JAGS OVERMATCHED BY NO. 12 GONZAGA, 101-71

SPOKANE, Wash. – The No. 12 Gonzaga Bulldogs shot a sizzling 68 percent from the field and overpowered IUPUI on the interior on way to a 101-71 win over the Jaguars on Monday night (Dec. 18).

Junior T.J. Henderson led IUPUI (2-8) with a career-high 18 points and four boards off the bench and classmate Evan Hall scored all 12 of his point in the second half. Graduate transfer Maurice Kirby rounded out the Jaguars’ double-digit scorers with 11 points and five rebounds off the bench.

Killian Tillie paced Gonzaga (10-2) with a career-high 27 points off the bench, including hitting 10-of-10 from the charity stripe. Johnathan Williams added 17 points and 14 boards and Josh Perkins closed with 13 points and six assists.

IUPUI was within 11 with under eight minutes to play, but saw the Zags close with a 25-6 run to win by 30.

“They’re a really good team,” head coach Jason Gardner said. “We knew we’d have to play nearly perfect to be in the game late and we just made too many defensive mistakes against them. You kind of have to pick your poison against them because they can hit you from so many different directions. I thought they did a good job in their high-low in getting the ball inside and getting some easy looks against us.

“I thought we showed a lot of fight, especially in the second half. I thought T.J. did a good job of attacking off the dribble and creating and it was good to see Evan and Kirby do what they did inside against their bigs.”

Foul trouble derailed the Jaguars’ plans in the early going as Aaron Brennan collected a pair of fouls in the opening two minutes and Hall quickly followed him to the bench. Gonzaga took advantage, bullying its way to a 17-9 lead as Tillie and Williams found little resistance in close. The lead grew to 47-29 just before halftime when Corey Kispert splashed a wing trey with 66 seconds left in the stanza before IUPUI trimmed the lead to 47-31 at the break.

IUPUI showed life in the second half, executing well at the offensive end, which included a 12-3 run that cut a 20-point deficit to 11 with 8:11 left. Hall scored points in succession during the run and Brennan capped the rally with a nifty layup on the right side. However, the final seven minutes belonged to the hosts, beginning with a Silas Melson three-point play.

After Henderson answered with a jumper, Tillie hit an open trey and Williams pushed the Gonzaga lead to 16 at the foul line. Williams ignited the crowd moments later with a flush in transition, just ahead of the final media timeout of the night.

Perkins and Jesse Wade splashed late triples to propel Gonzaga beyond the century mark for the fourth time this season.

Gonzaga hit 34-of-50 shots, including 8-of-18 (44.4 percent) from deep and 25-of-29 (86.2 percent) from the foul line. The Zags outrebounded IUPUI 38-24 and 32-13 off the defensive glass.

IUPUI finished at 39 percent overall and 5-of-22 (22.7 percent) from three-point range. The Jaguars made just 1-of-11 (9.1 percent) from beyond the arc in the second half as Ron Patterson accounted for three of the team’s five triples. Patterson closed with nine points and Brennan and Elyjah Goss tallied six apiece.

The loss dropped IUPUI to 0-17 all-time against ranked opponents and 0-2 against Gonzaga. The Jags will spend Tuesday trekking back across the country before preparing for the final non-conference game of the season.

“Now, we’ve got to get home, take care of our bodies and make some adjustments before our game on Friday,” Gardner said. “It’ll be exciting to be on campus for a game.”

IUPUI will return home to host IU Kokomo at noon on Friday (Dec. 22) inside the Jungle. That game will mark the Jaguars’ first contest in the on-campus facility since the end of the 2013-14 campaign. Tickets are available for purchase by contacting Lauren Gronke in the IUPUI box office at lgronke@iupui.edu or 317-278-2530. The game will be broadcast on ESPN3 as Greg Rakestraw (pxp) and Hall of Famer Bob Lovell (analyst) will be on the call.

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