SPOKANE – With an upcoming holiday tournament, senior Elias Harris made sure No. 19 Gonzaga didn’t overlook an overmatched opponent.
Harris had 16 points and a career-high 18 rebounds to help the Bulldogs overwhelm South Dakota, 96-58, Sunday.
“I was just trying to get myself going, get the team going, so I was just crashing (the) boards,” said Harris.
Przemek Karnowski, a 7-foot-1 freshman from Poland, had a game-high 20 points off the bench for the Bulldogs (3-0), who head to the Old Spice Classic in Lake Buena Vista, Fla., to face Clemson on Thanksgiving.
Gary Bell Jr. also had 16 points with Sam Dower getting 12 points and nine rebounds and Kevin Pangos 10 points to go with six assists.
Gonzaga shot 55 percent, outscoring the Coyotes 62-16 in the paint and outrebounding them 58-24. It was Harris who led the charge.
“Great effort from him,” teammate Guy Landry Edi said. “He understands he needs to do that all year long for us to be more successful. Before the game we talked about it. I knew he was going to come out and have a great, great effort.”
Freshmen Casey Kasperbauer and Tyler Flack scored 17 and 10 points, respectively, for the Coyotes (1-3), who were playing their fourth game in five nights. Senior Juevol Myles had 12 points.
“They’re really good, with great size,” South Dakota coach Dave Boots said. “Physically we just couldn’t push and shove with them. Even when we tried to double down on them it was tough to get to them, and they still stepped through us.”
South Dakota, with just one senior starter and one returning starter from last season’s 10-18 team, shot 34 percent and committed 20 turnovers.
Harris reached 10 rebounds by the time the Coyotes got 10 points afterabout 8 minutes.