SPOKANE – Nick Robinson permitted himself to dream big going into his first game as a head basketball coach, but he suspected he was going to lose big.
Suffice to say, Robinson’s dreams were not realized Friday night at the McCarthey Athletic Center.
Robinson dared to make his debut at 21st-ranked Gonzaga, and the Bulldogs overwhelmed Southern Utah from start to finish in a 103-65 home-opening romp.
“They were exactly what we expected,” said Robinson, who said he scheduled Gonzaga “to see what it takes” to become an NCAA tournament team.
The Bulldogs, loaded with size, experience and athleticism, looked like a team headed to its 15th consecutive NCAA tournament.
Six Bulldogs scored in double figures. Gonzaga shot 54.8 percent from the field, including 46.2 percent on 3-pointers, and had a 28-9 advantage in turnovers.
“I can’t remember the last time we turned somebody over 28 times,” Gonzaga coach Mark Few said. “It was good ball pressure, and the other thing we did, we were opportunistic off the ball.”
Prezemek Karnowski, a 7-foot-1 freshman from Poland, came off the bench to lead Gonzaga with 22 points. Karnowski moves well for a big man and has a soft touch around the basket.
“He’s got good feet,” Few said. “He’s getting there. It’s going to be a week-by-week process.”
“When I was younger, I played ice hockey, soccer and swam,” Karnowski said. “I think that gives me a little advantage playing basketball.”
Quick, 10-0 spurts early in each half sparked Gonzaga. Southern Utah wasted a 29-point performance by sweet-shooting forward Jackson Stevenett before a sellout crowd of 6,000.
Contributors to GU’s balanced scoring attack included Guy Landry Edi (16), Sam Dower (15), Elias Harris (12), David Stockton (12), Kevin Pangos (10) and former Kentridge High School star Gary Bell Jr. (eight).
West Virginia visits Gonzaga on Monday (9 p.m., ESPN).