After two straight close calls in WCC play, Gonzaga Basketball was able to get a convincing home win over the LMU Lions.
If there was any worry about Gonzaga Basketball looking ahead of the big WCC weekend matchup with Saint Mary's, a 27-4 run to start the half against LMU took all of the stress away. The Bulldogs were already up by 16 at the break and were up by nearly 40 points before coasting to a 92-58 win to move to 16-5 (7-1 WCC) on the season.
Here are some quick takeaways from the victory.
1. Nolan HIckman dominated his matchup with Dominick Harris
The big storyline from the game was the return of Harris, a former player at Gonzaga. He was the leading scorer for LMU and led the WCC with 43% shooting from deep. It ended up being an awful start for him, scoreless in the first half and having four turnovers. He finished with 11 points on 4/13 FG but it was all in garbage time.
Hickman, meanwhile, had his best game of the season, going for 24 points and five assists on 10/15 shooting. He's now in double figures in all but one game in WCC play and his on-ball defense has been excellent. At this point, he's become the best perimeter player for Gonzaga.
2. Team needs to play through Graham Ike even more
While Hickman led the team in scoring, Ike had himself another quiet 20 points on 8/9 shooting in just 23 minutes. That's four games of 20+ points out of the last five and he leads the team with 15.5 ppg on 61% FG shooting.
Ike has made 22 of his last 30 shots and the team has been finding him for easy baskets much easier. The three-point shooting getting better has opened things up for him inside and as long as he gets an efficient 20 points, it's going to be hard to beat them.
3. Return of Luka Krajnović
After missing over a month with an injury, Krajnović returned to play the last seven minutes of the game. Although it was garbage time, he did manage to score six points and looked impressive on the court. He didn't get meaningful time during the non-con against good teams but he did have three games with at least 20 minutes, showing that the coaching staff did want to see more of him.
With the struggles that both Dusty Stromer and Braden Huff (against good teams) can have off the bench, Gonzaga has next-to-no-depth, particularly in the backcourt. If Krajnović can somehow develop into somehow who can take a few minutes away from HIckman and Ryan Nembhard, that could be big for them going forward.