SPOKANE, WASHINGTON - Gonzaga’s rebounding was poor in a loss at No. 9 North Carolina last weekend, and Brandon Clarke said the No. 8 Bulldogs were determined to improve.
Clarke had 17 points and 13 rebounds, Rui Hachimura added 20 points and 11 boards, and Gonzaga pounded Texas-Arlington 89-55 on Tuesday night.
The Zags dominated the paint with a 53-31 rebound advantage after Clarke and Hachimura combined for just 10 against the Tar Heels.
“We are players who can get more than 10 boards per game,” Clarke said. “Tonight we came out and got those boards.”
Gonzaga lost last week against No. 3 Tennessee and North Carolina, knocking them from No. 1 in the AP Top 25.
“It burns we couldn’t get those two wins,” Clarke said. “Our defense and rebounding was something we had to work on.”
Coach Mark Few saw the difference.
“Certainly it was a better job than we did the other night,” Few said. “We rested and we challenged them a little bit. It’s exactly what we wanted to see.”
Five Zags scored in double figures.
Brian Warren scored 12 points for Texas-Arlington (3-8), which has lost seven straight. They fell to 1-31 against ranked teams.
The Mavericks were undone by poor shooting, making only 26.8 percent of their shots to 52.5 percent for Gonzaga.
“We needed to make some shots,'” said Chris Ogden, the first-year coach of the Mavericks.
“We took 12 more shots than they did and took care of the ball,” Ogden said. “At some point some of those shots need to go in.”
Gonzaga jumped out to a 19-5 lead behind consecutive 3-pointers from Josh Perkins while Texas-Arlington made just two of its first 15 shots.
Joel Ayayi’s layup put Gonzaga up 32-12. The Mavericks made just four of their first 22 shots, while Gonzaga was shooting 62 percent.
Warren hit consecutive 3-pointers to launch a 13-2 run that cut Gonzaga’s lead to 34-25, but Clarke and Hachimura each scored 13 points as Gonzaga took a 48-30 halftime lead. Gonzaga shot 60 percent in the first half while holding Texas-Arlington to 27.8 percent, including 5 of 17 from 3-point range.
The teams traded baskets in the second half, and a 15-3 run put Gonzaga up 70-41. The Mavericks did not threaten after that.
“Playing teams like Gonzaga will really help us come March,” Ogden said.