DENVER — Slow-starting Gonzaga finally started playing like a title contender, then wore out Grand Canyon 82-70 behind 28 points and 10 rebounds from Julian Strawther in the NCAA Tournament on Friday.
Zags senior Drew Timme brought his sweatband and his moustache back to March Madness and finished with 21 points, six rebounds and three blocks for the third-seeded Bulldogs (29-5), who haven't lost a first-round game in the tournament since 2008.
Next up for Gonzaga is a game Sunday against the winner of a later West Region contest between TCU and Arizona State.
Like almost every Zag outside of Strawther, Timme was bottled up and frustrated in the first half, then came out of halftime and looked like a different player. After trailing by as many as seven, Timme's three-point play gave Gonzaga a 48-40 lead early in the second half.
Ray Harrison answered with a driving layup on the next possession. After that, Gonzaga went on a 16-0 run during which the 14th-seeded Lopes (24-12), champions of the Western Athletic Conference, missed 11 straight shots and fell behind by as many as 22.
Gonzaga's next game is scheduled for this Sunday at 6:40 p.m. PT and will be broadcasted on TBS.
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