Bouldin, No. 17 Gonzaga top Memphis 66-58
MEMPHIS, Tenn. (AP)—Gonzaga coach Mark Few let his players sleep in Saturday, and the extra rest wound up providing some energy down the stretch.
Matt Bouldin scored 19 points and the 17th-ranked Bulldogs pulled away for a 66-58 victory over Memphis on Saturday.
Gonzaga (19-4) made a cross country flight Friday after Thursday night’s 76-49 win over Portland. It didn’t take Few long after arriving to know the travel had taken its toll.
“I could tell (Friday) night in the film session, we were done,” Few said. “We needed to sleep in. We got a late breakfast (Saturday) and came to the arena 15 minutes early and got some shots in.”
The extra rest helped the Bulldogs play through the end, closing out Memphis with an 8-1 run to end the game.
“That was huge,” Bouldin said of the extra rest. “We needed rest. It was almost like an NBA trip. Playing one night, flying the next day, playing the next morning.”
Robert Sacre added 13 points and Steven Gray finished with 12, despite shooting 4 of 12 from the field for Gonzaga. Gray had seven rebounds.
Wesley Witherspoon led Memphis (16-7) with 26 points, hitting eight of his 11 shots, including 4 of 6 on 3-pointers. Elliot Williams finished with 11 points for the Tigers, who lost their second game in the last three.
“(Witherspoon) stepped up big, especially when we were struggling offensively,” Memphis coach Josh Pastner said. “He really picked up the slack and made shots. He made big shots, and he battled.”
Gonzaga led 58-57 after Will Coleman, who had nine points and eight rebounds, scored inside with 1:35 left. But Sacre scored inside and Bouldin hit two free throws to give the Bulldogs enough breathing room for their 11th win in the last 12.
Neither team shot well. Gonzaga converted 41.1 percent (23 of 56), while Memphis managed to shoot 39.6 percent (19 of 48). Gonzaga held a 36-31 advantage on the boards, including 13 on the offensive glass.
Gonzaga went on a 9-0 run to help the Bulldogs take a 28-23 halftime lead.
Bouldin was 3 of 6 in the half for eight points, but the Bulldogs shot 37 percent (10 of 27), while Memphis was 8 of 22 (36.4 percent). The Tigers were hampered by nine turnovers to go with their poor shooting.
Witherspoon led Memphis with 11 points on 4-of-5 shooting, missing only one of his three 3-point attempts.
Gonzaga extended its lead to nine as Sacre began to score inside.
Witherspoon was carrying the Tigers, and Memphis was hurting its own cause by misfiring from the free throw line, ending the game 14 of 26.
“We couldn’t get the stops at the end and couldn’t knock the free throws down,” Williams said. “Free throws and turnovers kind of killed us at the end.”
Before the problems in the stretch run, Memphis rallied for a 53-51 lead with 4:48 left on a layup by Willie Kemp.
From there, Gonzaga recovered to extend a 58-57 lead, including the closing run.