It was a blowout from start to finish for Gonzaga Basketball, scoring over 100 points to beat Arkansas-Pine Bluff. What are some takeaways from the game?
Coming off a big win in Vegas over USC, there was a slight chance that Gonzaga Basketball could overlook Tuesday’s opponent before a road rivalry matchup with Washington this weekend. That didn’t happen, as the home squad was up 30-4 on Arkansas-Pine Bluff, just eight minutes into the game.
The rest of the battle wasn’t in doubt, as the Bulldogs ran out to a 59-point first half and 111 points overall in a 40-point win. Here are some takeaways from the battle that were of note.
1. Jun Seok Yeo started for the first time
The redshirt freshman got his first start last night, something Coach Few said was more about forcing minutes on him instead of finding a way during the first half. Yeo was scoreless in the first half but did finish with 10 points in 16 minutes. He’s gotten spot minutes whenever forwards have been in foul trouble but the Bulldogs are looking to get him more minutes at the three-spot instead of Anton Watson when the offense can get clunky. We’ll see if that continues against Washington.
2. Luka Krajnovic was the more impressive bench player
While Yeo got the start, the other freshman reserve that got big minutes was Krajnovic, who played 21 minutes on the night and finished with seven points and three assists. I’d argue he was even better than Yeo when he was on the court and helping run the offense. Hickman and Nembhard are the only true ball-handlers that gets meaningful minutes so if Krajnovic can find a way to at least get spot minutes himself, Gonzaga’s bench rotation can be more than just two more forwards.
3. Braden Huff giving “Timme” vibes
For the second time this season, the redshirt freshman center led the team in scoring, finishing with 19 pts and 7 rebs on 8/9 shooting, in just 15 minutes. Graham Ike (17 pts in 17 mins) was just as good so there’s no need to debate about a lineup change. But through eight games on the season, Huff is averaging 12.5 ppg on 65% shooting from the field and 52% from deep.
That level of efficiency in such short time reminds me of Drew Timme’s freshman campaign, where he averaged 9.8 ppg in 20 mpg off the bench, shooting 62% from the field. We saw what happened when he became a full-time starter, becoming one of the Gonzaga greats.
It’s still early in Huff’s career but the comparisons of their freshman campaigns are looking very similar.