Monday's college basketball: Kispert leads No. 1 Gonzaga over Northwestern State 95-57

Nicholas K. Geranios
Associated Press

Spokane, Wash. — Corey Kispert of top-ranked Gonzaga was in the zone early in the game against Northwestern State of Louisiana, and his shooting kept the Bulldogs ahead.

“My first couple of shots went down and I was able to be dialed in the rest of the game,’’ said Kispert, who scored 27 points as Gonzaga beat Northwestern State 95-57 on Monday night in the Bulldogs’ home opener.

Gonzaga guard Jalen Suggs, center, grabs a rebound next to teammate guard Joel Ayayi, right, and Northwestern State guard Trenton Massner during the first half.

“Everything slows down,’’ Kispert said. ”Just being in the zone.’’

Anton Watson scored 15 points for Gonzaga (5-0), while Jalen Suggs added 12 points, seven rebounds and seven assists.

Carvell Teasett scored 16 points and Jairus Roberson 12 for Northwestern State (1-8), which is picked to finish near the bottom of the Southland Conference.

Kispert made 10 of 13 shots and added seven rebounds in the first meeting between the teams.

The second meeting will occur on Tuesday night.

Gonzaga Coach Mark Few acknowledged that it is unusual for teams to play back-to-back games, “but we’ve never been in a pandemic, scheduling.’’

“It’s going to be a total mental challenge,’’ Few said.

“There is nothing like game experience,’’ Few said. ”You can’t simulate that in practice.’’

The unusual arrangement came about when Gonzaga had five games erased by the pandemic earlier this month.

“We were running out of options,’’ Few said.

Gonzaga has won 32 consecutive regular-season home openers since losing to Boise State in 1988.

The Zags were coming off of a 99-88 win over then-No. 3 Iowa in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, on Saturday.

They outrebounded the Demons 46-22 and outscored them 50-22 in the paint.

“Our Achilles’ heel was their offensive rebounds and putbacks,’’ Demons coach Mike McConathy said. “They had 27 second-chance points and 50 points in the paint. It’s frustrating, but guys stepped up and continued to compete and continued to play.”

Kispert hit three 3-pointers in the first eight minutes as Gonzaga jumped to a 19-5 lead.

The Demons countered with an 8-0 run to cut Gonzaga’s lead to 19-13.

Gonzaga led 43-30 at halftime behind 15 points by Kispert. Northwestern State hung around despite shooting just 35% in the first. Teasett had 10 points for the Demons in the first.

Gonzaga built a 53-33 lead in the opening minutes of the second half behind six points by Kispert. The lead reached 30 points with eight minutes left in the game.

Despite the beating, Northwestern State is ready to go again on Tuesday, McConathy said.

“It’s a great opportunity to play against the No. 1 team in the nation, and we get to do it again tomorrow,’’ he said. “We have to cut down on our turnovers and keep our guys up, keep encouraging them.”

With the win over Iowa, the Bulldogs became just the third team all-time to beat three AP top-15 opponents in their first four games of a season, joining 1974-75 Indiana and 1968-69 UCLA. They have also beaten Kansas and West Virginia this season.

More Top 25

No. 2 Baylor 99, Arkansas-Pine Bluff 42: Freshman guard LJ Cryer scored 15 points to lead five players in double figures as Baylor cruised past Arkansas-Pine Bluff.

The Bears (6-0) are the only Big 12 team left without a loss and have scored at least 80 points in six consecutive games for the first time since 1994.

Preseason AP All-American guard Jared Butler had 14 points and seven assists, while MaCio Teague scored 13 points and Matthew Mayer had 12. Jonathan Tchamwa Tchatchoua had 10 points and eight rebounds for Baylor, and Flo Thamba added eight rebounds.

Shaun Doss Jr. finished with 25 points and 10 rebounds to lead Arkansas-Pine Bluff (1-8).

(At) No. 8 Tennessee 102, Saint Joseph's 66: Victor Bailey scored 18 points and Tennessee beat winless Saint Joseph’s.

Bailey was one of six players who scored in double figures for the Volunteers (5-0). Santiago Vescovi had 16 points, seven rebounds and five assists, while Yves Pons added 13 points and nine rebounds. Keon Johnson had 12 points, and John Fulkerson and Jaden Springer each scored 10.

Ryan Daly topped the Hawks (0-5) with 13 points. Dahmir Bishop scored 12, while Taylor Funk and Rahmir Moore added 10 each.

(At) No. 21 Florida State 72, Gardner-Webb 59: Anthony Polite had a career-high 15 points and Balsa Koprivica added a season-best 14 as Florida State pulled away late to defeat Gardner-Webb.

Polite scored in double figures for the fourth straight game.

The Seminoles (5-1) outrebounded Gardner Webb 53-30 and went 24 of 32 (75%) from the free-throw line to put the game away.

Lance Terry had 23 points for Gardner-Webb (1-4), which did not score in the final 2:42.

(At) No. 24 Virginia Tech 84, Longwood 58: Jalen Cone scored 18 points off the bench to lead No. 24 Virginia Tech over Longwood.

Cone shot 6 of 15 from the floor — all 3-pointers — for the Hokies (7-1), who struggled for 30 minutes before pulling away down the stretch to win their third straight game. Keve Aluma added 14 points and Joe Bamisile finished with 11, leading a balanced Virginia Tech offense as 10 players scored.

Leslie Nkereuwem paced Longwood (1-7) with 10 points.

The Lancers trailed 45-40 after a basket by Juan Munoz with 11:39 remaining. The Hokies, though, scored on their next 13 possessions to pull away, with Cone hitting three of Virginia Tech’s five 3-pointers in that span.