build up any hopes for an upset.
Santa Clara: The Broncos did not have the size inside to match up with Gonzaga and are usually a better 3-point shooting team. They hit just 8 of 26 shots from beyond the arc.
Santa Clara senior Keshawn Justice, who finished with 13 points, reached the 1,000-point mark for his career with the first of back-to-back 3-pointers in the first half. He’s the 36th player in program history to reach that number.
“I’m really happy for him,” Sendek said. “He’s had an outstanding career, a total team guy. He’s a tremendous person with a great family. He’s just been really good for us.”
Nine NBA scouts were credentialed for the game, and surely they were taking a close look at Holmgren, a 7-footer with unusual skills for a big man.
He dribbled coast to coast for a dunk in one second-half sequence and changed plenty of shots defensively.
Gonzaga: Plays Thursday at Pacific, having never lost to the Tigers during coach Mark Few’s tenure.
Santa Clara: Plays Thursday at Saint Mary’s, a team the Broncos beat by two points on the road last season.
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