#6 Gonzaga Set to Take on San Francisco


After getting revenge on the Portland Pilots last Saturday, the Zags look to carry momentum into Thursday’s game against the San Francisco Dons.  The Zags started conference play on a three game road trip, so they will be looking forward to playing at home once again.

The Dons come into this game on a three game losing skid.  They are 1-3 in conference play with their win coming against Pacific.  The Dons’ leading scorer is junior center, Mark Tollefsen.  He is averaging 15.1 points per game along with 5.3 rebounds per game.  His three point percentage is 43.6%.  It will be interesting to see how Gonzaga decides to defend the 6′ 9″ center because of his range.  Gonzaga has the height and size to match up with him, but many of the post players are not used to having to defend the three point shot.

The Dons have a strong combination in the post with Tollefsen and senior forward/center, Kruize Pinkins.  Pinkins averages 15.0 points per game and 5.9 rebounds per game.  The key to stopping the Dons is shutting down their post players.

In Gonzaga’s last game Kevin Pangos and Przemek Kanowski both had 21 points.  They played as well as they have all season.  Kyle Wiltjer was not as productive as usual due to early foul trouble in that game.  I would expect Wiltjer to come out with a chip on his shoulder in this game against San Francisco.

What to watch for

Eric McClellan’s debut.

Dec 30, 2013; Nashville, TN, USA; Vanderbilt Commodores guard Eric McClellan (1) shoots against Saint Louis Billikens forward Jake Barnett (30) during the first half at Memorial Gym. Mandatory Credit: Jim Brown-USA TODAY Sports

The Vanderbilt transfer is eligible to play in this game.  According to McClellan’s twitter account he is unsure if he will play or not due to a foot injury.  He is set to make an immediate impact at the point guard position when he is able to play.  He should take his time and make sure the his is healed and completely ready to go before stepping on the court.  Zag fans know all too well what it is like to have a point guard play with a foot injury.

Post play.  The Dons are lead by their post players.  Their talented forwards and centers present an interesting challenge for the Zags.  I’m looking to watching this battle of the bigs.

Gonzaga’s game plan.  It will be interesting to see if the Zags continue to focus on playing through the post in this game or if they decide to work more through the backcourt.  I think a lot of this will depend on if McClellan plays or not.

The game will be broadcast on Root and will begin at 6:00 pm PT.