The Gonzaga Bulldogs worked their way back into the top 25 ahead of their late-season non-conference showdown with the Memphis Tigers. But the Zags failed to seal the deal on the road against Memphis, falling 60-54 after leading by as many as 12 during the game. The Tigers were able to chip away at the lead as Gonzaga went ice-cold from beyond the three-point line and saw their entire offense come to a screeching halt in the second half, showing a need for more balance moving forward.
As a team, Gonzaga finished the game just 2-of-16 from three-point range with the team’s leading scorer, Kevin Pangos, hitting a measly 1-of-7. Without finding his range from deep, Pangos was largely ineffective throughout the game, finishing with just seven points (down from his season average of 15 points per game). The team got great production from their frontcourt, led by Sam Dower and his game-high 18 points, but seemed to stop feeding the post when the game got tight in the second half.
Their decision to settle for continued failed attempts from range helped Memphis chip away at their lead before finally catching up and overtaking the Zags in the final three minutes of the game. The Tigers were able to salt the game away as the Bulldogs continued to set up and shoot from long range without any success whatsoever. A more patient approach that attacked the rim and utilized Gonzaga’s size advantage in the post might have helped the Zags milk the clock down and escape with a huge road win.
Going forward, Mark Few must not allow his team to continue to be so reliant on the three-point shot. Even the best shooters have off nights and have to have a Plan B to put points on the board. The Bulldogs must utilize their frontcourt more effectively and get their guards to attack the rim, like Gerard Coleman did off the bench against Memphis with 12 points and only two attempts from three-point range.
If Gonzaga hopes to make a run in the NCAA Tournament, they can’t be so heavily reliant on the three-point shot. Using their range effectively in the flow of the offense can be a major weapon for them, but it can’t be the primary offensive attack if they hope to find sustained success this March.