If you felt the need to question your vision or adjust your television set during Friday night's Gonzaga vs. Bryant game, you were not alone.
For this to be simply a game between the Bulldogs and the Bulldogs would not be enough confusion, so both teams decided to not look their assigned part as well. Gonzaga, the Bulldogs ranked No. 14 in the polls, ditched their home whites in favor of turquoise jerseys. Bryant, the Bulldogs who have spent less than a decade playing at the Division I level, played better than any opponent Gonzaga has faced so far this season.
But in the end everything looked right and was easily explained. Gonzaga won big, 109-70, and the uniforms weren’t worn by accident.
Like they did in last season’s game against Northern Arizona, the Zags wore these special jerseys to help celebrate Native American Heritage Month. In Native American cultures, turquoise symbolizes friendship and fellowship.
As for the game, Gonzaga’s big men were absolutely dominant. Przemek Karnowski (22 points, 8 rebounds) overwhelmed the Bryant bigs. And Missouri transfer Johnathan Williams (20 points, 8 rebounds) who had struggled in his first two games this season had the breakout performance we had all been waiting for.
Gonzaga out-rebounded Bryant 39-34, despite Killian Tillie grabbing just two boards and fellow freshman phenom Zach Collins fouling out of the game.
The only real concern for the Zags was that historical weakness of theirs: three point defense. Bryant hit seven of 15 shots from distance.
In the second half though, it was Gonzaga that lit it up from long range. Josh Perkins (18 points) hit all four of his three pointers after halftime. Despite not starting, Perkins led the team with 28 minutes played. Going forward it will be interesting to see how much longer Mark Few keeps the sophomore guard out of the starting five. Perkins was suspended for the season opener as part of punishment stemming from being arrest for physical control of a vehicle while under the influence back in October. His relegation to the bench seems likely to be a continuation of that punishment.
Tonight saw starting guards Silas Melson (3 points) and Jordan Mathews (0 points) record season lows in scoring, which was another interesting development.
In other news, we just saw that the Gonzaga women knocked off No. 11 Stanford down in Palo Alto 68-63. Sophomore Jill Barta had 26 points in the big win that takes the Zags to 3-0 on the season.
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