Portland, OR – The No. 1-ranked Gonzaga Bulldogs needed a second half comeback to pull away from the Portland Pilots Thursday night at the Chiles Center. Killian Tillie and Ryan Woolridge combined to score 29 second half points to lead the Bulldogs to an 85-72 victory over the Pilots in front of 4,633 fans who seemed to generally favor the visiting team.
The Pilots were not intimidated by the top-ranked Bulldogs as they went 6-of-8 from the 3-point line to jump out to a 42-35 halftime advantage. Junior guard JoJo Walker sparked a 16-4 run midway through the first half after Portland trailed by nine points early in the contest. Walker came off to bench to shoot 4-for-5 from the field in scoring ten first half points. He finished the game with 15 points, five assists and two rebounds. The crowd was fired up by the play of 5-7 point guard Chase Adams, who made several key shots and dissected the defense to set up teammates for easy buckets early on. The freshman scored nine points (4-for-6 FG) and dished out six assists to keep the Pilots within reach for most of the game.
The second half was all Gonzaga as they outscored the Pilots 50-30. Tillie was in the zone, hitting shots inside the post and spotting up from beyond the arc. His play demonstrated why he is a potential 2020 NBA Draft pick. The 6-10 senior shot 9-for-16, tallying 22 points on the night. On the defensive side, Tillie used his length to create problems for the opposing team as he had three steals and deflected a handful of other passes.
Redshirt senior Woolridge played a huge roll by navigating the second half comeback. The point guard played all 40 minutes in the contest, while putting up 15 points on 6-of-7 shooting from the field including hitting three 3-pointers and adding seven rebounds.
The Bulldogs came into the game as the number one scoring team in the country averaging 88 points a game. They finished the game just under that mark, but still managed to have five players score in double figures despite their free throw woes. Gonzaga shot a dismal 47 percent from the strike on 11-of-23 shooting.
One double-figure scorer was marksman Corey Kispert who scored 18 points on a subpar shooting night, hitting on only 6-of-18 shots. Joel Ayayi, a combo guard from France, had a solid overall performance with 13 points, six rebounds and four assists. Ayayi was limited to 24 minutes of play due to foul trouble. Sophomore 6-11 center Filip Petrusev, another possible NBA draft pick, added 11 points, eight rebounds and four assists but shot a sub-par 1-of-6 from the foul line.
Gonzaga (15-1) will return home to host Pepperdine (7-8). Portland (8-8) will stay at home with another tough opponent in the University of San Francisco (11-5) this Saturday.
We are looking for those interested in our basketball scout certification program. For information contact us and forward your resume.