Strawther scores 17 as No. 1 Gonzaga beats Dixie State 97-63

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Brian Michaelson

Gonzaga assistant coach Brian Michaelson directs his team during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game against Dixie State, Tuesday, Nov. 9, 2021, in Spokane, Wash. (AP Photo/Young Kwak)

SPOKANE, Wash. (AP) — Julian Strawther had 17 points and 10 rebounds as top-ranked Gonzaga beat Dixie State 97-63 in their season opener Tuesday night without coach Mark Few on the sideline.

Few received a three-game suspension after he was cited for DUI in September. He previously sat out the team’s two exhibition games, but will be back when Gonzaga hosts No. 5 Texas on Saturday. Assistant coach Brian Michaelson served as interim head coach.

Rasir Bolton added 15 points for Gonzaga (1-0), which was undefeated last season before losing to Baylor in the national title game. The Zags are in the midst of a school-record 52-game home winning streak. Their last home loss was Jan. 18, 2018, to Saint Mary’s.

Touted freshman Chet Holmgren, the nation’s top-rated recruit, had 14 points, 13 rebounds, six assists and seven blocks in his debut as the Zags played before a home crowd for the first time since the 2019-20 season. Player of the Year candidate Drew Timme scored 11.

Cameron Gooden had 15 points and Dancell Leter scored 13 to lead Dixie State (0-1), a member of the Western Athletic Conference from St. George, Utah.

Gonzaga jumped to a 14-3 lead despite making just six of its first 18 shots.

Dixie State, however, made only one of its first 13 and trained 23-4 with 8:50 left in the first half.

Gonzaga led 40-25 at halftime behind 11 points, nine rebounds and five blocks from the 7-foot Holmgren.

Brock Gilbert’s 3-pointer pulled Dixie State to 47-35 early in the second. But the Zags replied with a 13-4 run, including nine points by Strawther, to take a 60-39 lead with 12 minutes left. The Zags pulled away after that.

BIG PICTURE

Dixie State: Still making the transition to Division I, the Trailblazers were picked to finish 12th in the WAC. They have four returning starters from a team that finished 8-13 last season.

Gonzaga: The Zags started a little rough but poured it on in the second half. Timme was a unanimous preseason AP All-America selection, and along with teammates Holmgren and Andrew Nembhard is among 50 players named to the watch list for the Naismith Trophy, given to the nation’s top player. … Gonzaga has averaged 33 wins a season since 2015, best in the nation. The Bulldogs have won 17 straight regular-season openers dating to 2003.

UP NEXT

Dixie State hosts neighbor Southern Utah on Friday.

Gonzaga amps up the competition Saturday, when No. 5 Texas comes to Spokane for an early-season showdown.

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More AP college basketball: https://apnews.com/hub/college-basketball and https://twitter.com/AP_Top25

Copyright 2021 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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