The Gonzaga Bulldogs gave their fans at the kennel a preview of the 2018-19 season Thursday night. They beat CWU 108-69 in an exhibition game.
The Kennel in Spokane was unleashed for the 2018-19 season on Thursday, November 1 with a Gonzaga Bulldogs exhibition game against Central Washington University. An obvious void during the game was Killian Tillie who will be out for the first eight weeks of the season due to an ankle stress fracture.
Will the Zags make it unscathed through their non-conference schedule and make a deep run at the Maui Invitational? This leads us to wonder, who will become the alpha dog during the next eight weeks, especially at the Maui On The Mainland campus opening round game against Texas Southern on November 10? It won’t be easy without Tille.
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Even without Tille, the Zags still took home an easy 108-69 win. Here are a few takeaways, but they are questions the Bulldogs need to answer going forward.
Not surprising, Junior Rui Hachimura was the top dog on Thursday evening scoring 23 points, eight of eight free throws, and five rebounds, but can Rui carry the load on his own? Will he be the next Adam Morrison, or will this talented Bulldogs team that had six double-digit players–Zach Norvell Jr. (14), Josh Perkins (12), Corey Kispert (10) and Jeremy Jones (10), band together as one? With a loaded Zags bench, which of these players will emerge in the absence of Killian Tillie’s place?
Will Brandon Clarke emerge into an Alpha Dog?
After sitting a year as a redshirt junior, Brandon Clarke debuted Thursday night with 18 points and 11 rebounds. Will Brandon Clarke be able to pick up the load left behind by Tillie? His sophomore season with San Jose State he averaged 17.3 points per game, 2.6 blocks, 2.3 assists, 3.5 offensive rebounds, and 5.7 defensive rebounds.
Clarke is nearly 5 points, 4 rebounds, and almost one assist better per game than Killian Tillie. If we go by numbers, then yes, the Zags will be able to adapt without him for the next eight weeks. But, only time will tell. We will definitely find out when they play Texas A&M on November 15.
The games that count start on November 6 against Idaho State.