AP

Slammed: Clarke scores 36 in Gonzaga’s 83-71 win over Baylor

Mar 23, 2019, 9:41 PM
Gonzaga forward Brandon Clarke, center, goes to the basket as Baylor's Mario Kegler (4) and Mark Vi...
Gonzaga forward Brandon Clarke, center, goes to the basket as Baylor's Mario Kegler (4) and Mark Vital (11) defend during the second half of a second-round game in the NCAA men's college basketball tournament Saturday, March 23, 2019, in Salt Lake City. (AP Photo/Rick Bowmer)
(AP Photo/Rick Bowmer)

SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — Next stop on the Brandon Clarke Dunk ’n Swat Festival: The Sweet 16.

The Gonzaga forward had five monster dunks, five blocks, matched a career-high with 36 points and enjoyed the overall kind of night that earns potential NBAers millions, while leading the top-seeded Bulldogs to an 83-71 rejection of Baylor on Saturday.

“Is ‘Wow’ the word you say?” teammate Josh Perkins said. “Dunking the ball, blocking shots. He just plays the right way.”

Because of it, Gonzaga (32-3) is into the second weekend of the NCAA Tournament for the fifth straight time, the longest current streak in the country.

This second-round matchup in the West Region wasn’t exactly a blowout, but wasn’t quite a nail-biter, either. That doesn’t mean it lacked entertainment.

Most of it centered on Clarke, the junior transfer from San Jose State, who started the fireworks with a windmill jam on a breakaway that gave Gonzaga an early 16-7 lead.

A few possessions later, Clarke took a bounce pass on the break from Perkins for a two-handed flush that had the Gonzaga kids in the Kennel going ga-ga .

Clark’s final dunk of the first half came at the end of a 5-second clinic on how to deal with Baylor’s floor-clogging 1-3-1 zone. Starting at the perimeter, all five Bulldogs touched the ball in the span of those 5 seconds; it ended with Killian Tillie’s hook-flip to Clarke for a jam. It was as gorgeous a display of basketball as you’ll see all year, and it put the Bulldogs ahead 35-16.

“That’s players having great feel for the game and just playing,” coach Mark Few said.

Ninth-seeded Baylor (20-14) scored the first 10 points of the second half to draw within six, and keep the game in range.

But Gonzaga held on, and when Clarke took a bounce pass from Perkins, who finished with six assists, it led to an easy bucket that put the Bulldogs up 13 with less than 4 minutes left.

Clarke also had eight rebounds and two steals. He lifted his season blocks total to 110 — now good for best in the nation. Baylor coach Scott Drew was even more impressed with another number that showed up on the stat sheet.

“He drew nine fouls,” Drew said. “There’s a reason he’s on the draft board.”

It was the defensive prowess that put him on many of those boards, though there’s been a pretty large spread in opinion about exactly where he might land if he leaves after this season.

What he did on the offensive end in this game certainly won’t hurt.

He went 15 for 18 from the floor, and most of the shots were of the high-percentage variety. Clarke is the team’s two-time reigning dunk champion.

“If he’d made his free throws, he’d have had a 40-burger,” Perkins said.

Or had a couple more dunks.

One missed chance came midway through the first half, when Geno Crandall saw Clarke get a sliver of daylight as he broke toward the rim. Crandall lobbed up an alley-oop pass. Only problem: It went in for a 3.

KISPERT’S EVENING

Few said it was Corey Kispert, not Clarke, who was Gonzaga’s player of the game. Kispert made his first four shots and went 6 for 8 on the way to a 16-point night. He also got called for a technical for taunting with 8:06 left. The free throws and an ensuing three-point play helped the Bears draw within eight, but they never got closer.

FOUL TROUBLE

Baylor’s Mark Vital played much bigger than the 6-5 he’s listed at. He carved out space inside and finished with 17 points and eight rebounds, but was hampered by foul trouble. He picked up his fourth with 16 minutes remaining and fouled out in the final seconds.

NEXT UP

The Zags face fourth-seeded Florida State next Thursday in Anaheim, California. It’s a rematch of their Sweet 16 game from last year, which the Seminoles won 75-60. Tillie missed that game with a hip injury

“They’re a really good team,” Kispert said. “They’re going to demand our best. But it’s exactly what we wanted. We wouldn’t want it any other way.”

