Zach Norvell Jr. scored 20 points and No. 7 Gonzaga started with a 29-1 run against North Alabama in a 96-51 victory on Friday night, the Bulldogs’ 13th straight win at home.
Brandon Clarke had 16 points, 12 rebounds, four blocks and three steals for Gonzaga (12-2), which was ranked No. 1 for two weeks earlier this season. Rui Hachimura added 14 points, Josh Perkins scored 13 and Corey Kispert had 10.
Christian Agnew scored 18 for North Alabama (3-11), which is in its first year of Division I basketball and is still seeking its first win over a D-I opponent.
For the second consecutive game, taller and quicker Gonzaga overwhelmed an opponent early.
The Zags went ahead 29-1 in the first seven minutes, making nine of their first 12 shots.
North Alabama did not make a field goal until nearly eight minutes were gone in the first, when Agnew scored.
The Lions’ second basket, also by Agnew, came four minutes later and they trailed 35-6.
Norvell’s basket put the Zags up 47-6 as North Alabama made just two of its first 20 shots.
Gonzaga led 48-14 at halftime after holding the Lions to 18.5 percent shooting, including 0 of 9 from 3-point range. North Alabama had two shot-clock violations and 10 turnovers in the first half.
North Alabama went on an 11-5 run to open the second half, cutting Gonzaga’s lead to 53-25, but the Lions could not get closer.
North Alabama: The Lions were a longtime Division II power, including national titles in 1979 and 1991. … While all three of their victories are against lower-division foes, they have been competitive in several games. … Freshman Jamari Blackmon, who came in leading the Lions in scoring at 16.2 points per game, finished with 14 points.
Gonzaga: This is the first Atlantic Sun Conference opponent the Zags have faced. … The Bulldogs were coming off a 101-40 win over Denver last Friday, with the 61-point victory margin the largest in program history. … The Zags came in averaging 93.9 points per game to 65.8 for North Alabama. … Gonzaga leads the nation with 257 assists.
North Alabama plays at Eastern Illinois on Sunday.
Gonzaga wraps up its nonconference schedule against Cal State-Bakersfield on Monday. The game may see the return of guard Geno Crandall, who has missed a month with a hand injury.
Source: The Associated Press