Julian Strawther had the game of his career Saturday, pumping in eight 3-pointers and scoring 40 points as No. 14 Gonzaga pulled away down the stretch for an 82-67 West Coast Conference win over Portland in Portland, Ore.
With leading scorer Drew Timme limited to seven shots and eight points in 34 minutes, the Bulldogs (18-4, 7-1 WCC) needed a hero. Enter Strawther, who made 14 of 21 shots from the field, including 8 of 12 from the 3-point line.
The Pilots (11-13, 3-6) trailed just 56-54 after Juan Sebastian Gorosito bombed in a 3-pointer from the right wing with 8:53 left. But Strawther put it out of reach with a pair of 3s, four free throws and a runner during a 21-7 burst that gave Gonzaga a 77-61 cushion with 2:10 remaining.
Anton Watson added 17 points for the Zags, which canned 51.8 percent of their shots from the field and converted 17 Portland turnovers into 29 points.
Moses Wood sank five 3-pointers and scored 19 points to lead four Pilots in double figures. Gorosito added 17, while Tyler Robertson and Mike Meadows each chipped in 10 points. Portland sank 41.7 percent of its field goal tries, going 10 of 24 from the 3-point arc.
Portland has showed through a .500 season that it’s capable of punching well above its weight. It nearly beat North Carolina when the Tar Heels were ranked No. 1 as well as Michigan State, and posted a win over Villanova at a Thanksgiving weekend tournament.
The Pilots displayed early that Gonzaga wouldn’t enjoy another 40-point rout as it did earlier this month. When the Zags established a 24-14 advantage with 11:04 left in the first half, Portland rattled off seven straight points, Wood capping the run with a 3-pointer.
Gorosito drilled a 3-pointer to bring the Pilots within 29-27 with 3:53 remaining, but Gonzaga held them without a field goal for the half’s remainder and took a 35-29 lead to intermission.
Strawther finished with 17 points in the half, converting 5 of 7 from 3-point range.
–Field Level Media