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ZagNative
01-13-2008, 01:19 PM
Brian's blog is one of the first things I look for after a game for intelligent, balanced analysis, from a former insider. I've copied and pasted it below hit the return key on my computer now and again to make it easier for these bleary eyes of mine to read.


Gonzaga Starts League Right (http://blogs.krem.com/gonzaga/2008/01/gonzaga_starts_league_right.html)
January 13, 2008

Gonzaga used two big runs, one in the middle of the first half and one in the game’s final five minutes, to pull away from Loyola Marymount and win their WCC opener 91-68. The 23 point win was a perfect way for the Bulldog’s to start their WCC title defense, and Saturday evening it was the Zag’s potent and balanced offensive attack that led the way, as the team scored a season high 91 points.

It appears Gonzaga has found their two offensive stalwarts, as Matt Bouldin and Josh Heytvelt once again dominated the game offensively. Bouldin’s outside shot struggled for the first time in a few games, but he attacked the basket relentlessly using his size and strength to score inside and get to the free throw line, on his way to 17 points. Not only did Matt score the ball well, but with Pargo limited by injury, Bouldin did a very nice job as Gonzaga’s primary ball handler with 8 assists to only two turnovers.

While Bouldin attacked the basket well, Josh provided the inside scoring punch the Zags needed, with a game high 19 points in only 21 minutes of action. Josh set the tone early, with two inside baskets, and continually gave Gonzaga the post presence they have been lacking both in the half court and getting transition baskets, the best being on a great no look pass from Bouldin early in the game.

While Josh is not a traditional back to the basket low post scorer, he is able to finish around the basket and has nice moves from the mid post, which will help the Zags offense flow better and be more effective, as is evidenced by the fact the Zags had almost 60 points in the paint.

Behind the lead of Matt and Josh, the two freshmen, Austin Daye and Steven Gray were very good in their first conference game. Steven way his usual solid self, scoring nine points and contributing 4 assists without turning the ball over all game; whereas Austin once again provided instant offense off the bench with 3 three pointers on his way to 13 points on six shots. Joining Austin in providing a nice spark off the bench was Micah, who played more confidently and assertively on the offensive end, scoring 10 points.

With four players in double figures and seven players having 7 or more points the Gonzaga attack was more balanced and effective than it has been all season. Saturday night’s offensive effort was what people expected from Gonzaga this year and the type of balance the Zags showed Saturday is what makes this team a WCC title contender and NCAA Tournament team.

Gonzaga not only spread the points around, but they also took and made very high quality shots, on their way to shooting an incredible 65% from the floor and 50% from three. Another positive offensive stat was the fact the team made as many free throws as the opponent attempted, an important stat because it shows the Zags attacked the basket and then were able to make their free throws at a high percentage. The only downside to Saturday’s splendid offensive effort was the 15 turnovers, just a few more than the Zags should have against a team such as LMU.

Defensively Gonzaga was able force 15 turnovers and allow fewer than 20 points in the paint, however the defensive effort was far from perfect as the Zags allowed LMU to shoot 43% from the floor and 40% from three. Gonzaga did a nice job of limiting LMU’s post touches and dribble penetration, but there were a few too many uncontested three pointers, especially for Corey Counts who hit 5 threes and more than double his previous career high with 21 points. The defensive effort, which was solid for the most part aside from a few breakdowns, was led by Ira Brown and Micah Downs off the bench. Both Micah and Ira used their length and athleticism to disrupt the Lions guards and cause some turnovers, but most impressive was the defensive energy both brought to the game.

Gonzaga’s rebounding, similar to the defensive performance, was good but not great. The Zags beat the smaller Lions by 8 on the glass, not a bad margin but double digits would have been ideal, however Gonzaga allowed LMU 8 offensive rebounds, which is simply too many, as it translates into LMU rebounding almost 25% of their missed shots. Now that Gonzaga is healthy and in WCC play they must assert their will along with their size and strength advantage to thoroughly dominate the boards in each game.

Saturday night’s win was a fabulous start to WCC play for the Zags, and they have a great opportunity to pick up the always important road sweep Monday at Pepperdine. In order to beat the very young and undersized Waves, Gonzaga must take care of the ball and limit Pepperdine’s open outside shots, while owning the paint as they were able to do Saturday, in order to offset Pepperdine’s high pressure perimeter defense and dribble to kick out offense.

BobZag
01-13-2008, 02:27 PM
A good assessment by Brian. I thought Matt showed a lot of smarts by realizing his outside shot wasn't dropping so he began to drive to the hoop. Other positives were, as Brian points out, Gray and Daye, and the energy Ira! and Micah brought off the bench. It is also encouraging that Gonzaga played and won basically without Pargo. When Pargo becomes healthy again the squad will be that much better. Lastly, Josh is still rusty, you can tell by his shot, but when he finds his groove, the team will greatly benefit. He's getting there.

primal23
01-13-2008, 02:38 PM
Sorry, had to say this, which post is the real BZ? :p One is saying that this team is horrible(imo), the other saying the are decent. Now I would be hyporcritical to say I've never done this, so I wont go that far.(anyone who has read some of my frustration posts know exactly what I'm talking about) BZ I also wanted to say I have the upmost respect for you and your opinions, and have always enjoyed reading your insights to the Zags, but am wondering if your other topic was a frustration post?

Nevtelen
01-13-2008, 02:39 PM
Great write-up. He's dead on as far as the O goes - that week of practice really helped a lot. Now the team needs to start doing the same with a degree of difficulty added against stiffer D and better competition.

IMO opinion, the D that was lacking last night was the ball-pressure Pargo brings. I think in the last couple of mins, after LG came in, we actually ratcheted up the score pretty well. Why? Ball pressure - LMU just can't deal with it. Bouldin just isn't effective at it (not quick enough) and Gray is starting to get there, but not quite there yet. Ira did it well at times and LG usually does well. Pargo would have forced them into different decisions with strong on-ball D that would have probably stopped a lot of those 3s from going down. Some of those were well contested and you just have to tip your hat, but Pargo would have made a lot of difference.

BobZag
01-13-2008, 04:19 PM
Sorry, had to say this, which post is the real BZ? :p One is saying that this team is horrible(imo), the other saying the are decent. Now I would be hyporcritical to say I've never done this, so I wont go that far.(anyone who has read some of my frustration posts know exactly what I'm talking about) BZ I also wanted to say I have the upmost respect for you and your opinions, and have always enjoyed reading your insights to the Zags, but am wondering if your other topic was a frustration post?

There were positives. My other post was about overall approach and attitude. It's in the other thread. :)

I miss your Transformer but that cat is hilarious.

GoZags
01-13-2008, 05:57 PM
Brian's blog is one of the first things I look for after a game for intelligent, balanced analysis, from a former insider.

All due respect, ZN, but Brian is still an insider.

ZagNative
01-13-2008, 06:03 PM
All due respect, ZN, but Brian is still an insider.
Wow. I did not know that. What is his position? If I look in the Media Guide, will it list him some place?

And what's this "All due respect" stuff? ZN could tell you tales that would curl your hair.

Edited to add: He's not listed as part of the athletic staff. I assume that you mean he just remains close to the staff and program. Does that give him less or more credibility or neither?

GoZags
01-13-2008, 06:15 PM
I don't believe I said that Brian is an employee of GU -- but I did say he is still an insider.