Nolan Hickman scored 19 points and two of his teammates recorded a double-double Tuesday as No. 11 Gonzaga defeated Syracuse 76-57 in a consolation semifinal at the Maui Invitational in Honolulu.
After losing to No. 2 Purdue in Monday’s first-round matchup, the Bulldogs (3-1) got back on track in this one thanks to a 19-2 run in the waning minutes. Graham Ike (16 points, 14 rebounds, four steals), Anton Watson (12 points, 13 rebounds) and Ryan Nembhard (11 points, seven assists) also were key contributors for Gonzaga.
Judah Mintz scored 22 points and JJ Starling had 15 to pace the Orange (3-2), who shot only 35.9 percent (including 3 of 24 from long distance) and got outrebounded 48-28. Chris Bell and Justin Taylor combined for six points on 2-of-23 shooting.
Syracuse trailed by 14 at halftime and still faced a 10-point deficit with less than 11 minutes remaining. But after Mintz assisted on a dunk by Maliq Brown and then scored a basket of his own, the Orange faced a manageable 53-47 hole with 8 1/2 minutes left.
That was short-lived, though, as Hickman and Ben Gregg made consecutive 3-pointers to double the advantage. Shortly thereafter, Nembhard scored nine straight points and the rout was on.
Gonzaga stormed out to a 7-0 lead just 90 seconds into the game as Ike and Watson made layups around a 3-pointer by Dusty Stromer. The Bulldogs took their first double-digit lead on Watson’s dunk 4 1/2 minutes into the game, and they stretched their lead to 15 on Braden Huff’s 3-pointer with 9 1/2 minutes to go in the half.
Syracuse responded with seven straight points — a 3-pointer by Bell and consecutive buckets by Mintz — to get within 27-19. However, the Orange then went four minutes without scoring from the field as the Bulldogs began to create some separation.
Mintz’s 3-pointer with 2:21 to play in the half drew Syracuse within 33-25. On the other end, Gonzaga answered by scoring the final six points of the session — four by Ike — to head into the locker room with a 39-25 cushion.
–Field Level Media