Gonzaga’s Drew Timme, the highest participant within the nation, had his finest recreation to steer the No. 1 Zags over No. 5 Texas

SPOKANE, Wash. — Six hours earlier than No. 1 Gonzaga handed a no-doubt-about-it 86-74 defeat to No. 5 Texas, the very best participant in faculty basketball sauntered right into a dead-quiet McCarthey Athletic Middle in his go-to pair of walkaround black slippers. 

“It’s best to do away with these,” Drew Timme’s mom teased as they stood on the courtroom the place he’d quickly sufficient drop a career-high 37 factors towards the fifth-ranked crew within the nation.

“Not an opportunity,” Timme immediately replied to Mother. 

These cozy slip-ons had been housing two of essentially the most helpful and artful ft the school recreation has seen in a very long time. The overwhelming preseason decide for nationwide participant of the yr ultimately ditched his slippers for a flashy pair of Gonzaga-red Nikes and went to work Saturday night time. What resulted over the course of practically two hours was the very best recreation of his profession: 37-and-7 on 15-of-19 taking pictures. 

“He was the very best participant on the ground tonight, little doubt about it,” first-year Texas coach Chris Beard stated. 

“He performed like the very best participant in faculty basketball,” Gonzaga coach Mark Few stated a couple of minutes later. 

That is as a result of he’s. Virtually one week into the season, there is no cheap counterargument to that. Gonzaga has the very best participant within the nation, and but once more, the very best crew. 

What needed to be particularly candy for Timme: confirming his top-tier standing and getting an enormous win towards the Longhorns, a program that was gradual to recruit him, though Timme grew right into a top-50 prospect whereas taking part in highschool ball within the larger Dallas space. 

“Timme owns Texas!” the Zags’ pupil part chanted inside The Kennel on what was a powerful night time for this program and for faculty basketball. The game was given back-to-back top-five matchups on Friday and Saturday, first with No. 2 UCLA’s time beyond regulation residence win towards No. 4 Villanova; and on Saturday, top-ranked Gonzaga making a declarative assertion about its potential a yr after going 31-1 and coming one recreation shy of constructing historical past as an undefeated nationwide champion. 

Many items from final season’s crew are gone, however there are two key returning starters in Timme and level guard Andrew Nembhard. Timme was sensible, profiting from Texas’ small lineup early and scoring 11 of Gonzaga’s first 13 factors. He had 22 within the first half, when Gonzaga led 47-27, Timme outscoring the Horns’ beginning lineup. Sure, the ‘stache celebration is again and shall be there to playfully torture opposing followers all season lengthy. 

Timme advised me previous to the sport that he’ll proceed to try this, and to level to his biceps after a giant play, and primarily ham it up and embrace the atmosphere faculty basketball brings. With out that, he is not him. It is what makes him nice. 

“I at all times have enjoyable once I play,” Timme stated. “It is a pleasure to play this recreation.”

Gonzaga additionally did it via greater than 20 minutes with out a level from Chet Holmgren, the 7-foot-1 freshman who was the top-ranked recruit within the Class of 2021. Holmgren made life troublesome at factors for Texas on the defensive finish, however he completed with two factors. Meantime, Iowa State switch Rasir Bolton added 16 factors, three of which came on this absurd last-second prayer to shut the primary half. 

“They’re actually good,” Beard stated. “They’re pretty much as good as marketed.”

The Bulldogs averaged 1.32 factors per possession, a scorching charge for any crew, not to mention once you’re taking part in towards a gaggle that would show to be fairly good. However the Texas questions must wait. There’s an excessive amount of to determine proper now for Beard, who has loads of expertise and expertise, it is only a matter of how the crew will study and develop collectively. 

Saturday night time was rather more vital for Gonzaga, which will not be afforded practically as many alternatives as Texas this season to earn notable wins and subsequently improve its probabilities at a excessive NCAA Tournament seed. The final time we noticed Gonzaga play a crew from an influence convention, it was the Baylor Bears within the nationwide championship recreation. 

From 31-0 to 31-1, an ideal season severed. An opportunity at historical past ripped away. And, unfair as it’s, a slash towards Gonzaga’s credentials for some. Baylor was so good, so dominant, so authoritative in that recreation vs. the Zags in Indianapolis, it altered the attitude on what Gonzaga had completed within the four-plus months main as much as that. Nevertheless, previous to the Baylor thwacking, Gonzaga performed 15 video games vs. power-conference and/or prime 75 KenPom groups. Common margin of victory: 15.1 factors. 

Saturday night time’s margin: 12. Very rather more of the identical for a program that is completed No. 1 or No. 2 in predictive metrics at season’s finish in 4 of the previous 5 seasons. The items maintain coming. Timme is an important, however for Gonzaga to win so convincingly with out getting a lot from its freshmen and to play solely seven guys no less than 5 minutes, it is a good signal that extra of the identical is in retailer for the Zags in 2021-22. 

On the heart of it’s Timme, who is not the strongest or quickest or most overwhelming. He is none of that. He is stable. He is sensible. He is nice in his personal approach, which makes the remainder of the crew nice. In an period of ever-evolving massive males with perimeter-insistent skillsets, Timme stays an enthralling — but swaggy — throwback. Some have in contrast his means to maneuver within the put up to a younger Kevin McHale. Timme appears to know all of the angles and myriad methods to seek out his factors close to the rim. 

Texas is a troublesome crew with dudes. They had been overmatched on Saturday. This was an old-school education by Timme. He placed on a clinic. 

“He is a load, man,” Texas’ Timmy Allen stated. “He is not essentially the most athletic man, however I’ve by no means performed somebody like that. It is onerous to protect a man like that once they have such good gamers spherical him too.” 

Extra high-profile challenges are coming quickly. UCLA and Duke await later this month in Las Vegas. It will be onerous for this season’s Gonzaga crew to be higher than final season’s. The fixed is Drew Timme. If he is getting higher which means Gonzaga’s getting higher. It was vital to point out up Saturday and remind faculty basketball simply how overpowering this crew might be.

With the largest recreation at The Kennel in years, it felt proper. A return to school basketball the way it ought to be: followers in full-throat, deafening cheers, the very best participant on the very best crew sending discover that it is proper again on the prime of the game but once more. 

https://www.cbssports.com/college-basketball/information/gonzagas-drew-timme-the-top-player-in-the-nation-had-his-best-game-to-lead-the-no-1-zags-over-no-5-texas/ | Gonzaga’s Drew Timme, the highest participant within the nation, had his finest recreation to steer the No. 1 Zags over No. 5 Texas

Chris Estrada

Chris Estrada is a 24ssports U.S. News Reporter based in London. His focus is on U.S. politics and the environment. He has covered climate change extensively, as well as healthcare and crime. Chris Estrada joined 24ssports in 2021 from the Daily Express and previously worked for Chemist and Druggist and the Jewish Chronicle. He is a graduate of Cambridge University. Languages: English. You can get in touch with me by emailing: chrisestrada@24ssports.com.

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