FORESTVILLE – After suffering a four-point loss to St. John’s, the Gonzaga Eagles had no problem taking care of Bishop McNamara on Friday night.
Gonzaga Head Coach Steve Turner said his team just had to get back to playing “Gonzaga basketball.”
“Just trying to get back to doing things the right way,” Turner said. “I felt in that (St. John’s) game we were a little impatient at times, but tonight we did a better job in moving the ball, taking the opportunities to take good shots versus great shots, and it paid off for us tonight.”
The Eagles took an early 14-8 lead in the first quarter. Bishop McNamara cut the lead to seven, but in the second quarter, Gonzaga completely dominated in the paint and from behind the arc, taking a 44-21 lead going into the half.
Gonzaga hit nine three-pointers in total, and McNamara just could not stop the Eagles’ perimeter offense. After taking a 65-39 lead heading into the fourth quarter, and ultimately an 86-57 win, it was clear that Gonzaga’s shooting capabilities were key in the win.
“We have a pretty good shooting team,” Turner said. “We make those shots when we move the ball and take a few passes to a shot as opposed to one pass to a shot, shooting a ball under duress versus giving shots that we got tonight with open looks.”
Senior Chris Lykes scored a game-high 20 points in the win, and although junior Prentiss Hubb didn’t score until the third quarter when he scored four, his defensive presence and assists were paramount in the win for the Eagles.
“It felt really good to get the win,” Hubb said. “We had to come out with great intensity even though we had lost the game on Tuesday. We just came out and showed our resiliency and that we’re not going to hang our heads low after a loss.
“I think we had a bad game against St. John’s and we just came out with a clear mindset, and just came out to play. We always got each other’s backs and pretty much have confidence in one another and cheer each other on in all we do.”
With four games left in the season, Turner’s primary goal is to make sure his team is ready to go in the last week so they can close this season out on a good note.
“The biggest thing is just staying focused on taking one game at a time. Right now the next game, and only game that matters, is Good Counsel,” Turner said.
Although Bishop McNamara’s Makhi Mitchell scored a team-high of 19 points, Head Coach Marty Keithline’s young team is still trying to find its identity. It had a lot of mishaps that contributed to the loss.
“Turnovers. Rotations. We were pretty bad on defense and could not get any confidence early, which was a downfall for us. We’re a young team regarding varsity experience, so not getting off to a good start hurt us,” Keithline said.
However, Keithline is optimistic that his young squad will play some of its best basketball to conclude an unusually rough season for the Mustangs.
“We have a week left and we’re just trying to get everybody playing their best basketball at the end of the season,” he said.
McNamara will look for its first win since Jan. 17 against Archbishop Carroll on Feb. 14 at 7 p.m.