Recap and highlights: No. 1 Gonzaga never trails in season opening win over Dixie State

<p><p><!–[photoset id=11555]–></p></p><p><p>Gonzaga never trailed in its season opener and the top-ranked Bulldogs flirted with triple digits in a 97-63 win over Dixie State in front of a sellout crowd at McCarthey Athletic Center.</p></p><p><p>Chet Holmgren scored 14 points and added 13 rebounds, seven blocked shots, five assists and five turnovers in his college debut. The seven blocks match a program record set in 2014 by Przemek Karwnowski.</p></p><p><p><!—-></p></p><p><p>Julian Strawther was Gonzaga’s leading scorer, totaling 17 points on 6 of 11 shooting while adding 10 points for his first career double-double. Three other Bulldogs finished in double figures, including Rasir Bolton (15), Drew Timme (11) and Nolan Hickman (11).</p></p><p><p><!–[teaser id=983089]–></p></p><p><p><!–[teaser id=983096]–></p></p><p><p><!–[teaser id=983091]–></p></p><p><h3>First half</h3></p><p><p><strong><strong>19:47 – GU 2, Dixie State 0:</strong> </strong>Gonzaga wins the opening tip and Drew Timme quickly gets the Zags’ first points of the season on a layup.</p></p><p><p><strong>15:57 – GU 6, Dixie State 0:</strong> Media timeout. Zags hold the lead in a sloppy start to the game. All five GU starters are 0 of 1 from three, as Holmgren leads with four points.</p></p><p><p>The Trailblazers are 0 of 4 to start the game with four turnovers.</p></p><p><p>Zags leading rebounds 7 to 4.</p></p><p><p><strong>12:42 – GU 12, Dixie State 3:</strong> Zags in the bonus and Holmgren misses the front end of a 1 and 1.</p></p><p><p>Trailblazers struggling at 1 of 7 from the field with nine turnovers and eight personal fouls.</p></p><p><p><strong>10:26 – GU 17, Dixie State 3:</strong> Bolton cans his second 3-pointer of the game for a share of the team-high. He and Holmgren have 6 points apiece.</p></p><p><p>Dixie State 1 of 13 from the field.</p></p><p><p><strong>8:50 – GU 23, Dixie State 4:</strong> Hickman drains back-to-back layups to extend GU’s lead.</p></p><p><p>Holmgren well on his way to a double-double with 8 points and 7 rebounds.</p></p><p><p><strong>4:47 – GU 29, Dixie State 16:</strong> Trailblazers getting some offense going, led by Allfrey’s four points.</p></p><p><p>GU still well in control, led by Holmgren’s 9 points, 8 rebounds and 4 blocks.</p></p><p><p><!—-></p></p><p><p><!—-></p></p><p><p><strong>0:54 – GU 40, Dixie State 23:</strong> This one is quickly turning into the Chet Holmgren show. </p></p><p><p>The top recruit in the country entering the season has 11 points, 9 rebounds, 5 blocks and 4 assists in the first half of his career.</p></p><p><p><!—-></p></p><p><h3>Halftime</h3></p><p><p><!–[photo id=751388]–></p></p><p><p>Gonzaga controlled the first half with a dominating performance by Chet Holmgren in the first game of his career. Holmgren will be on triple-double watch after the break with 11 points, 9 rebounds, 5 blocks and 4 assists in the opening 20 minutes.</p></p><p><p>The Zags were aided by sloppy play from Dixie State, making 10 of 33 attempts with 10 fouls and 11 turnovers – mostly in the first 10 minutes of the game.</p></p><p><p>Rasir Bolton added eight points with two 3-pointers and player of the year candidate Drew Timme has been quiet with two points and one rebound.</p></p><p><p><strong>Impact performance</strong></p></p><p><p><!–[photo id=751384]–></p></p><p><h3>Second half</h3></p><p><p><strong><strong>16:55 – GU 47, Dixie State 32:</strong> </strong>Bolton drives the baseline for a layup, but the Trailblazers are trading buckets with the Zags to start the second half. Both teams with 7 points out of the locker room.</p></p><p><p><strong>15:45 – GU 47, Dixie State 35:</strong> Gilbert’s 3-pointer cuts GU’s lead to 12. The Trailblazers now at 5 of 16 from deep compared to the Zags’ 3 of 14.