Spokane, Wash. — Top-ranked Gonzaga beat Detroit Mercy by 21 points in its first game since being ranked No. 1, but coach Mark Few wasn’t terribly pleased with the effort of his players.
‘’We were a little choppy tonight,”’ Few said after the 93-72 victory on Monday. “We’ve got to be better than we were tonight.’’
Few said the No. 1 ranking is a big motivator for opponents.
‘’You get all kinds of crazy efforts out of the people you are playing against,’’ Few said. “‘We’ve got to embrace this challenge.’’
Filip Petrusev scored 22 points and Ryan Woolridge added 21 points and eight assists for Gonzaga (14-1), which earlier Monday retained the No. 1 ranking in the poll for the second week. Gonzaga had not played since Dec. 21.
Drew Timme scored 13 points and Anton Watson 11 for the Zags, who wrapped up the non-conference season with their victory.
Antoine Davis scored 31 points and Justin Miller 17 for Detroit Mercy (2-12), which was playing the nation’s top-ranked team for the first time since they lost to Michigan in the 1977 NCAA Tournament in Dick Vitale’s last game as the Titans coach.
Gonzaga has won 31 consecutive home games, longest streak in the nation.
The Zags came out hot and built a 27-8 lead in the first nine minutes. They got three 3-pointers from Woolridge during the run.
“‘We were all jacked up,’’ Detroit Mercy coach Mike Davis said. “‘We’ve been talking about this game since October. Our guys were a little tight.’’
The Titans fought back and Davis hit a long 3-pointer to bring Detroit Mercy within 32-19. Three consecutive 3-pointers by the Titans — by Davis, Willy Isiani and Jordan Gorman — cut Gonzaga’s lead to 40-30.
Gonzaga replied with a 13-7 run to take a 53-37 lead at halftime.
The Zags shot 73 percent (19-of-26) in the first half, including 7-of-11 from 3-point range. Woolridge led all scorers with 17 points in the first, including all four of his 3-point attempts.
“We were getting the ball to the right spots and the right people,’’ Few said.
Neither team shot well in the second half.
But the Bulldogs scored the first 12 points of the second, building a 65-37 lead and holding the Titans scoreless for more than four minutes.
Davis hit a 3-pointer to bring the Titans within 77-58 late in the second half, but the Bulldogs held them off for their sixth consecutive win.
“‘I loved playing this game,’’ Mike Davis said, noting that Gonzaga was very talented and very well-coached. “‘Hopefully this can help us in our conference.’’
Few said his team has done a good job so far of dealing with the hype of a high ranking all season.
“They’ve done a wonderful job of handling everything thrown at them,”’ Few said.
More state men
(At) Eastern Michigan 88, Concordia 53: Boubacar Toure had 14 points as Eastern Michigan rolled past Concordia.
Thomas Binelli added 12 points for Eastern Michigan (10-3). Ty Groce had 11 points, nine rebounds and five assists, and Chris Barnes scored 11 points. The Eagles entered ranked second in the MAC and in the top 35 nationally by holding their opponents to 61.3 points per game. The Cardinals made just 19 of 52 shots (37 percent).
Eastern Michigan dominated the first half and led 52-24 at the break. The Eagles’ 52 points in the first half were a season high for the team.
Thomas Hronis had 17 points for the Cardinals. Jerald Booker added 13 points, and Paul Zysk had 10 points.
(At) UCF 64, Central Michigan 58: Kay Kay Wright poured in 20 points while Brittney Smith added 12 and Sianni Martin 10 for UCF (8-4), which ended Central's seven-game winning streak. Micaela Kelly had 26 points, including six 3-pointers, for the Chippewas (7-4), who were outscored 37-19 in the second and third quarters.
Western Michigan 70, (at) Loyola Chicago 60: Jordan Walker fired in a game-high 21 points while Breanna Mobley had 11 points with 14 rebounds to lead Western (7-4), which has won five of its last six. Kamrin Reed added 13 points and Leighah-Amori Wood 10 for Western. Abby O'Connor had 17 points for Loyola (9-2).
Big Ten men
(At) Rutgers 94, Caldwell 69: Jacob Young had 23 points on 9-of-12 shooting with eight rebounds and six assists and Paul Mulcahy had 14 points on 6-of-7 shooting as Rutgers defeated Division II Caldwell.
Rutgers (10-3, 1-1 Big Ten) jumped to an early lead, but Caldwell’s Anthony Cooper hit a 3-pointer on the right wing on a fast break to make it 9-8 with 15:43 left, forcing Rutgers to call a timeout. The Scarlet Knights went on a 15-0 run after talking things over before taking a 42-23 halftime lead in the wire-to-wire victory.
Mulchay — who also had five rebounds and five assists — missed his first shot four minutes into the second half, on a pull-up jumper in the paint. Young missed his first shot three minutes later on a jumper.
Ruud Lutterman led Caldwell (6-6) with 16 points, while Cooper had 10 points.
Top 25 men
(At) No. 6 Baylor 83, Jackson State 57: Jared Butler scored 18 points, Freddie Gillespie had another double-double and Baylor won its ninth straight game before the start of Big 12 play.
The Bears (10-1) missed their first six shots and didn’t score until MaCio Teague had a three-point play after both teams went scoreless for nearly the first four minutes.
After Jackson State (3-10) took its only lead at 8-7 on a 3-pointer by Miles Daniels, Baylor went on a game-deciding 32-6 run in less than seven minutes. The Bears made 11 of 13 field goals in the run and six players scored at least four points.
Teague finished with 16 points and Davion Mitchell had 10 for the Bears. Gillespie had 10 points and 13 rebounds for his fifth double-double this season.
Roland Griffin had 16 points to lead Jackson State. Tristan Jarrett finished 4-of-17 shooting and scored all 12 of his points after halftime.
(At) No. 9 Memphis 84, Tulane 73: Lester Quinones scored 16 points, Damion Baugh finished with 15 and Memphis weathered a second-half rally in the teams’ American Athletic Conference opener.
Precious Achiuwa finished with 14 points and 10 rebounds as Memphis (12-1, 1-0 AAC) won its 10th straight.
K.J. Lawson, who played two seasons at Memphis, led Tulane with 22 points. Christion Thompson added 17. Jordan Walker finished with 13, including nine straight points as Tulane (8-5, 0-1) tried to rally down the stretch.
(At) No. 10 Villanova 68, Xavier 62: Collin Gillespie scored 16 of his game-high 24 points in the second half to lead Villanova to victory over Xavier in the Big East Conference opener for both teams.
Jermaine Samuels added 14 points for Villanova (10-2), which has won six in a row.
Naji Marshall had 19 points to pace Xavier (9-3).
Villanova led by as many as 17 points in the first half, but had that advantage trimmed to seven, 32-25, at the break. Xavier got within four early in the half, but the Musketeers could not get closer.
(At) No. 20 Dayton 77, North Florida 59: Obi Toppin scored a career-high 31 points as Dayton used its front-line advantage and pulled away from North Florida.
The Flyers (11-2) took advantage of their height mismatch and used their quickness to force 21 turnovers that set up easy baskets. Dayton scored 52 of its points in the paint.
Toppin led the way, going 15 of 24 from the field. He also had a team-high eight rebounds. Rodney Chatman had nine assists.
Point guard Jalen Crutcher returned after missing one game with a concussion and had 11 points with a pair of assists.
North Florida (7-8) leads the nation in 3-pointers made but couldn’t make enough to keep it close. The Ospreys went 12 of 28 from beyond the arc. Carter Hendricksen led with 12 points.