👀 Tonight was just the beginning...
John Calipari & Mark Few announced a home-and-home series starting November 20th in Spokane, with a return trip to Rupp next season 🍿— NCAA March Madness (@MarchMadnessMBB) August 3, 2022
Mark your calendars 🗓
Future games will be played on both programs’ home turf as well as at neutral sites. Here is where the matchups will be played through 2027.
Kentucky will have one of the best recruiting classes in 2023 as they’ll look to redeem this loss next season.
Gonzaga cruises past Kentucky, 88-72
Oh, so that's why Gonzaga is ranked No. 2. The Bulldogs handled Kentucky in Sunday's matchup, beating the Wildcats by double digits and never relinquishing their early lead.
Coming off Wednesday’s loss to Texas, head coach Mark Few and Gonzaga entered tonight's matchup hungry — and it showed. The Bulldogs consistently played with pace and fed off of the energy of the crowd in hopes of avoiding a second straight loss.
Though the game was not played at McCarthey Center, it acted as a home game for the Bulldogs as the venue was less than 10 minutes from Gonzaga’s campus. And in front of a record breaking crowd of 12,333 at Spokane Arena, the Bulldogs put on a show. Rasir Bolton scored a game-high 24 points, Drew Timme added 22 points and seven rebounds while Julian Strawther recorded a double-double with 20 points and 14 rebounds. The team had four players in double figures as Anton Watson charted 10 points as well.
🚨 HANDSTAND GAME 🚨 pic.twitter.com/ZQMZbUTg13— Gonzaga Basketball (@ZagMBB) November 21, 2022
Kentucky cut the lead down to five in the middle of the second half, but Gonzaga kept them at arm's length, maintaining control of the game. The squad continued to dominate the boards after the half, finishing the game +10 in rebounds (39-29). Kentucky simply had no solutions to stopping Gonzaga’s ability to drive to the basket as the lead ballooned back to double digits down the stretch.
Oscar Tshiebwe was forced to sit midway through the second half due to foul trouble, but finished the game with an efficient 20 points and 15 rebounds on 7-for-12 shooting. Two more members of Kentucky’s starting five finished in double figures, as Jacob Toppin had 16 points and Cason Wallace had 14 points; Antonio Reeves added 10 points off the bench.
Neither team shot the three particularly well. Kentucky went 6 for 25 from deep, while Gonzaga went 7 for 19. Both Tshiebwe and Timme made legitimate contributions to their player of the year campaigns, but with a win in tonight's outing, Timme may currently have the upper hand.
The Zags move to 4-1 on the season, while Kentucky moves to just above .500 at 3-2. Both teams’ next games are against unranked opponents as they take on Portland State and North Florida, respectively.
👀 Box score breakdowns
Here's a look at what each team's box score looks like early in the second half.
⏰ HALFTIME: Gonzaga 41, Kentucky 25
Gonzaga has controlled the game from the opening tip and have yet to trail in tonight’s outing. The reason? Rebounding. The Wildcats, and the team’s lack of size, are getting exposed on the glass as Gonzaga has out-rebounded Kentucky 24-14.
The Bulldogs’s size and obvious defensive prowess are keeping Kentucky out of the paint and forcing the ‘Cats into low percentage shots. The Wildcats shot just 25% from the field in the first half, going 0-10 from deep. Oscar Tschiebwe leads all scorers with 14 points.
Coach Calipari opted to run a full court press for much of the first half to try to contain Gonzaga and keep them from having a full shot clock in the half court. But, to no avail. Gonzaga is shooting nearly over 50% from the field; Julian Strawther has a team-high 12 points, while Drew Timme ends the first half with 8 points.
Gonzaga’s inability to take care of the ball explains why its 16 point lead isn’t a 26 point lead. The Bulldogs style of offense, which includes a lot of ball movement and cuts to the rim, are reminiscent of the 2021-22 Golden State warriors, which has caused them to turn the ball over 10 times.
DREW TIMME ARE YOU SERIOUS ‼️ pic.twitter.com/vOpcox1t6i— Gonzaga Basketball (@ZagMBB) November 21, 2022
They’ll look to keep turnovers to a minimum in the second half, but have little else to improve on. If the Wildcats want to claw their way back in this one, they’ll need to play with more intensity in the second half, crash the boards and find their way into the paint.
And we’re off — Starting lineups for No. 2 Gonzaga vs. No. 4 Kentucky
Here are tonight's starting lineups:
Kentucky (blue) :
- Cason Wallace
- Savir Wheeler
- C.J. Fredrick
- Jacob Toppin
- Oscar Tschiebwe
- Julian Strawther
- Nolan Hickman
- Rasir Bolton
- Drew Timme
- Anton Watson
How to watch No. 2 Gonzaga face No. 4 Kentucky
Don't miss a minute of men's college basketball action. Here how and when to watch tonight's game:
When: Sunday, Nov. 20 at 7:30 p.m. ET
Where: Spokane Arena in Spokane, Wash.
TV Channel: ESPN
No. 2 Gonzaga vs. No. 4 Kentucky, previewed
We have a Sunday night showdown, folks! Gonzaga takes on Kentucky in a top 5, non-conference battle as each squad looks to hand the other its second straight loss of the season.
The matchup features two player of the year candidates in UK’s Oscar Tschiebwe, who won the honor in 2021, and Gonzaga’s Drew Timme. Fans will be in for a treat as both seniors look to prove which big man owns the title of the top forward in the nation. Tschiebwe, who is averaging 14 points and 12.5 boards, is expected to lace up after missing the first two games this season. His Wildcats enter Sunday’s action at 3-1 after falling to Michigan State 86-77 in the Champions Classic last week.
Drew Timme is off to a monster start this year, averaging 20.7 points and 8 rebounds through the first three games, as Gonzaga comes into the matchup 2-1 after a 93-74 loss to No. 11 Texas on Wednesday.
The two programs have only met one prior time in history, 20 years ago in the Maui Invitational in which Kentucky bested Gonzaga, 80-72, to take third place in the tournament. If this game looks anything like how these two teams have started this season, expect lots of scoring, fast pace offenses and a March Madness like atmosphere in Spokane.