SAD NEWS: Mark Few is in a big trouble with the…..

Unforced errors cost Gonzaga in home loss to San Diego State: “We didn’t play smart enough.”
Grit and toughness were overshadowed by mental errors down the stretch, as the Bulldogs lost a rare home game to the Aztecs.
Gonzaga men’s basketball has rarely had mental lapses or unforced errors that have hampered its success. It’s even more unusual when both happen at the McCarthey Athletic Center, where the Bulldogs had not lost to a nonconference opponent since 2015, going into Friday’s game against San Diego State.

But the Aztecs (10-2) caught the perfect storm to pull off the upset over the Zags (9-4), who couldn’t get out of their own way with turnovers, a technical foul, and missed defensive assignments down the stretch in an 84-74 loss. Graham Ike led the way with 20 points and 10 rebounds, and Ryan Nembhard added 15 points, nine assists, and five rebounds in his fifth 40-minute game as a Bulldog.

Reese Waters led the Aztecs with 22 points, and Darrion Trammell scored 17 points off the bench, a season high. San Diego State’s reserves outscored Gonzaga’s, 32-11.

Here are three takeaways from Gonzaga’s defeat to the Aztecs.

Gonzaga nearly regained control of the game down the stretch thanks to its toughness and determination. San Diego State’s defensive intensity helped fluster and disrupt Gonzaga’s offense for the majority of the night. Down by as many as 15 points, Mark Few responded with a halfcourt zone press that rattled the Aztecs and allowed the Bulldogs to get back into the game.

“[The zone press] hurt us a little in the first half, but Anton up top makes a big difference,” Few said. “He really, I thought, changed things for us. We were able to get a couple of steals and get the crowd going again.

Gonzaga’s zone press resulted in five turnovers in three minutes, including a 10-second violation. A 10-point deficit quickly became a three-point game.

However, all of the tough baskets and scraps for loose balls down the stretch were insufficient to compensate for the mental components. Because, after Nembhard made it a four-point game with a baseline floater, Gonzaga’s defensive miscommunication left Miles Byrd wide open in the corner, bringing the score to 74-67 with 5:19 remaining. A few possessions later, with San Diego State leading 78-71 at 4:03, Watson reached in and hacked LeDee on a drive to the rim, bringing the game to nine points with less than four minutes remaining.

And before all of those minor mistakes late, Dusty Stromer was called for a technical foul for nudging a San Diego State player away from Watson earlier in the half. Later, Watson claimed Stromer was protecting a teammate, but Stromer did not play the final 15 minutes of the half. Granted, the Bulldogs played well with Gregg alongside the starters, but who knows what would have happened if Stromer had been in the lineup at certain points.

“I thought we fought, hung in there, battled, and played with great spirit, but we just didn’t play smart enough,” Few admitted. “These guys are full of fight, spirit, and substance. But at this point.

Gonzaga has exemplified spirit, grit, and intensity for extended periods of time this season. However, the team is still learning from one another, as Watson stated after the game, and much of that can be seen in the mental errors.

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