PORTLAND, Ore. (AP)Killian Tillie had 22 points and Corey Kispert added 18, and top-ranked Gonzaga rallied in the second half to beat Portland 85-72 on Thursday night for the Bulldogs’ 12th straight victory over the Pilots.
Ryan Woolridge had 15 points for Gonzaga (15-1), which opened West Coast Conference play with its seventh straight win. The Bulldogs’ lone loss this season came in the Bahamas on Nov. 29 to Michigan.
It was the fifth straight loss for Portland (8-8, 0-1 WCC). JoJo Walker led the Pilots with 15 points.
The Bulldogs entered as the top scoring team in the nation, averaging 88.5 points per game, but the Pilots surprisingly took a 42-35 lead into halftime, stunning the sizable contingent of Zag fans at the Chiles Center.
A 16-0 run early in the second half gave the lead back to Gonzaga, which led by as many as 18 points.
Gonzaga jumped out to an 18-7 lead early on Kispert’s 3-pointer, but the Pilots closed the gap to 19-18 on Walker’s 3-pointer.
Theo Akwuba’s layup and consecutive baskets from Quincy Ferebee gave the Pilots a 24-21 lead with 8:43 left in the opening half.
Portland stretched the lead to 32-27 following Isaiah White’s 3-pointer, and the Pilots’ bench celebrated wildly when Walker’s fast-break layup fell to make it 34-29.
The Pilots made 6 of 8 3-point attempts in the first half, while Gonzaga was 2 for 10 from the perimeter.
But the Bulldogs closed the gap early in the second half on Woolridge’s layup and a 3-pointer to pull within 47-46. Tillie’s layup and dunk gave Gonzaga back the lead at 50-47. Timme’s free throws capped the 16-0 run, which made it 55-47.
Tillie’s 3-pointer extended Gonzaga’s lead to 67-55. Five Zags finished in double figures.
Gonzaga: Coach Mark Few has lost just twice to the Pilots. … Kispert led all scorers at the half with 11 points. … The Bulldogs came in as the only team in the country with six players averaging in double figures. … Gonzaga went 16-0 in conference play last season. … Gonzaga alum and current Portland Trail Blazer Zach Collins was among the Bulldog fans at the game. Afterward, the team applauded the crowd from the floor.
Portland: The Pilots’ last win in the series was on Jan. 9, 2014, 82-73 in Portland. … It was the first time a No. 1-ranked team has visited the Chiles Center, which opened in 1984. … The Pilots have already bested the team’s seven wins last season.
Gonzaga: The Zags return to Spokane to host Pepperdine on Saturday.
Portland: The Pilots host San Francisco on Saturday.
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