</p></p><p><p><strong>13:02 – GU 55, Dixie State 39:</strong> Trailblazers cut the lead to 10, but a quick 6-0 run on layups from Hickman, Strawther and Timme force a Dixie State timeout.</p></p><p><p>Strawther nearing a double-double with 8 points, 8 rebounds. </p></p><p><p><!—-></p></p><p><p><strong>11:50 – GU 60, Dixie State 39:</strong> Strawther converts and and-1, then slams a dunk in transition to extend the Zags’ run to 11.</p></p><p><p>Strawther now leading the team with 13 points – 9 in the second half.</p></p><p><p><!—-></p></p><p><p><strong>8:13 – GU 71, Dixie State 49:</strong> Timme makes a layup for his eighth points and the Zags are now shooting 55% from the field.</p></p><p><p>GU has converted 13 of 19 attempts in the second half without Holmgren taking a shot. Bolton ties Strawther for the team high with 13 apiece.</p></p><p><p><strong>4:51 – GU 79, Dixie State 55:</strong> Strawther makes his first three of the game to extend his team high to 17 points with 10 rebounds.</p></p><p><p>Holmgren blocks his seventh shot of the game to tie the single-game school record set by Przemek Karnowski in 2014. Holmgren has 12 points, 13 rebounds, 7 blocks and 6 assists in his debut.</p></p><p><p><strong>1:04 – GU 95, Dixie State 63:</strong> Zags starters exited for the final four minutes. Strawther finishes with a team high 17 points.</p></p><p><p>Holmgren posts a 14 point, 13 rebound, 7 block, 6 steal performance in his first game for GU – tying the school’s single game block record.</p></p><p><p>Anton Watson has a solid night with 7 assists, 5 steals, 5 points and 3 rebounds.<strong> </strong></p></p><p><h3>Starting 5</h3></p><p><p><!–[photo id=751379]–></p></p><p><p>Gonzaga starts its season with a starting lineup of: Andrew Nembhard, Rasir Bolton, Julian Strawther, Chet Holmgren and Drew Timme.</p></p><p><h3>Pregame</h3></p><p><p>Gonzaga opens the 2021 season as the top-ranked team in both the Associated Press and coaches polls, with only UCLA receiving any other first place votes. It’s been a long offseason for GU, after losing to Baylor in the National Championship on April 5 for the second time in the past five years.</p></p><p><p>Follow along as GU begins its quest to claim its first NCAA title tonight, hosting Dixie-State to open the season at 6 p.m. on KHQ, and ROOT Sports outside of the Spokane area.</p></p><p><p><!—-></p></p><p><p><!—-></p></p><p><p><!—-></p></p><p><p><!—-></p></p><p><p><!—-></p></p><p><p><strong>Finding a rhythm</strong></p></p><p><p>Gonzaga cruised in its first two exhibition wins – to nobody’s surprise – beating Eastern Oregon 115-62 and Lewis-Clark State 112-62. While the games were filled with highlight breakaways and blocked shots, the biggest question mark is on GU’s outside shooting.</p></p><p><p>The Bulldogs went 16 of 48 from 3-point range in those games and struggled for stretches, though Chet Holmgren made 3 of 4 attempts and Julian Strawther made 5 of 10.</p></p><p><p><!—-></p></p><p><p><!—-> </p></p><p><p><strong>Series History</strong></p></p><p><p>The Bulldogs played the Trailblazers for the first time last year on Dec. 29, 2020, and winning 112-67. Corey Kispert led the team with 25 points, followed by Joel Ajayi’s 21 – both are now members of the NBA’s Washington Wizards. </p></p><p><p><!–[photoset id=10684]–></p></p><p><h3>Game preview</h3></p><p><p><!–[teaser id=982963]–></p></p><p><p><!–[teaser id=982983]–></p></p><p><h3>More on the Zags</h3></p><p><p><!–[teaser id=982921]–></p></p><p><p><!–[teaser id=982905]–></p></p><p><p><!–[teaser id=982829]–></p></p><p><p><!–[teaser id=982327]–></p></p><p><p><!–[teaser id=982319]–></p></p><p><p><!–[teaser id=982324]–></p></p><p><p><!–[teaser id=982326]–></p></p><p><p><!–[teaser id=982320]–></p></p>