Drew Timme scored 25 points, Jalen Suggs had 24 and Corey Kispert added 23 as No. 1 Gonzaga pulled away from No. 6 Kansas for a 102-90 victory Thursday in the men’s basketball season opener for both teams.
The Bulldogs built a double-digit lead in the first half at the Rocket Mortgage Fort Myers Tip-Off then saw the Jayhawks tie the game twice in the second half before putting them away. Gonzaga went on a 22-7 run to go up 96-78.
Suggs, who got in foul trouble in the first half, scored 17 of his 24 points in the second half.
Marcus Garrett led Kansas with 22 points, and Ochai Agbaji added 17 points. Agbai picked up his fourth foul midway through the second half, which hurt the Jayhawks. When he left, Kansas trailed 70-67.
With Gonzaga leading 29-15, Kansas made a couple of runs to cut the deficit to as little as five. However, Kispert heated up and kept the Jayhawks at bay. Gonzaga led 54-46 at the half.
The Bulldogs showed great balance. While they outscored Kansas 30-14 in the paint, they made 5 of 10 3-pointers. They also made 68% of their shots in the first half (21 of 31).
With the victory, Gonzaga’s Mark Few picked up his 600th win in his 724th game, becoming the third-fastest coach to reach 600 wins in Division I history behind Adolph Rupp (704) and Jerry Tarkanian (720), according to ESPN Stats & Information.
Three Gonzaga non-athletes were isolating in their hotel rooms after one tested positive for COVID-19.
The way these teams played each other, it wouldn’t be a surprise to see Gonzaga and Kansas meet again late in the NCAA tournament, maybe the Final Four.
The Bulldogs are deep and look like they can play defense as well as any of Few’s teams. They can score from the inside and the outside.
Kansas never gives up. Not many teams in the country could get in a 14-point hole to the nation’s No. 1 team and come back to tie it. However, the Jayhawks couldn’t recover from Gonzaga’s second offensive attack.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.