Gonzaga’s Drew Timme, the top player in the nation, had his best game to lead the No. 1 Zags over No. 5 Texas

SPOKANE, Wash. — Practically seven hours earlier than No. 1 Gonzaga handed a no-doubt-about-it 86-74 defeat to No. 5 Texas, the perfect participant in faculty basketball sauntered right into a dead-quiet McCarthey Athletic Middle in his go-to pair of walkaround black slippers. 

“You must eliminate these,” Drew Timme’s mom teased because the household stood on the court docket the place Timme would quickly sufficient drop a career-high 37 factors towards the fifth-ranked workforce within the nation.

“Not an opportunity,” Timme immediately replied to Mother. 

These cozy slip-ons had been housing two of probably the most helpful and artful ft the school recreation has seen in a very long time. The overwhelming preseason choose for nationwide participant of the 12 months ultimately ditched his slippers for a flashy pair of Gonzaga-red Nikes and went to work Saturday evening. What resulted over the course of almost two hours was the perfect recreation of his profession: 37-and-7 on 15-of-19 taking pictures. 

“He was the perfect participant on the ground tonight, little doubt about it,” first-year Texas coach Chris Beard stated. 

“He performed like the perfect participant in faculty basketball,” Gonzaga coach Mark Few stated a couple of minutes later. 

That is as a result of he’s. Virtually one week into the season, there is no affordable counterargument to that. Gonzaga has the perfect participant within the nation, and but once more, not less than for now, the perfect workforce. 

What needed to be particularly candy for Timme: confirming his top-tier standing in beating the Longhorns. It is the in-state program that was sluggish to recruit him, despite the fact that Timme grew right into a top-50 prospect whereas enjoying highschool ball within the larger Dallas space. 

“Timme owns Texas!” the Zags’ pupil part chanted inside The Kennel on what was an impressive evening for GU and faculty basketball. The game was given back-to-back top-five matchups on Friday and Saturday, first with No. 2 UCLA’s additional time residence win towards No. 4 Villanova; and on Saturday, top-ranked Gonzaga making a declarative assertion about its potential a 12 months after going 31-1 and coming one recreation shy of creating historical past as an undefeated nationwide champion. 

Many items from final season’s workforce are gone (together with top-five choose Jalen Suggs), however there are two key returning starters in Timme and level guard Andrew Nembhard. Timme was good, benefiting from Texas’ small lineup early and scoring 11 of Gonzaga’s first 13 factors. He had 22 within the first half, which ended with a 47-27 Gonzaga lead and witnessed Timme outscoring the Horns’ beginning lineup. Sure, the ‘stache celebration is again and shall be there to playfully torture opposing followers all season lengthy. 

Timme advised me previous to the sport that he’ll proceed to try this, and to level to his biceps after an enormous play, and primarily ham it up and embrace the setting faculty basketball brings. With out that, he is not him. It is what makes him nice. 

“I at all times have enjoyable once I play,” Timme stated. “It is a pleasure to play this recreation.”

Gonzaga additionally managed to regulate the primary half regardless of getting some extent via 20-plus minutes from Chet Holmgren, the 7-foot-1 freshman who was the top-ranked recruit within the Class of 2021. Holmgren made life troublesome at factors for Texas on the defensive finish, however he completed with two factors on three pictures together with 5 rebounds and two blocks. Meantime, Iowa State switch Rasir Bolton added 16 factors, three of which came on this absurd last-second prayer to shut the primary half. 

“They’re actually good,” Beard stated. “They’re pretty much as good as marketed.”

The Bulldogs averaged 1.32 factors per possession, a scorching fee for any workforce, not to mention once you’re enjoying towards a gaggle that would show to be fairly good. However the Texas questions must wait. There’s an excessive amount of to determine proper now for Beard, who has loads of expertise and expertise, it is only a matter of how the workforce will be taught and develop collectively. 

Saturday evening was rather more vital for Gonzaga, which will not be afforded almost as many alternatives as Texas this season to earn notable wins and subsequently improve its probabilities at a excessive NCAA Tournament seed. The final time we noticed Gonzaga play a workforce from an influence convention, it was the Baylor Bears within the nationwide championship recreation. 

From 31-0 to 31-1, an ideal season severed. An opportunity at historical past ripped away. And, unfair as it’s, a slash towards Gonzaga’s credentials for some. Baylor was so good, so dominant, so authoritative in that recreation vs. the Zags in Indianapolis, it altered the angle on what Gonzaga had completed within the four-plus months main as much as that. Nevertheless, previous to the Baylor thwacking, Gonzaga performed 15 video games vs. power-conference and/or prime 75 KenPom groups. Common margin of victory: 15.1 factors. 

Saturday evening’s margin: 12. Very rather more of the identical for a program that is completed No. 1 or No. 2 in predictive metrics at season’s finish in 4 of the previous 5 seasons. The items at all times appear to suit for GU as of late. Timme is crucial one now, however think about this: For Gonzaga to win so convincingly with out getting a lot from its freshmen and to play solely seven guys not less than 5 minutes, it is a good signal that extra of the identical is in retailer for the Zags in 2021-22. 

On the heart of it’s Timme, who is not the strongest or quickest or most overwhelming. He is none of that. He is strong. He is sensible. He is nice in his personal means, which makes the remainder of the workforce nice. In an period of ever-evolving large males with perimeter-insistent skillsets, Timme stays a captivating — but swaggy — throwback. Some have in contrast his skill to maneuver within the put up to a younger Kevin McHale. Timme appears to know all of the angles and myriad methods to seek out his factors close to the rim. 

Texas is a troublesome workforce gilded with expertise and energy. It had been overmatched on Saturday. This was an old-school education by Timme. He placed on a clinic. 

“He is a load, man,” Texas’ Timmy Allen stated. “He isn’t probably the most athletic man, however I’ve by no means performed somebody like that. It is laborious to protect a man like that after they have such good gamers spherical him too.” 

Extra high-profile challenges are coming quickly. UCLA and Duke await later this month in Las Vegas. It may be laborious for this season’s Gonzaga workforce to be higher than final season’s. The fixed is Timme. If he is getting higher meaning Gonzaga’s getting higher. It was vital to indicate up Saturday and remind faculty basketball simply how overpowering this workforce could be and the way little Gonzaga’s slipped, even when the complexion of the workforce has modified. 

“With the ability to be in stress conditions is a privilege,” Timme stated. “You do not get to simply waltz right into a top-five recreation. It’s important to earn it and it’s a must to show your self which you could be in that scenario. We do not take these video games with no consideration. … It is a privilege to play a workforce like that.” 

With the largest recreation at The Kennel in years, this all felt proper. A return to varsity basketball the way it ought to be: followers in full-throat, deafening cheers, the perfect participant on the perfect workforce sending discover that it is proper again on the prime of the game but once more.

https://www.cbssports.com/college-basketball/information/gonzagas-drew-timme-the-top-player-in-the-nation-had-his-best-game-to-lead-the-no-1-zags-over-no-5-texas/ | Gonzaga’s Drew Timme, the highest participant within the nation, had his greatest recreation to guide the No. 1 Zags over No. 5 Texas

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