SPOKANE, Wash. (AP)Drew Timme and No. 10 Gonzaga carried their recent offensive punch into the start of West Coast Conference play.
Timme scored 22 of his season-high 35 points as part of Gonzaga’s first-half scoring outburst, and the No. 10 Bulldogs raced past Pepperdine 111-88 on Saturday in the WCC opener for both.
Gonzaga (12-3, 1-0 WCC) won its 27th consecutive WCC opener and extended its home win streak to 74 games. The last time the Zags lost their first conference game of the season was 1996, when they fell to Santa Clara.
It was also Gonzaga’s 44th straight win over the Waves, the last loss coming during the 2001-02 season.
”We were really, really good on offense. Not so good on defense,” Gonzaga coach Mark Few said. ”But a lot of that has to do, as I said going into this game, Pepperdine has got some really talented guys. And not only are they talented, but they can really shoot.”
Gonzaga just happened to shoot better, led by its standout post player.
Timme led an offensive onslaught by the Zags in the first half in which Gonzaga led 56-40 at the break, shot 63%, scored 40 points in the paint and added 20 points on the fastbreak. Timme made 10 of 12 shots and the team’s 56 points were the second-most scored in a first half this season by the Zags.
Timme made 15 of 19 shots for the game and his jump-hook in the lane with 4:37 left pushed Gonzaga to the century mark in points for the fifth time this season. Timme posted the seventh 30-point game of his college career and finished two points off his career-high of 37 points set last season against Texas.
”I think just got that extra gear now I would say. I know in order for us to win and be the best that we can be I have to do certain things night in and night out,” Timme said.
Julian Strawther added 22 points and Gonzaga finished with six players in double figures. Malachi Smith added 15, Rasir Bolton scored 14, Anton Watson 11 and Ben Gregg 10. Gonzaga shot 61% and has scored at least 85 points in its past five games.
Strawther felt he’d been struggling despite scoring in double figures in the previous three games.
”Just coming in with the mentality that it’s a new season and I can come out here and make an impact,” Strawther said. ”It was good for my confidence to come out here and have a good performance.”
Maxwell Lewis led Pepperdine (7-8, 0-1) with 20 points in just 23 minutes, and was limited by major foul trouble in the first half. Lewis had seven points, three rebounds and two assists in the first six minutes for the Waves, before sitting nearly the rest of the half with foul trouble. Lewis picked up his second foul with about 14 minutes left in the half, returned with 5:39 left and was called for his third foul 15 seconds later.
He ended up being a spectator for most of Gonzaga’s 20-4 run to close the half. Pepperdine pulled even at 36-36 on Jevon Porter’s basket, but the Zags made nine of their final 13 shots to close the half.
Porter and Carson Basham added 17 apiece for the Waves.
Pepperdine: The Waves lost for the first time this season when scoring at least 80 points. Pepperdine shot 52%, but was outscored 70-46 in the paint and 30-5 on the fastbreak.
Gonzaga: Timme continues his climb up the Gonzaga’s scoring record book. Timme moved into fourth place on Gonzaga’s all-time scoring list with 1,861 points. He moved past Elias Harris and within six points of Adam Morrison for third.
Pepperdine: The Waves host Santa Clara on Thursday.
Gonzaga: The Zags begin a three-game road trip at San Francisco on Thursday.
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