Gonzaga Bulldogs vs. Jackson State Tigers Pick & Prediction DECEMBER 20th 2023


Shooting from behind the arc has been a dicey proposition for No. 15 Gonzaga this season.

After seemingly finding the mark by making 22 of 46 over a two-game span, the Bulldogs (8-3) are back in a pronounced swoon entering their Wednesday game against Jackson State at Spokane, Wash.

Gonzaga is a dismal 22.2 percent (12 of 54) from 3-point range over its past three games, two of them setbacks against Washington and No. 5 UConn.

The Bulldogs were 5 of 18 at Washington, 5 of 24 vs. Mississippi Valley State and 2 of 12 against UConn.

“We work on our shots,” said Gonzaga guard Ryan Nembhard, who is just 6 of 32 from long range on the season. “We’ve maybe got to take some better ones, but I think for the most part we got some really solid looks.”

Overall, the Bulldogs are shooting 32.3 percent (72 of 223) from 3-point range. Nolan Hickman has a team-high 17 treys while shooting 34.7 percent from deep, while reserve Ben Gregg (10 of 22) has made a team-leading 45.5 percent of his 3-point attempts.

Dismal shooting — Gonzaga made just 39 percent overall — wasn’t the only problem on Friday during the Bulldogs’ 76-63 loss to UConn in Seattle.

The Huskies shot 55.8 percent from the field and had a 17-8 edge in points off turnovers. UConn led by as many as 18 and never trailed while dispatching the Zags for the second time in nine months. The Huskies trampled Gonzaga 82-54 in last season’s NCAA Tournament Elite Eight.

“We need to have everybody play really good in a game like this,” Gonzaga coach Mark Few said, “and that didn’t happen.”

Anton Watson scored 20 points and Nembhard added 15 against UConn. No other Gonzaga player scored more than eight.

Watson leads the Bulldogs with a 14.5 scoring average. Graham Ike is averaging 13.4 points with Hickman (12.2), Nembhard (12.1) and backup Braden Huff (10.7) also scoring in double digits.

Gonzaga will look to rediscover its stroke against Jackson State (4-7), a team that has yet to play at home this season. The games against the Zags on Wednesday and Northwestern on Dec. 29 will make it 13 straight away from home — 11 on the road and two last weekend in Las Vegas as part of the Chris Paul HBCU Challenge.

The Tigers won both games in Las Vegas, beating Howard 81-74 on Saturday and following up with a 68-60 victory over North Carolina A&T on Sunday.

Jordan O’Neal had back-to-back solid games with 19 points against Howard and 24 vs. North Carolina A&T. Howard ranks second on the squad in scoring at 11.9 points per game. Ken Evans Jr. leads the way at 17.5.

Jackson State’s most impressive result was a 73-72 win at Missouri on Nov. 19. Chase Adams hit a short fadeaway jumper with 5.3 seconds left to give the Tigers the upset victory.

Among the teams Jackson State has lost to are Memphis, Georgetown and No. 3 Houston.

Tigers coach Mo Williams, a former NBA All-Star guard, said after the loss to Georgetown that his team has embraced the tough schedule and the frequent plane flights.

“We have a resilient group of guys. I have a bunch of dogs,” Williams said. “We just get prepared for the next game.”

The contest will be the first between Jackson State and Gonzaga.

–Field Level Media

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