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2023 King Cotton Classic: Gonzaga (D.C.) scorches nets in runaway win over Pine Bluff (Ark.)

Pine Bluff trailed by just five points heading into the fourth quarter

PINE BLUFF, ARKANSAS – It is already a tall task to face a nationally ranked opponent, but it is nearly impossible to conquer when said ranked opponent rarely missed a shot.

Gonzaga (D.C.), the No. 18 squad in this week's SBLive/Sports Illustrated Top 25 rankings, hit 70% from the field to take down Pine Bluff 91-70 in the King Cotton Holiday Classic at the Pine Bluff Convention Center. The Eagles were led by four-star junior guard Nyk Lewis, who finished with 23 points on 7-of-13 shooting along with 4 rebounds.

The Z's overcame double-digit turnovers and kept themselves in the game largely due to University of Missouri football signee Courtney Crutchfield's 30-point performance for the second consecutive night. 

Crutchfield hit a three at the horn as time expired in the third quarter, which cut the Gonzaga lead to 65-60 after being down 17 at one point, but the Eagles soared in the fourth and pulled away slowly to reach a 20-point advantage. 

Derek Dixon chipped in 21 points for the Eagles, while Deriyon Graydon added 12 points and 8 rebounds for the Z's. 

Scroll down for a game thread with notable moments and quarter updates.

Gonzaga 91, Pine Bluff 70 (FINAL)


– Despite a valiant effort, stellar shooting from start to finish by Gonzaga was too much for the Z's to overcome and pull away down the stretch.

– Alex Touomou throws down a tomahawk dunk and Gonzaga has a double-digit lead again looking to take full control. (Gonzaga 75-64 | 5:14) 


– Crutchfield's 26th point of the evening was a buzzer beater that put the Z's within six and about blew the roof off of the Convention Center. Pine Bluff trailed by as many as 17. (Gonzaga 65-60)

– Gonzaga shot 55% from 3-point range in the first half and have stayed hot as they stretch the lead out further halfway through the frame. Derek Dixon adds a couple more treys and he is up to 19 points. (Gonzaga 55-41 | 4:10)


– Gonzaga reeled off a 12-2 run that spanned over two minutes, but a the Z's battled back with a 10-3 run of their own to keep the deficit at 10 heading into the locker room. Crutchfield has 17 points, while Derek Dixon leads the Eagles with 11. (Gonzaga 43-33)

– A controversial charge on Crutchfield gives the ball back to Gonzaga and Derek Dixon connects on another three-pointer which prompts Billy Dixon to take a timeout. (Gonzaga 36-23 | 3:46) 

– Gonzaga's Saxton Simley puts the first points of the quarter up on a putback, but Crutchfield earned another trip back to the free throw line and connects on both shots. (Gonzaga 26-19 | 6:20)


– Austyn Dendy adds two for the Z's right before the end of the first to cut Gonzaga's lead to 24-17. Crutchfield has seven points, including two three-pointers. (Gonzaga 24-17)

– Crutchfield connects on a three-pointer to halt the Gonzaga run. Braylen Hall adds another bucket on a lay in. (Gonzaga 16-10 | 4:03)

– Three long-range shots, two from Will Harper and another from Derek Dixon, gets the Eagles out to a seven-point lead, but a free throw by Courtney Crutchfield cuts it to six for the Z's. (Gonzaga 9-3 | 6:30)

– Kyle Sutherland | @k_sutherlandAR