The Gonzaga Bulldogs struggled against the San Diego Toreros but still escaped with a 59-56 win.
The game was one of Gonzaga’s worst of the season. The Bulldogs scored a season-low in points and got very little help from the bench, just five points to be exact. Couple that with the performance of Johnny Dee, who scored 26 points, and it seems very lucky that Gonzaga won the game
Despite the poor performance, Gonzaga fans should be excited to look at the box score as Gary Bell Jr. returned for the Bulldogs. Bell, who missed the last six games with a broken hand, came off the bench and scored five points in 22 minutes of playing time. The return of Bell is great news for Gonzaga.
With Bell in the backcourt, Gonzaga is a much better team. He provides Gonzaga with a great defender and the ability to drive on offense. He adds a player who can create off the dribble and get teammates open for shots. Gonzaga has a lot of good shooters on the team, and they benefit from having Bell on the floor. On top of that, it gives the Zags another three-point threat as Bell is second on the team in three-point shooting percentage at 47.6 percent.
Bell didn’t play his normal minutes, but it’s a start. As the season progresses, Bell will play more and more minutes and Gonzaga will get better.
At full strength, Gonzaga is one of the most dangerous teams in college basketball. The Bulldogs seem to dominate the WCC every year and find themselves seeded well in the NCAA Tournament. This year is no different. With the backcourt duo of Kevin Pangos and Bell and a pair of quality big men in Sam Dower and Przemek Karnowski, Gonzaga will once again be a feared team come NCAA Tournament time.