Gonzaga vs. Virginia score, takeaways: Top-ranked Zags rout Cavaliers, notch another easy nonconference win

With No. 1 Gonzaga about to embark on a journey through the West Coast Conference that will feature very few, if any, games against ranked opponents, the Bulldogs made an emphatic statement on Saturday about why they deserve to remain the nation's top-ranked team in the weeks ahead. Pitted against a stingy Virginia defense, the Zags shot a staggering 60% from the field and blew out the No. 16 Cavaliers 98-75 in a neutral-site game at Dickie's Arena in Fort Worth, Texas.

Corey Kispert led the way for Gonzaga (7-0) with a career-high 32 points in a game that was never truly in doubt. The Bulldogs jumped out to a 7-0 lead in the first 76 seconds and never trailed as their high-powered offense ran with impressive efficiency against a Virginia defense perennially regarded as one of the best in the country. Center Drew Timme contributed 29 points, also a career high, to help Kispert, while Kihei Clark paced Virginia with 19 points.

Virginia likely never stood a chance, but the Cavaliers' efforts were stifled by foul trouble that limited 7-foot-1 post player Jay Huff to just 14 minutes. His frequent absence allowed Gonzaga to outscore Virginia 46-28 in the paint. It was the most points Virginia has allowed in a game since allowing 106 against Washington in 2010. The loss dropped Virginia to 4-2 ahead of Wednesday's scheduled start to conference play at Notre Dame. Here are three more takeaways from this battle in Fort Worth.

Kispert's career game

Kispert's senior season was already off to a prolific start, but he kicked it into another gear on Saturday. After averaging 13.9 points last season and testing the NBA Draft waters, the 6-foot-7 forward entered as Gonzaga's leading scorer at 20.8 points per game, thanks in part to a 45.9% 3-point shooting mark. Those numbers are only going to go up after he hit 9-of-13 from 3-point range against Virginia, tying a school record for most made 3-pointers in a game.

Kispert has scored at least 13 points in every game this season. Though his 3-point shooting will draw attention, his efficiency in attacking the basket is just as impressive. He entered shooting 77.8% this season on six 2-point attempts per game and made both his attempts from inside the arc on Saturday.

Team effort

Jalen Suggs entered as Gonzaga's third-leading scorer averaging 16.3 points per game. But the electric freshman guard didn't get his first bucket until the 12-minute mark of Saturday's second half. The fact that Gonzaga put forth such an impressive offensive effort without Suggs shouldering a heavy scoring load is an indication of just how lethal this team is.

For his part, Suggs made plenty of contributions in other areas. He finished with seven rebounds, six assists, four steals and eventually got around to scoring eight points. Suggs also finished with a team-best plus/minus of 36, highlighting how he impacted the game despite a subdued offensive effort.

Virginia's journey 

The most anyone scored against Virginia last season was 80 points, and that was an aberration as the Cavaliers held their opponent to 70 points or less in their 29 other games. But coach Tony Bennett told reporters after the game that he did not regret scheduling Gonzaga, despite the outcome.

"This was important but painful," Bennett said.

The Cavaliers had games against Michigan State and Villanova wiped out due to COVID-19 issues in the program, leaving this game against Gonzaga as the program's last chance to get a quality nonconference game in before league play starts on Wednesday.

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SAT 4:00 P
UVA +7.5, o137.5
UVA 7.5, O/U 137.5

Season Leaders

points
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C. Kispert 21.2 PTS, 2.2 AST, 4.8 REB
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C. Kispert 21.2 PTS, 2.2 AST, 4.8 REB
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S. Hauser 13.8 PTS, 1.9 AST, 7.5 REB
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S. Hauser 13.8 PTS, 1.9 AST, 7.5 REB
assists
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J. Suggs 14.4 PTS, 4.9 AST, 4.9 REB
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J. Suggs 14.4 PTS, 4.9 AST, 4.9 REB
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K. Clark 10.8 PTS, 3.6 AST, 1.5 REB
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K. Clark 10.8 PTS, 3.6 AST, 1.5 REB
rebounds
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J. Ayayi 12.2 PTS, 4.1 AST, 7.9 REB
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J. Ayayi 12.2 PTS, 4.1 AST, 7.9 REB
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S. Hauser 13.8 PTS, 1.9 AST, 7.5 REB
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S. Hauser 13.8 PTS, 1.9 AST, 7.5 REB
Live updates
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People just don't do this to Virginia...

