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Key matchup: Round five for Gonzaga and Portland's versatile Tyler Robertson

Feb. 6—Gonzaga and Tyler Robertson go way back.

The first encounter was when Robertson was a 6-foot-6, 200-pound freshman at Eastern Washington. The Australian native came off the bench in those days — he's started all 88 games in his three seasons at Portland — in a 112-77 loss to the Zags.

Robertson, who followed former EWU coach Shantay Legans to Portland after the 2021 season, has had three more run-ins with Gonzaga as a Pilot with mixed results. He had 17 points, three 3-pointers and six rebounds two years ago. He had 18 points, 10 rebounds and 12 assists in a pair of losses last season.

He hasn't been in the win column in four games against GU, but Robertson has demonstrated his ability to impact games in a variety of ways. Now listed at 6-6 and 235 pounds, the fifth-year wing paces the Pilots in minutes (34.9), made free throws (64), scoring (16.5), assists (91) and steals (25).

Robertson's scoring average and percentage inside the arc (54.3) are on track for career bests. He joined Penn State's Jalen Pickett as the only Division I players to average at least 15 points, 5.0 rebounds and 5.0 assists last season.

"He's been playing great basketball," Legans said. "I have him guard the point man, the '5' man. He plays the point or the '5'. He does everything for us. I want all our players to understand they can play any position for us.

"He's been an unbelievable leader. He's been unreal, to be honest."

Robertson was named the Big Sky's top reserve after his sophomore year and was second-team All-West Coast Conference and All-WCC honorable mention in his first two years at Portland.

He's scored in double figures in all but one game this season. He had a rough shooting night while scoring five points in a win over Pacific last week before bounding back with 24 points vs. Pepperdine in his last game.

Robertson torched Santa Clara with a season-high 34 points, including 16 of 18 free throws, in a loss last month. He's made at least one 3-pointer in every game but one while shooting 35.9%. He had 10 assists vs. Lewis & Clark and nine boards vs. Pacific.

Robertson, who has played 40 minutes twice and 39 minutes five times, can expect to see numerous defenders. Gonzaga could go smaller with guard Nolan Hickman or bigger with Anton Watson or Ben Gregg. Dusty Stromer, Luka Krajnovic or Jun Seok Yeo are options off the bench.