Perkins leads Zags to season opening win

Josh Perkins drops 20 points in the season opener as Gonzaga beats Texas Southern 97-69.

SPOKANE, Wash. (AP) - Josh Perkins scored 20 points, hitting six 3-pointers, as No. 18 Gonzaga beat Texas Southern 97-69 on Friday night in the season opener for both teams.
    
Johnathan Williams added 16 points for Gonzaga (1-0), which lost four key players from a team that last season lost to North Carolina in the NCAA championship game.
    
Killian Tillie had 12 rebounds as Gonzaga dominated the boards.
    
Demontrae Jefferson scored 20 points for Texas Southern (0-1), which is playing its first 13 games on the road against some of the nation's top teams. Their first home game is Jan. 1, 2018.
    
Donte' Clark and Trayyvon Reed scored 13 points each for the Tigers, who were held to 36 percent shooting.
    
Texas Southern jumped to a quick 10-6 lead. But Gonzaga scored 13 consecutive points for a 19-10 lead midway through the first half. They pushed the lead to 14 points, where it remained for much of the half.
    
A 12-2 run at the end of the half, including two 3-pointers by Perkins, put Gonzaga ahead 52-31 at halftime. Perkins scored 15 in the first.
    
The Zags made nine 3-pointers in the first half and shot 58 percent. Texas Southern shot just 33 percent in the first half, and made just 1 of 13 from 3-point range.
    
The teams traded baskets in the second half, with the Tigers unable to overcome their deficit.
    
Gonzaga has never lost a home opener in the McCarthey Athletic Center since it opened in 2004. Coach Mark Few has won all 19 of his home openers with the Zags, who opened 29-0 last season.
    
BIG PICTURE
    
Texas Southern: The Tigers open the season with 13 straight road games against the likes of Ohio State, Syracuse, Kansas, Clemson, Oregon and BYU, part of a strategy of making the team tough for its SWAC season. They have won five straight SWAC titles under coach Mike Davis, the former Indiana coach. They have gone to the NCAA Tournament three times in five years.
    
Gonzaga: The Bulldogs open with three home games against lower-profile opponents, then travel to the PK80 Invitational in Portland, Oregon, against some of the nation's top programs.
    
UP NEXT
    
Texas Southern plays at Washington State of the Pac-12 on Sunday.
    
Gonzaga hosts Howard on Tuesday.

© 2017 Associated Press


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