2. Braden Huff won Gonzaga the game
Although he’s a frontcourt player as well, I wanted to give special and specific praise to the redshirt freshman, whose second half performance was key to victory. In the game last week against Saint Mary’s, he gave up 10 points in the limited minutes he was on the court when Ike went out and that proved to be decisive.
This time, Ike went from two to four fouls committed in a short span in the second half and had to go to the bench. Huff had to come in and against this kind of offense, his defensive limitations could’ve been easily exposed. Instead, the 6’10 big held his own (and Kentucky didn’t target him for some reason) and more importantly scored himself, giving the Bulldogs 12 points on 5/8 shooting overall, including several key post baskets to keep the game withing reach for them.
On the season, Huff is averaging 10.9 ppg on 62% shooting and is a lock to be the WCC 6th Man of the Year. But it’s been misleading, as he could go for 20+ points against the likes of Portland and Peperdine but struggle badly against the likes of Santa Clara and Saint Mary’s.
Huff came through in a big way against a good team and Coach Few should feel confident playing him against the top teams in the league in the final week of the season. Whenever Ike has to sit, the Bulldogs should hopefully still have good production from the five-spot.