ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP)—Gonzaga is known for its strong guard play. It was a forward who shined Saturday night.
Forward Abdullahi Kuso had 19 points and 10 rebounds and No. 14 Gonzaga bounced back from its first loss of the season to defeat Virginia Tech 82-64 for third place in the Great Alaska Shootout.
Kuso was strong in the paint all night. He scored from underneath the basket, blocked three shots and got Hokies freshman Jeff Allen, a force in his first two tournament games, into early foul trouble.
“That’s probably the best game he’s had at Gonzaga, and that’s against some big, athletic frontline guys,” said Zags coach Mark Few. “We wanted to ride him as long as we could.”
Kuso said he was one of the players Few challenged after a loss 73-63 loss Friday night to Texas Tech.
“Right before we left for the game coach met me in the elevator and told me, take the shots on my terms, and I guess I took that to heart,” he said.
The guards weren’t bad either.
Matt Bouldin scored 20 points and shot 6-for-8 from the 3-point line. Jeremy Pargo finished with 10 points and had 13 assists.
“It was just me slowing down and taking what the defense gave me,” Pargo said.
Hokies coach Seth Greenberg said his team started both halves poorly and paid the price.
“We didn’t play as well as we need to beat a team of this caliber,” he said.
The Hokies (2-2) closed to 61-51 on consecutive 3-pointers by A.D. Vassallo and Malcolm Delaney with 10:13 remaining, but could get no closer.
Vassallo scored 20 points for the Hokies and Deron Washington had 11.
Bouldin scored 20 points and shot 6-for-8 from beyond the arc for Gonzaga. Pargo finished with 10 points and had 13 assists.