SPOKANE, Wash. (AP) -- Leading scorer Ronny Turiaf was ailing and scored just two points -- 21 below his season average -- but his teammates made up for it.
Four Gonzaga players scored in double figures as the Bulldogs (No. 25 AP) blew out Saint Louis 75-45 on Saturday night.Turiaf was hobbled by a sprained ankle and was double-teamed all night as the Billikens tried to clog the middle.But forward Adam Morrison broke loose for 20 points, Derek Raivio added 13 and Sean Mallon and Erroll Knight 12 each as the Bulldogs won their fourth straight since losing to top-ranked
Illinois."We needed to start asserting ourselves as a tough, physical, hard-nosed team," coach Mark Few said.Gonzaga (7-1) took a 13-2 lead and held Saint Louis to 25 percent shooting in the first half to take a 32-17 lead at the break despite some rough shooting.The Bulldogs made 65 percent of their second-half shots to bury the Billikens (1-6), who lost their fourth straight.Knight, playing his first extended minutes of the season, provided his usual aggressive defense and also sank 4-of-7 shots."We needed him to step up," Few said. "He's our energizer on defense and he was fantastic tonight."Turiaf was playing only 60 to 70 percent because of the ankle he twisted at Washington State, Few said. But he still managed to pull down seven rebounds and made some nice passes for easy baskets while double-teamed inside. He also blocked three shots in 17
minutes."He did a great job of competing out there," Few said.Gonzaga outscored Saint Louis 24-6 in the paint.Saint Louis coach Brad Soderberg was upset at his team's play. The Billikens shot just 31 percent, including only 6-of-20 from 3-point range."I am so, so disappointed we couldn't come in here and make a better showing," Soderberg said. "We are not a good basketball team right now."He was particularly upset by 11 first-half turnovers that took his team out of the game."What Gonzaga has done here is just remarkable," Soderberg said. "We were outclassed in every way."Reggie Bryant scored 16 points for Saint Louis, 10 in the first
half. Vas'shun Newborne added 12 points.For the second straight game, Gonzaga faced a defense-oriented, low-scoring opponent. The Bulldogs won 54-52 at Washington State on Tuesday, despite their lowest point total of the season.Soderberg was a longtime assistant to Washington State coach Dick Bennett when both were at Wisconsin and uses the same defensive scheme. But after holding the Bulldogs to 40 percent shooting in the first half, the Billikens allowed them to make 15-of-23 in the second half.Gonzaga made 19-of-24 free throws. Saint Louis sank just 5-of-11.Saint Louis was scoreless in the opening five minutes and made just 6-of-24 shots in the first half to trail 32-17 at the break.In the second half, two baskets by Raivio and field goals by Mallon and Morrison keyed a 9-0 Gonzaga run as the Bulldogs built a 47-26 lead with just over 13 minutes left. The Billikens never threatened thereafter.In the first half, Saint Louis missed its first seven shots before Izik Ohanon's putback with 14:47 left. Gonzaga scored the next eight points for a 13-2 lead. Morrison scored five points in a 12-2 run that lifted Gonzaga to a 25-9 lead.Bryant scored the last eight points of the first half for Saint Louis. But the Bulldogs clamped down on Bryant, holding him to six points in the second half.The Billikens average only 53 points and 37 percent shooting.Gonzaga is 29-0 at home when ranked and has a 17-game home winning streak.