Gonzaga basketball suffered its first defeat in an upset to the Dayton Flyers in the Maui Invitational.
The Bulldogs dropped the ball against the Flyers, but they were able to make adjustments on the fly and beat Chaminade by double digits.
With nonconference challenges against Arkansas, New Mexico State and Kansas State looming, the Bulldogs will need to learn from mistakes made against Dayton to be successful.
In the loss to Dayton, Gonzaga had three players—Sam Dower, Przemek Karnowski and Kevin Pangos—foul out at vital times in the contest.
It is especially important that Dower and Karnowski learn to avoid fouls, as there is very little depth behind them both.
Karnowski has reached four fouls in three of his six games this season, and Sam Dower has had two such games.
After the two big men fouled out, Drew Barham, traditionally a small forward, was forced to play center for the Bulldogs.
If Gonzaga wants to maximize its chances of winning, its big men will have to remain on the floor.
Gonzaga’s greatest weakness is its inability to keep opposing guards out of the lane.
This puts Gonzaga’s big men in risk of fouling, and with such little depth behind them, this is incredibly dangerous.
Furthermore, teams have had a great deal of success kicking to outside shooters.
In its last four contests, Gonzaga has given up an average of 9.25 three-pointers to opposing teams.
The large lead against Dayton was quickly eliminated by way of the three-point shot.
For the Bulldogs to win, the team must play better defense on the perimeter to protect from inside fouls and outside shooting.
Gerard Coleman played just nine minutes in the loss to Dayton.
He was incredibly effective in his time on the floor. He scored seven points and had two steals.
Gonzaga’s offense is much more potent when Coleman is on the floor.
Coleman is the most athletic player to don a Gonzaga uniform in recent memory, and his ability to create his own shot is a skill unparalleled.
At this time, the player he is competing for minutes with is senior point guard David Stockton.
While Stockton is an incredible playmaker, his inability to score the basketball makes him a liability on offense, and his small size hurts his ability to guard larger guards.
Mark Few must give more minutes to Coleman if the Bulldogs are going to guard larger guards and be more dynamic on offense.
The Bulldogs rank 256th in the nation in rebounds per game with just 33.8. This is obviously not ideal.
Gonzaga’s inability to rebound the basketball has been an Achilles' heel just waiting to be exploited all season long.
Dayton finally took advantage of this critical weakness, and this allowed them to take down the Zags.
The Flyers had 42 rebounds to Gonzaga’s 32, but more importantly, Dayton had 18 offensive rebounds.
With 18 second chances to score, it is no wonder the Flyers were able to storm back.
Gonzaga will need a greater team effort in rebounding the basketball if it is going to avoid further losses.