Mon, 24 Jan 2022

No. 1 Gonzaga aims for bounce-back game vs. Tarleton State

Field Level Media
29 Nov 2021, 01:55 GMT+10

Top-ranked Gonzaga has a loss on the ledger and December hasn't arrived.

The Bulldogs lost their ballyhooed showdown with No. 5 Duke on Friday night and now return to the court to play a much easier opponent in visiting Tarleton State on Monday night at Spokane, Wash.

Gonzaga (6-1) didn't loselast season until the NCAA championship game against Baylor. And even with the 84-81 setback to the Blue Devils, the program is 170-15 since the start of the 2016-17 season.

There is no shame in losing to Duke, and that was part of the postgame messaging.

Star big man Drew Timme isn't used to losing and compared the atmosphere in Las Vegas as up there with any game he's played during his college career.

"It felt like a Final Four-type game," Timme said after scoring 17 points. "The atmosphere was great and it was two Goliaths going at it. They came out with their best shot and we were a little flat, but I couldn't be more proud of this team for withstanding that and being able to come back.

"We felt like we had a chance to win that game at the end and it was self-inflicted. We're a young team and still learning every day. We haven't even got close to conference yet. We're going to take the challenge and we're excited for the rest of the season."

Timme leads Gonzaga with an 18.4 scoring average. Julian Strawther is second with a 15.1 clip after tallying 20 points and 10 rebounds versus Duke.

"The beautiful thing is we all believe in each other," Strawther said. "Even if I miss a couple of shots, they're going to keep looking for me. That's what really keeps me going. They showed a lot of belief in me after I missed a few."

Freshman sensation Chet Holmgren added 16 points against Duke and is averaging 13.6 points and a team-high 6.7 rebounds.

The Zags committed 17 turnovers against Duke and figure to do much better in that category on Monday.

Tarleton State (1-5) is in its second season at the Division I level and is coached by Billy Gillispie, the former Kentucky head man.

Gonzaga will be the third ranked program that the Texans have played this season. They were routed 88-62 by then-No. 3 Kansas on Nov. 12 and gave then-No. 20 Michigan a scare before falling 65-54 on Wednesday.

Tarleton State pulled within 55-52 with 4:20 remaining before the Wolverines closed the game strong.

"We came here to win," Gillispie said of the visit to Ann Arbor. "We did a lot of good things but in the most important time, we made three defensive errors and just let them lay it up. You can't do that on an opponent's home court."

The Texans have also lost on the road to Stanford and Wichita State as Gillispie purposefully chose to play a tough nonconference slate.

"I hope they got something out of it. I know we did," Gillispie said after the Michigan game. "Our guys are tough. I don't think there's anybody in America that's tougher than us."

Montre Gipson leads Tarleton State in scoring with 14.8 points per game. Tahj Small is second at 11.8.

This is the first meeting between the schools. They were slated to play last season but the game was canceled due to the coronavirus pandemic.

--Field Level Media

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