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No. 10 Gonzaga warms up for UConn with rout of MVSU

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No. 10 Gonzaga opened the game with a 14-2 run and never looked back in an easy 78-40 nonconference victory over winless Mississippi Valley State on Monday in Spokane, Wash.

Braden Huff came off the bench to score 17 points for the Bulldogs (8-2), who shot 47.4 percent from the field. Gonzaga used this game as a tune-up for a big one Friday night in Seattle against the defending national champions, No. 5 UConn.

Gonzaga’s Graham Ike added 13 and a team-high eight rebounds and Ben Gregg scored 11 points.

Rayquan Brown, who missed the Delta Devils’ 74-39 loss at Liberty on Dec. 5, returned to the lineup and scored a game-high 19 points. None of his teammates finished in double figures as Mississippi Valley State fell to 0-10, with all of the games having been on the road.

The scenario was a familiar one for the Delta Devils. They struggled mightily to score, canning only 16 of 55 shots (29.1 percent) from the field while coughing up 18 turnovers that led to 24 points for Gonzaga. They were also controlled on the glass 42-33 and outscored in the paint 36-20.

The Zags were up 38-18 at halftime and steadily expanded the margin in the second half, leading by at least 30 points for the game’s last 9:35.

Mississippi Valley State’s only chance was for Gonzaga to look ahead to Friday night. That didn’t happen as the Bulldogs held the Delta Devils scoreless for 4:18 while scoring 11 consecutive points for an early 12-point advantage after Dusty Stromer drilled a 3-pointer.

Mississippi Valley State had one decent run in it, an 8-3 burst that sliced the gap to 17-10 after a free throw by Brown with 11:43 left in the half. But Gonzaga quickly rattled off another 11-0 run, capped by Anton Watson’s putback dunk for a 28-10 cushion at the 7:28 mark.

Gonzaga’s offensive execution dropped somewhat for the half’s remainder, but the Zags still enjoyed a 20-point margin at the break after Ryan Nembhard made two free throws with 49 seconds remaining.

–Field Level Media

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