WCC Game 14: at GU

Tip-off: 7pm at the McCarthey Athletic Center
Line: Torvik- Zags -15; ESPN- no line yet, Zags 93% win probability.
Rankings: Broncos ( 104 NET / 123 Torvik) ; Zags ( 22 / 20)

Zags are 21-6 overall and 11-2 in the WCC and coming off a 21 point win over Portland.
Starting lineup:
6-9 center Graham Ike (16pts, 7.3 rebs, 62% FG%)
6-8 forward Anton Watson (14.8pts 7.4rebs, 1.6 steals, 45% from 3)
6-10 forward Ben Gregg (8.7pts, 5.6 rebs, 36% from 3)
6-2 guard Nolan Hickman (12.8pts, 40% from 3)
6-0 pt guard Ryan Nembhard (12.3pts, 6.3 assists, 30% from 3)

Since the our first game vs. the Zags, they have altered their starting lineup, moving Stromer to the bench, dropping Watson down from the 4 to the 3 and inserting Ben Gregg at power forward. Makes them bigger without losing scoring as Gregg is a capable scorer and has been shooting better from 3. Watson and can play and guard multiple positions so doesn’t negatively impact him.

The Zags as a whole have been playing better of late. Nembhard was WCC player of the week last week after have two double-doubles (pts / assists). And Hickman’s 3pt shooting is up to 44% in league play.

The Zags have a tough finishing stretch of us, USF and SMC, but they will be motivated to go at least 2-1 to finish in 2nd place.

The Broncos will need their A game. It’s great to have Bal back but he’ll have to shoot better than he did Thursday night, especially if Marshall is sick and unable to play.
The Broncos have to defend, rebound and limit turnovers…all unglamorous stuff but the dirty work is critically important. Tilly, Caffaro and maybe occasionally Tongue will have their hands full with Ike and guards have to defend Hickman tight beyond the 3pt line and not let him get on a roll.

Prediction: The Broncos fall in a hard fought game: 80-74.

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Stopping Ike + Gregg will be the key here. We were gifted a couple fouls early on Ike (he ended up fouling out) and held him to 5 points. We were able to contain Gregg to 0 points as well, but I think the game totally changes when both are on the floor.

Watson will get his, but I’d like someone not named Johnny O’Neil to guard him this go around.

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I hope the guys don’t let the Zags take key players out by eliciting sketchy foul calls. I predict they will try to get Cam and Adama out of the game asap, and hope coach let’s folks play with two fouls in the first half. My reasoning (not an expert) has always been that the minutes you lose by taking players out immediately when they have two fouls in the first half are greater than the minutes you might (!) lose in the second half when they (might) foul out.

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I hope that we show some things that Few & Co. didn’t prepare for…but I’m fairly certain that we will go vanilla again in the first half, and maybe make adjustments in the second half (probably when it is too late).

I really think we need to make a statement by being physical on the offensive end early, even if it means we get called for charging. I’m sick of seeing Tilly and others backing down into the key and then settling for soft fade-away shots. Let’s keep the motion offense going (which gets defensive help out-of-position) and then have some guys who drive straight to hoop. I watched a game earlier this season (I don’t remember the opponent) where Ike got into foul trouble early because he’d be following his off-ball assignment and then abruptly change direction and slide across the key to try to defend (but end up fouling) a fast-driving guard.

I’d also like to see us get more physical on the defensive side, but I have zero hope of that happening. We all know that HS teaches low-contact defense.

The Zags are going to be fired up for this revenge game, so I have little hope that we win. However, I’d like to see us play good fundamental LOW TURNOVER ball. I’d also like to see us tear a page out of Sun-Tzu’s book and not play into Gonzaga’s strengths.

Always hoping for a win, but I’ll predict:

Gonzaga 86 - 77 SCU


Who would you suggest? Cam?

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I’d be good with Cam on him… at least Cam will fight Ike. He’d likely foul out, but it would be rather valuable to SCU to have him in there.


Here is our side’s box score from the win over the Zags a few weeks ago:

Surprisingly, we won this game after committing 18 turnovers. The three elements that stand out to me:

  1. 44 rebounds (to Gonzaga’s 31): Somehow we will need to repeat that
  2. 21 assists: No iso ball, keep the ball moving with passes, whether in half-court sets or in transition
  3. 5 guys in double figures: everyone needs to contribute on the offensive side, Few is too good of a coach to let one guy get hot and beat him single-handedly

Sorry, I meant against Watson. I think Caffaro would be a better banger against Ike.

Physically, Watson and Tongue are nearly identical:

Watson is 6’8" 228lbs
Tongue is 6’7" 220lbs

Watson went 14-18 in the earlier game. Cam only played 5 minutes in that one (though, to be fair, we did win)

Yes Cam on Watson and Tilly/Caffaro on Ike, Oniel on Gregggggg.

I think Bryan could be a fighter on Watson as well.

I agree, Bryan is a quiet force, good call


One additional thing that I just noticed in the box score from the Jan game vs. Gonzaga: Ensminger had SIX rebounds in just 6 minutes on the court. Five of the six boards were on the offensive side.

Does anybody recall who was guarding him when he was on the floor?

I think Watson is playing the 3 lately - so it would be O’Neil, Ensminger, or Bryan to cover him. Cam will most likely get stuck playing backup for Tilly and Caffaro. (And pick up fouls having to play aggressive against a bigger man). I’m almost cool with that if they let Cam disrupt the offense and pick up those fouls - like we once used Holt in a key game last year and it got us a needed win.

The way to have a fighting chance in this game is to be unselfish with ball movement and be OKAY with some physical pushback against Gonzaga - at the expense of a guy like Cam fouling out. I think Bryan and Ensminger could afford to play that same defensive style of game as Cam - let them wear down folks - and your offensive players (BK. Adama, O’Neil, Chef, JB) do their thing.

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this is a fun game

we are live from the Kennel if you want to listen for the second half: kscusports | Santa Clara at Gonzaga

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REALLY quiet on here tonight and boy do we have a game

Caffaro DEFINITELY came to play tonight!!!

Some of our players missed the memo that you have to give all for a win in a game like this. That means hustling on every play.

Bal was REALLY OFF tonight. Herb should NOT have counted on his game for a win. That hurts.

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Well sorry to be a jinx

Typical lack of adjustments and soft defense in half 2. I know we need to get Bal back on track but he’s a big minus.
I don’t know what’s up with Marshall has but he’s a non factor.
Meanwhile Knapper, Bryan, Jake sit and watch this debacle.
Tilly is another lost soul. Out of position on both Offense and Defense.
Our guys are running around without a purpose and now with 5 left it’s all about individuals.
Sorry to be so negative but it’s like coaches and players just give up.
At least O’Neil showed up in half one…



Bal should not have been in that entire stretch. He is not entirely recovered. We should have gone with JB and BK. That’s on the coaches.

Cam or Jake should have been in more in second half to contain Anton and shift O’Neil to another player. Or swap O’Neil with Ensminger and put Jake on Watson.

The bigs did a lot of good things tonight and the backcourt was not helping. Long rebounds missed. Failure to go to ball on the trap. Happened to Cam and Johnny. Cam had to force a shot. Johnny committed a TO. The guards have got to stop watching the play and MAKE a play.

You have to double team Ike. Play high and have the other forward behind for the strip/trap.

We may see them at tourney and need to make these adjustments.

Like I said. This one requires entire team.


Agree with everything musings and femme said. Seems like half the team showed up tonight, some weird lineup rotations makes me feel not everyone is exactly healthy or are in the doghouse for something


Sendek’s choices don’t make a lot of sense most of the time.