December 26, 2020, 10:47 PM
@ZagMBB via Twitter
December 26, 2020, 10:47 PM

Suggs is getting in on the offense now. After waiting until the 12:00 minute mark for his first bucket, he's up to six points. 80-58 Zags with 8:39 to go.

December 26, 2020, 10:38 PM

68-47 Zags at the u12 timeout. Bulldogs are still shooting 58% from the floor. Just a staggering and impressive display offensive display against one of the best defensive programs in basketball.

December 26, 2020, 10:31 PM

Odd reality: Jalen Suggs leads Gonzaga with a +25 plus/minus but has yet to score a point. He's the team's third-leading scorer and hasn't even been needed today.

December 26, 2020, 10:22 PM

Huff just picked up his fourth while contesting a Drew Timme dunk attempt with 14:18 left. That won't make the UVA comeback effort any easier. 62-43 Zags.

December 26, 2020, 10:21 PM
@UVAMensHoops via Twitter
December 26, 2020, 10:18 PM

Corey Kispert is absolutely unconscious. He's 8 of 12 from deep and has 27.

December 26, 2020, 10:15 PM

Now Huff has three fouls as well. Zags immediately go inside for a bucket after he leaves the floor. Then a Kispert 3. Just like that, the lead is 57-35 for Gonzaga. Dang, they can score quick.

December 26, 2020, 10:14 PM

Woldetensae picks up his third foul early in the second half for UVA. 46-33 Zags with 18:49 to go.

December 26, 2020, 10:09 PM

A 7-0 run before the half keeps Virginia in it. But it's still 44-31 Zags. Combined 33 points for Kispert and Timme, which is more than UVA's whole team.

December 26, 2020, 9:55 PM

Kispert and Timme have combined for 31 of Gonzaga's 42 points thus far. Zags up 18 with 3:09 left in the half.

December 26, 2020, 9:45 PM

Huff hasn't gotten back in the game a bit with the two fouls. But he's not on the floor now, which means this is a pretty small lineup for Virginia.

December 26, 2020, 9:41 PM

That's a 12-0 run that UVA just snapped to make it 36-18 with just under 6 minutes to play in the half.

December 26, 2020, 9:40 PM

31-16 Zags at the under-8 timeout. Virginia hit back once after struggling early. Cavs need to hit back again to keep within striking distance entering the half. Kispert leading the way with 13 for Gonzaga.

December 26, 2020, 9:35 PM

Guarding Timme is a tall ask for UVA freshman Kadin Shedrick with Huff out. 29-16 Zags midway through the half.

December 26, 2020, 9:31 PM

Huff already had three blocks, so losing him (presumably for most of the rest of the half) is going to make containing this Gonzaga offense even more challenging.

December 26, 2020, 9:25 PM

Two fouls on Jay Huff now for UVA as Timme hits him with an and-1 finish. 23-12 Zags at the u12 timeout.

December 26, 2020, 9:24 PM

Wow, Jay Huff just went to work on the inside with Timme out of the game for Gonzaga. UVA showing some life now. 7-0 run in just over a minute.

December 26, 2020, 9:21 PM

10 of Gonzaga's 18 points have come off UVA turnovers. It's supposed to be Virginia's defense that controls things. Not the other way around.

December 26, 2020, 9:18 PM

Finally reached the first timeout and Gonzaga leads 18-5. Sheesh. This UVA team isn't built to overcome these types of deficits. Corey Kispert is leading the way with 10.

December 26, 2020, 9:17 PM
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