SPOKANE, Wash. (AP) — Julian Strawther had 17 points and 10 rebounds as top-ranked Gonzaga beat Dixie State 97-63 in their season opener Tuesday night without coach Mark Few on the sideline.
Few received a three-game suspension after he was cited for DUI in September. He previously sat out the team’s two exhibition games, but will be back when Gonzaga hosts No. 5 Texas on Saturday. Assistant coach Brian Michaelson served as interim head coach.
Rasir Bolton added 15 points for Gonzaga (1-0), which was undefeated last season before losing to Baylor in the national title game. The Zags are in the midst of a school-record 52-game home winning streak. Their last home loss was Jan. 18, 2018, to Saint Mary’s.
Touted freshman Chet Holmgren, the nation’s top-rated recruit, had 14 points, 13 rebounds, six assists and seven blocks in his debut as the Zags played before a home crowd for the first time since the 2019-20 season. Player of the Year candidate Drew Timme scored 11.
Cameron Gooden had 15 points and Dancell Leter scored 13 to lead Dixie State (0-1), a member of the Western Athletic Conference from St. George, Utah.
Gonzaga jumped to a 14-3 lead despite making just six of its first 18 shots.
Dixie State, however, made only one of its first 13 and trained 23-4 with 8:50 left in the first half.
Gonzaga led 40-25 at halftime behind 11 points, nine rebounds and five blocks from the 7-foot Holmgren.
Brock Gilbert’s 3-pointer pulled Dixie State to 47-35 early in the second. But the Zags replied with a 13-4 run, including nine points by Strawther, to take a 60-39 lead with 12 minutes left. The Zags pulled away after that.
Dixie State: Still making the transition to Division I, the Trailblazers were picked to finish 12th in the WAC. They have four returning starters from a team that finished 8-13 last season.
Gonzaga: The Zags started a little rough but poured it on in the second half. Timme was a unanimous preseason AP All-America selection, and along with teammates Holmgren and Andrew Nembhard is among 50 players named to the watch list for the Naismith Trophy, given to the nation’s top player. … Gonzaga has averaged 33 wins a season since 2015, best in the nation. The Bulldogs have won 17 straight regular-season openers dating to 2003.
Dixie State hosts neighbor Southern Utah on Friday.
Gonzaga amps up the competition Saturday, when No. 5 Texas comes to Spokane for an early-season showdown.
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