So far this season the new-look Gonzaga Bulldogs have become a very successful combination of young and veteran talent, feeding off the quickness of the guards and the balanced scoring in front of center Zach Collins.
The Bulldogs were playing on national television in Los Angeles for the second-straight week, taking on the No. 2 ranked University of California Los Angeles (UCLA) Saturday afternoon at the Staples Center.
The fans, still recovering from the Rams’ exhilarating comeback win over the Bruins in their season opener at the Staples Center, were in good spirits, boisterous on both sides of the court.
UCLA was playing without star forward Cody Riley, who was suspended for the game after being charged with felony sexual battery against a 17-year-old high school student back in September.
Despite the absence of Riley, the Bruins would jump out to a quick start, getting off to a 13-2 lead in the first eight minutes of the game. The lead would swell to as much as 22 points by the 10-minute mark in the first half.
Meanwhile, in Spokane, the Bulldogs never panicked, actually they seemed to see the deficit as an opportunity to take advantage of UCLA’s youth.
Gonzaga ended up losing the first half, after shooting only 35 percent from the field, but closed the gap, cutting the deficit to nine by the half-time.
Gonzaga would get within 10 points with 9:09 remaining in the game, but couldn’t get the comeback they were looking for and despite UCLA’s 10 turnovers in the first half, Gonzaga would seal the win down the stretch.
The Bulldogs’ three wins to start the season, while early in the season, have featured a lot of basketball, including a 44-point victory over American University.
Gonzaga’s backcourt has been particularly explosive, with all three juniors and seniors in the starting lineup all having multiple double-doubles each game.
With the win, Gonzaga improved to 9-0 on the season, the highest winning percentage at the beginning of a season since the 2008 Gonzaga Bulldogs started 14-0.
The victory puts Gonzaga at No.1 for this week’s AP Poll, with a maximum of one more spot to fill.
The Bulldogs’ next game is against San Diego State Tuesday night at the Spokane Arena.