No. 10 Gonzaga rolls past Washington 80-64 in Bahamas
PARADISE ISLAND, Bahamas (AP) The Gonzaga-Washington rivalry is back, accompanied by the sound of whistles.
The Bulldogs took the latest round Wednesday, wading through a mound of fouls to get there. Kyle Wiltjer had 24 points and Domantas Sabonis added 17 to send 10 Gonzaga past Washington 80-64 in the first round of the Battle 4 Atlantis tournament.
The teams combined for 60 fouls and 74 free throws. The Bulldogs took advantage of the Huskies' foul trouble in the first half, at one time taking a 24-point lead.
''It wasn't pretty but I like how tough we played,'' Gonzaga coach Mark Few said of the first meeting in the series since 2006. "I liked our approach and I thought we played very, very well on the defensive end - especially on their first shot.''
Wiltjer said the disjointed flow of the game and Washington's height on defense forced the Bulldogs to play together on both ends.
''Like coach was saying in the huddle ... when a game gets like that we don't have to run a play every time,'' Wiltjer said. ''Sometimes we weren't running the plays that we were practices. Sometimes you just have to punch a gap.''
Washington coach Lorenzo Romar said the fouls certainly changed what the Huskies were able to.
''That was disruptive for us,'' he said. ''We were strapped because it was difficult to defend them inside as it was. But you have to give credit to them because of what they did.''
The Huskies drew to 11 after Wiltjer was called for his fourth foul, but ran out of time.
Washington struggled to find any offensive flow and made just 19 of 74 shots. Guards Andrew Andrews and Dejounte Murray each had 21 points and 11 rebounds for the Huskies.
Huskies starters Marquese Chriss, Noah Dickerson Matisse Thybulle and Andrews were all in foul trouble. Andrews and Matisse Thybulle each picked up two quick calls in the first half, though Romar allowed Andrews - his lone senior - to play through it.
As fouls continued to mount Romar gambled and sent Dickerson back in at about the eight-minute mark. But he quickly was hit with his third foul and forced to return to the bench. The same gamble also resulted in a third foul on Chriss. Reserve Malik Dime had three fouls off the bench, and Devenir Duruisseau was called for four in just eight minutes.
The Bulldogs took advantage of 29 trips to the foul line, connecting on 18 free throws in the first half as they built a 19-point lead.
Washington leads the overall series 29-15. ... Neither team shot well from beyond the arc. Gonzaga connected on just 2 of 8 attempts; Washington was 4 for 20. ...The Huskies bench was called for a technical in the first half.
A NEW WORLD: Few and Romar said that dealing with an increased number of foul calls has already become the norm this season because of offseason rule changes. ''I would say that this is kind of something we've been accustomed to,'' Romar said. Few said he wasn't surprised, either. Though he acknowledged it did change their approach as well. One of the Bulldogs starters- guard Josh Perkins - was whistled for five fouls and played just 12 minutes. ''They told us they are going to call it like that,'' Few said. ''I think we're in the process of adjusting...I think we all need to adjust and hope everybody gets it right.''
EARLY LESSONS: With seven freshmen, five sophomores, two juniors and one senior, Washington has the fifth-youngest team in the nation. Andrews said he thinks facing adversity in this tournament will help it mature quickly this season. ''We're all, besides myself, really new to this experience,'' Andrews said. ''A lot of our guys haven't played college basketball. ...The fact that we keep fighting even when we're down is a great sign for us going forward.''
Gonzaga: Plays the winner of Texas A&M and Texas in the semifinals Thursday.
Washington: Plays the loser of Texas A&M and Texas in the consolation round Thursday.
Follow Kyle Hightower on Twitter at http://www.twitter.com/khightower