|Coach Reveno doesn't like... something (AP Photo Don Ryan)|
Guy Landry Edi had a solid half with good defense and 5 points (including a three?). He didn't miss in the first half and wasn't a complete waste of time on offense. In the first half, at least. Didn't see much of him in the 2nd. Olynyk was invisible in the first half, meaning that the other surprise of the game had to step in. Drew Barham hit 3 threes in his 11 minutes of play, helping to extend the lead before half. Hmm... what else? Hart had his usual odd game with 5 boards, an assist and 2 steals, including a terrific steal off of a missed Gonzaga shot that he flipped to Olynyk for a layup. That was neat!
Speaking of KO, he came alive in the 2nd half, ending with 21 points on 8-9 shooting. Elias Harris was nowhere near as efficient as Olynyk, taking 16 shots and only making 5. He showed some aggression on a couple dunks though, taking his frustration over his off night out on a couple unfortunate Pilot defenders. Pangos was solid, with 14 points (including 4 three pointers) and some nifty plays, though he had 4 turnovers. Honestly, my biggest issue with this game wasn't anything our stars did, it was the lack of excitement from the bench (outside of Barham). Karnowski did nothing with his 15 minutes of play, and Dower only managed a bucket in 16 minutes (on 1-5 shooting). Stockton played fine, but was largely unimpressive.
The strength of this Gonzaga team is the dynamic play of our post players, solid outside shooting and top-tier depth. Unfortunately, these past few games it's basically been the Olynyk and Harris show, featuring Kevin Pangos. That's OK! Plenty of teams would kill for three players like that, but if we want to make a deep run we have to build the confidence of our bench. Players like Bell, Karnowski, Dower, Dranginis (or Barham, whichever one Few likes more that week), Stockton and Edi have to find their role on the team and play the hell out of it. I hope this post doesn't make me sound like I'm upset, or angry, or anything like that... I'm excited about Olynyk's emergence, Pangos solid play on the road, and Harris' general awesomeness. I'm just a liiiiittle concerned about our chances in March. This year, with the lack of dominant, elite level teams, is a huge chance for Gonzaga to make a lasting mark in the tournament. We can't do that unless we leverage our true strength: the depth of our roster and our post players. Our bench should look at games like this, against overmatched opponents, as an opportunity to get big minutes and work on their game.