SPOKANE, Wash. — Gonzaga’s Matt Bouldin has scored more than 20 points for three straight games, and the confidence that coach Mark Few has shown in the sophomore is paying off.
Bouldin scored 21 points as Gonzaga held off Georgia 75-67 on Saturday in the battle of the Bulldogs.
Bouldin had scored 21 in a loss to Tennessee and a career high 26 in a win over Utah.
"He’s rounding into the complete player we were looking for," Few said.
Few said that Gonzaga (11-4) is finally settling into a stable starting lineup, with the return of Josh Heytvelt to health. The team has been juggling lineups all season.
"We’re settled in pretty good right now," Few said, with Heytvelt, Bouldin, Jeremy Pargo, David Pendergraft and Steven Gray starting, and Austin Daye and Micah Downs playing significant minutes.
Daye and Heytvelt added 11 points each for Gonzaga, while Gray had 10. The Zags made 9 of 19 3-pointers in the game and shot 46 percent.
Billy Humphrey scored 24 points and Sundiata Gaines 21 for Georgia (8-4), which shot only 35 percent.
"Their transition game had a much greater impact on the game than ours did," Georgia coach Dennis Felton said.
Georgia trailed by 10 at halftime, and couldn’t make up the difference in the second half despite several runs.
After Georgia closed to 55-44, a 3-pointer by Pendergraft and consecutive layups by Gray built a 62-45 Gonzaga lead with just over 8 minutes left.
Georgia made another run, making four 3-pointers to cut Gonzaga’s lead to 68-59 with 3:51 left. Gaines scored four straight to cut Gonzaga’s lead to 72-65 with 1:58 left.
But Bouldin made a pair of free throws and Georgia kept missing long shots.
Georgia’s Corey Butler was ejected from the game in the final 2.5 seconds for a rough foul on Gonzaga’s Jeremy Pargo as Pargo was driving for a breakaway basket. Pargo stayed in the game, and finished with 8 points, 8 rebounds and 5 assists.
"I think I’m fine," Pargo said after the game, although team officials were insisting he have his back X-rayed.
The first seven baskets of the game were 3-pointers, four by Georgia’s Humphrey, as the Bulldogs took a 12-9 lead.
With the score tied at 17, Daye scored 11 of Gonzaga’s next 16 points in a six-minute span as the Zags built a 33-22 lead.
Humphrey went on another binge, scoring six consecutive points, to bring Georgia within 33-28 with 2:27 left.
The Zags led 38-28 at halftime, despite shooting only 38 percent. Georgia shot only 34 percent in the half.
This is the fourth match between the two since 2002, with each winning two.
Gonzaga is 12-4 in the Spokane Arena, a 12,500-seat facility about a mile from their campus.