We want to hear from you.

Have a story idea or tip? Send it to the KSL NewsRadio team here.

Today’s Top Stories

AP

quit their jobs...
PAUL WISEMAN AP Economics Writer

US added a strong 517,000 jobs in January despite Fed hikes

The Fed is aiming to achieve a "soft landing" — a pullback in the economy that is enough to tame high inflation without triggering recession.
1 day ago
Thousands of fraudulent nursing diplomas  were dispersed in Florida. (Canva)...
Associated Press via Miami Herald

Fake nursing diploma scheme in Florida; 25 arrested

The defendants each face up to 20 years in prison.
2 days ago
Microsoft is cutting 10,000 workers, almost 5% of its workforce, in response to "macroeconomic cond...
MATT O'BRIEN, Associated Press

Job cuts in tech sector spread, Microsoft lays off 10,000

Microsoft said in a regulatory filing Wednesday that had just notified employees of the layoffs, some of which begin immediately.
17 days ago
exxon mobil sign pictured...
SETH BORENSTEIN and CATHY BUSSEWITZ Associated Press

Study: Exxon Mobil accurately predicted warming since 1970s

Exxon said its understanding of climate change evolved over the years and that critics are misunderstanding its earlier research.
23 days ago
FILE - Protesters, supporters of Brazil's former President Jair Bolsonaro, stand on the roof of the...
The Associated Press

Brazil and Jan. 6 in US: Parallel attacks, but not identical

RIO DE JANIERO, Brazil — Enraged protesters broke into government buildings that are the very symbol of their country’s democracy. Driven by conspiracy theories about their candidate’s loss in the last election, they smashed windows, sifted through the desks of lawmakers and trashed the highest offices in the land in a rampage that lasted hours […]
25 days ago
President Joe Biden pictured...
ZEKE MILLER AP White House Correspondent

DOJ reviewing potentially classified docs at Biden center

Special counsel to the president Richard Sauber said “a small number of documents with classified markings” were discovered at the offices of the Penn Biden Center.
26 days ago

Sponsored Articles

Banner with Cervical Cancer Awareness Realistic Ribbon...
Intermountain Health

Five Common Causes of Cervical Cancer – and What You Can Do to Lower Your Risk

January is National Cervical Cancer Awareness month and cancer experts at Intermountain Health are working to educate women about cervical cancer, the tests that can warn women about potential cancer, and the importance of vaccination.
Kid holding a cisco fish at winterfest...
Bear Lake Convention and Visitors Bureau

Get Ready for Fun at the 2023 Bear Lake Monster Winterfest

The Bear Lake Monster Winterfest is an annual weekend event jam-packed full of fun activities the whole family can enjoy. This year the event will be held from January 27-29 at the Utah Bear Lake State Park Marina and Sunrise Resort and Event Center in Garden City, Utah. 
happy friends with sparklers at christmas dinner...
Macey's

15 Easy Christmas Dinner Ideas

We’ve scoured the web for you and narrowed down a few of our favorite Christmas dinner ideas to make your planning easy. Choose from the dishes we’ve highlighted to plan your meal or start brainstorming your own meal plan a couple of weeks before to make sure you have time to shop and prepare.
Spicy Homemade Loaded Taters Tots...
Macey's

5 Game Day Snacks for the Whole Family (with recipes!)

Try these game day snacks to make watching football at home with your family feel like a special occasion. 
Happy joyful smiling casual satisfied woman learning and communicates in sign language online using...
Sorenson

The Best Tools for Deaf and Hard-of-Hearing Workplace Success

Here are some of the best resources to make your workplace work better for Deaf and hard-of-hearing employees.
Team supporters celebrating at a tailgate party...
Macey's

8 Delicious Tailgate Foods That Require Zero Prep Work

In a hurry? These 8 tailgate foods take zero prep work, so you can fuel up and get back to what matters most: getting hyped for your favorite
Slammed: Clarke scores 36 in Gonzaga’s 83-71 win over Baylor