Tillie scores 22 points on 9-of-10 shooting from the field
MALIBU, Calif. (AP) Killian Tillie had 22 points and eight rebounds to lead No. 19 Gonzaga past Pepperdine 89-59 on Thursday night.
Johnathan Williams scored 13 points and Rui Hachimura had 12 points and six rebounds for the Bulldogs (13-3, 3-0 West Coast Conference), who have not lost to Pepperdine since 2002.
”Tonight it was Tillie’s night,” Williams said. ”We kept feeding him the ball and he kept eating. Different guys on different nights.”
Gonzaga outscored Pepperdine 48-14 in the paint and had a 36-13 edge off the bench, with Corey Kispert adding nine points and eight rebounds. Zach Norvell Jr. scored all 10 of his points in the second half.
”Just attack them inside out, given they was kind of small. And their bigs got in foul trouble early, so we wanted to keep attacking,” Williams said.
Eric Cooper Jr. had a season-high 19 points for the Waves (3-12, 0-3), making 8 of 15 shots from the field. Colbey Ross was the only other Pepperdine player in double digits with 12.
Pepperdine forward Kameron Edwards, who leads the team in points (15.9) and rebounds (6.8), missed his sixth straight game with a concussion.
Gonzaga led 41-23 at halftime, with Tillie scoring 12. He was 3 of 3 from the 3-point line, while the rest of the Bulldogs were 1 of 9 from deep.
Hachimura had nine points, helping Gonzaga pound Pepperdine 24-6 in the paint in the opening 20 minutes. The Bulldogs also held the Waves to 36.7 percent shooting from the field (11 for 30) with a defensive effort that head coach Mark Few called ”exceptional.
”We were good. We were really good. In that first half we were terrific,” said Few, after holding Pepperdine to 1 of 9 from 3-point range and not conceding a free throw.
Gonzaga: Though it took a while for their offense to click, the Bulldogs’ defense clamped down to hold Pepperdine scoreless for 6:55 during a 15-0 first-half run. Gonzaga will need that kind of effort when it hosts Saint Mary’s on Jan. 18 in the first meeting of WCC powerhouses this season.
Pepperdine: And the beatdown at the hands of Gonzaga goes on. The Waves have lost 34 in a row to the Bulldogs, including 16 straight at home.
Since losing 72-70 at San Diego State on Dec. 21, Gonzaga has won three in a row by a combined 112 points. With losses by No. 11 Texas A&M and No. 15 Miami earlier in the week, the Bulldogs could inch back up a few spots as long as they avoid an upset at Loyola Marymount.
Gonzaga: Visits Loyola Marymount on Saturday.
Pepperdine: Hosts San Francisco on Saturday.