No. 1 Gonzaga overwhelmed the No. 6 Kansas Jayhawks, 102-90, in the season opener for both teams at the Fort Myers Tip-Off Classic on Thursday, one of two Big 12 basketball games on the hardwood on Day 2 of the 2020-21 season.
Marcus Garrett, the most experienced player on the Kansas roster, had 22 points in the game, leading the way for the Jayhawks.
➡️ West Virginia improves to 2-0 for the season, the first Big 12 team to reach two wins.
➡️ Derek Culver turns around a double-double less than 24 hours after the Mountaineers’ opener.
➡️ West Virginia gets its own crack at Gonzaga next week at the Jimmy V Classic in Indianapolis.
No. 1 Gonzaga 102, No. 6 Kansas 90
Leaders — Kansas: Marcus Garrett, 22 points, 2 rebounds, 2 assists, 1 steal; Ochai Agbaji, 17 points, 4 assists, 2 steals; Jalen Wilson, 11 points, 4 rebounds, 2 assists; Bryce Thompson, 12 points, 3 rebounds, 1 assist, 2 steals, 1 block. Gonzaga: Drew Timme, 25 points, 6 rebounds, 1 assist, 2 steals; Jalen Suggs, 24 points, 4 rebounds, 8 assists, 2 steals; Corey Kispert, 23 points, 4 rebounds; Joel Ajayi, 15 points, 9 rebounds, 1 assist.
Records — Gonzaga (1-0), Kansas (0-1)
About the game — This is one of those games where Kansas didn’t ‘lose’ it so much as Gonzaga just ‘won’ it. The Zags shot 64 percent from the floor and that’s hard to beat, even as Kansas shot 53.2 percent from the floor. The differentiator was that Gonzaga had a plus-9 edge on the glass (33-24). Kansas injected one freshmen into the starting lineup — Jalen Wilson — and he had a solid outing. Another freshman, Bryce Thompson, came off the bench to play 28 minutes and score 12 points and 5-of-10 shooting. Bill Self leaned heavily on his starting five, plus Brown, in this one, but the rest of the bench will get more playing time the next few weeks. Garrett was steady all night, and that 7-for-9 shooting clip bodes well. David McCormack had an OK first outing this season, scoring 8 points and grabbing 6 rebounds. That’s steady enough for this early in the season. Overall, there is nothing for Kansas to be worried about here, aside from the rebounding numbers.
No. 15 West Virginia 78, Virginia Commonwealth 66
Leaders — West Virginia: Miles McBride, 12 points, 2 rebounds, 4 assists; Sean McNeil, 16 points, 2 rebounds 1 steal; Derek Culver, 23 points, 15 rebounds, 2 assists, 2 blocks, 1 steal; Oscar Tshiebwe, 11 points, 16 rebounds. VCU: Nah’Shon Hyland, 13 points, 3 rebounds, 2 assists, 3 steals; Vince Williams Jr., 11 points, 3 rebounds, 1 steal.
Records — West Virginia (2-0), Virginia Commonwealth (1-1)
About the game — If you can’t control the inside against West Virginia, then you’re done. That’s what the first two games of the season have reinforced. Derek Culver had another incredible outing on the glass with 15 rebounds (a 14.5 average for two games), along with 23 points, giving him his first double-double of the season. Oscar Tshiebwe got his first double-double with 11 points and 16 rebounds. Now, West Virginia did have a size edge on VCU, but the Mountaineers still finished with a 45-31 edge on the glass. Miles McBride and Sean McNeil each had strong outings for the second straight game, and Jordan McCabe pitched in with 15 minutes that only included 2 points, but also came with 5 assists. Mountaineers head coach Bob Huggins went eight deep on his bench, as the freshman and transfers continue to get their feet wet. My guess is that with no game between now and their matchup with Gonzaga on Dec. 2, the Mountaineers will probably move up a few spots in next week’s polls.
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