Ayayi Leads No. 1 Gonzaga Over Northern Arizona 88-58
SPOKANE, Wash.: Joel Ayayi had 17 points and 10 rebounds, Drew Timme added 14 points and top-ranked Gonzaga beat Northern Arizona 88-58 on Monday night.
Andrew Nembhard finished with 10 points and seven assists for Gonzaga (8-0), which has the nation’s longest home winning streak at 42 games.
Cameron Shelton scored 20 points and grabbed nine rebounds for Northern Arizona (1-6), which was undone by 35% shooting. Jay Green had 12 points.
Gonzaga used to play the Lumberjacks regularly when both were in the Big Sky Conference, but this was only their second meeting since 1979.
Freshman star Jalen Suggs did not play for Gonzaga due to a right leg injury, the team said.
The Zags didn’t need him.
Ayayi scored nine points as Gonzaga jumped to a 28-8 lead after eight minutes. The Zags made 12 of their first 16 shots.
Gonzaga pushed the lead to 36-14 with just under seven minutes left in the first half, dominating the Lumberjacks in the paint 20-8.
Ayayi had 14 points and nine rebounds at halftime, as the Zags led 51-23.
Northern Arizona was hampered by 22.9% shooting, making just eight of 35 shots. Green had 10 points at the break for the Lumberjacks.
Gonzaga opened the second half with a 14-4 run to take a 65-27 lead with 14 minutes left. The Zags sent in their bench players after that.
The Zags were coming off a 98-75 win Saturday over then-No. 16 Virginia in Fort Worth, Texas. That gave them a poll-record four wins over ranked teams in their first seven games. They do not have another currently ranked team on their schedule, and have a good chance to extend their seven-week stay at No. 1. It’s the longest stint in program history.
Northern Arizona: The Lumberjacks were coming off their first win of the season at Denver. They are led by Shelton, who averages 19.7 points per game.
Gonzaga: Corey Kispert was selected the West Coast Conference player of the week after scoring 77 points, including a career-high 32 against Virginia, in three victories. That bumped his season average to a team-high 22.4 points per outing. Meanwhile, Suggs was the WCC freshman of the week for the third time. He totaled 39 points, 20 rebounds, 18 assists and eight steals in three games.
Northern Arizona plays at Idaho on Thursday.
Gonzaga hosts Dixie State on Tuesday.
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