No. 1 Gonzaga Makes Major Statement, Defeats No. 6 Kansas on Thanksgiving Day

Timothy Rapp@@TRappaRTFeatured ColumnistNovember 26, 2020

Gonzaga forward Drew Timme (2) grabs a rebound during the second half of an NCAA college basketball game \S| in Spokane, Wash., Thursday, Feb. 27, 2020. (AP Photo/Young Kwak)
Young Kwak/Associated Press

Gonzaga sure looks like the No. 1 team in the nation. 

The top-ranked Bulldogs made a major statement on Thanksgiving, pulling away from No. 6 Kansas in a 102-90 win at the Fort Myers Tip-Off on the campus of Florida SouthWestern State College. 

It's never a great sign for the rest of college basketball when a team features three players capable of putting up 20 or more points in a game, as Drew Timme, Corey Kispert and Jalen Suggs all did Thursday. 

Despite the loss, Kansas still looks like a legitimate national championship contender. There's little shame in losing a matchup vs. the loaded Bulldogs, who led by eight at halftime, staved off a fast Kansas start to the second half and zoomed past the Jayhawks in the last 10 minutes. 

Gonzaga is loaded. It sure looks like national championship-or-bust for these Bulldogs. 

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The Fort Myers Tip-Off will continue Thursday when Auburn faces Saint Joseph's at 4:30 p.m. ET.  


Key Stats    

Drew Timme, Gonzaga: 25 points, six rebounds, two steals

Corey Kispert, Gonzaga: 23 points, four rebounds

Jalen Suggs, Gonzaga: 24 points, eight assists

Marcus Garrett, Kansas: 22 points

Ochai Agbaji, Kansas: 17 points, four assists

Jalen Wilson, Kansas: 11 points, four rebounds


Drew Timme Put on a Show

Get ready to see the headline "It's Timme Time!" a few times this season. 

Timme not only led all scorers Thursday, but he was also incredibly efficient (11-of-15) in doing so. He perhaps isn't as highly regarded as Kispert or Suggs, but boy, can he play. 

Good luck dealing with this Gonzaga team in the 2020-21 season. Timme would be most teams' best player, and he might be the third option for the Bulldogs. That's horrifying for opponents. 

Timme time, indeed. 


Jalen Wilson's Development Is Crucial for Kansas' Season

There's no question that Kansas has one of the better backcourts in the country, led by senior Garrett, (the reigning Defensive Player of the Year), junior Agbaji and sophomore Christian Braun. The Jayhawks will be very good on the perimeter. 

The frontcourt is a major question mark, however, with Udoka Azubuike now playing his for the Utah Jazz. That's where Wilson comes in. 

Overall, the freshman played well in his first collegiate start, a good sign for the Jayhawks:

Granted, the Jayhawks will probably play small quite a bit this year, given their glut of talented guards. Head coach Bill Self said before Thursday's game that it will be a "coin flip" between Wilson and fellow freshman Bryce Thompson as to who starts, per Kansas broadcaster Brian Hanni, with Wilson getting the nod against Gonzaga because of the Bulldogs' size. 

He outplayed both David McCormack and Mitch Lightfoot against Gonzaga, however. Wilson has a chance to carve out an important role this season, and he could be the difference between Kansas being a very good team and a great one. 


What's Next?

The tournament will conclude Friday, with Gonzaga taking on Auburn at 11 a.m. ET and Kansas facing Saint Joseph's at 2 p.m.