SPOKANE, Wash. (AP) — Ben Gregg had a career-high 22 points, Graham Ike scored 15 of his 19 points during a big first half, and No. 24 Gonzaga beat San Diego 101-74 on Saturday night.
Ike and Nolan Hickman sparked a 55-point first half from the Zags (11-4, 2-0 WCC) and the contributions from Gregg allowed most of Gonzaga’s starters to call it an early night against the short-handed Toreros.
“It feels good. I feel like I’ve had a pretty mediocre beginning to the season so far, so to see some more shots go in tonight felt good and now just building on that, getting more consistent with it and bringing it every game,” Gregg said. “It’s fun to have those type of nights.”
Ike was 8 of 12 shooting, grabbed eight rebounds and played just 21 minutes. Hickman also scored 15 points in the first half and finished with 17, including three 3-pointers.
Gregg’s previous career high was 18 points, accomplished twice and the last time coming against San Diego last season. Ryan Nembhard added 18 points and the Zags shot 43.5% on 3-pointers.
Gregg has been the first player off the bench for Gonzaga for most of the season and had scored in double figures in only four of the first 14 games. But Gregg’s performance against San Diego was a reminder of what he can provide to help Gonzaga’s scoring depth.
“That’s what he does. That’s who Ben Gregg is,” Gonzaga coach Mark Few said. “We’re lucky to have him. He does buy in and he understands how important it is for him to do that.”
Gonzaga was terrific in the first 20 minutes and led 55-35 at halftime. The Zags shot 60% in the first half, made 5 of 11 3-pointers and turned 13 San Diego turnovers into 19 points in building the big early lead. The Zags started 10 of 14 from the field to begin the game, then relied on Ike for 11 straight points later in the half to take a 45-29 lead.
The 55 points for Gonzaga was the second-highest total this season in the first half against a Division I opponent. The Zags scored 59 points in the first half against Arkansas-Pine Bluff and had 63 against NAIA school Eastern Oregon in early November.
Deuce Turner led San Diego (10-7, 0-2) with 24 points, but the Toreros were without second leading scorer Wayne McKinney III after suffering a leg injury in Thursday’s loss to Saint Mary’s.
“I think our team will learn from this experience, but there’s no doubt that Wayne McKinney is the engine of our team and we missed him tonight,” San Diego coach Steve Lavin said.
Kevin Patton Jr. added 16 points and Steven Jamerson II had 13 points and nine rebounds for San Diego.
San Diego: Turnovers were at the core of the problems for the Toreros. San Diego finished with 19 turnovers that led to 27 points for Gonzaga.
Gonzaga: The Bulldogs wore throwback uniforms from 1999 when Gonzaga made its first trip to the Elite Eight of the NCAA Tournament. The 25th anniversary of that team was recognized over a couple days of events including players from that team being honored during the game.
San Diego: The Toreros host San Francisco next Thursday.
Gonzaga: The Zags play three straight on the road beginning next Thursday at Santa Clara.
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