Only two West Coast Conference players have scored at a higher rate this season than Gonzaga’s Drew Timme, who is averaging 17.7 points per game after an efficient 30-point outing against BYU on Thursday.
The Bulldogs’ next game will pit Timme against one of the only players in the conference to score at a better pace than Gonzaga’s junior forward.
Santa Clara’s Jalen Williams will enter Saturday morning at the Leavey Center against No. 2 Gonzaga as the WCC’s leading scorer, averaging 19.0 points per game. The number ranks Williams No. 44 in the country and also No. 29 among intermediate players.
Williams has scored well all season, posting double numbers in all 16 games, and the junior guard is coming off back-to-back 20-point games, recording 22 points in an 84-70 win over Pacific after scoring 20 in a 79-57 win at San Jose State. Before the SJSU game, Williams scored just 10 points in a win over Montana, but that followed a 25-point outing against Florida A&M.
Of the WCC’s top 20 scorers, Timme and Williams are the only players to reach the 30-point plateau this season.
Timme did it twice, scoring a career-high 37 against Texas before hitting 30 against BYU, and Williams scored the goal in a 70-58 win over Hawaii, scoring 30 of 13 points. shots on 18 while hitting a single 3-pointer. .
Williams isn’t the high-volume 3-point shooter that BYU’s Alex Barcello is, taking just 3.2 per game, but he’s hitting his perimeter shots at a career-high 39 percent this season. The Gilbert, Arizona native is explosive at dribbling and efficient at reaching the free throw line, attempting at least eight free throws in four games.
In theory, Gonzaga could throw a variety of players at Williams, but Santa Clara’s Josip Vrankic (6-foot-9) and Keshawn Justice (6-7) also demand plenty of frontcourt attention, both averaging 15.0 points per game. Assuming a combination of Timme, Chet Holmgren and Anton Watson will be assigned to Vrankic and Justice, second-year winger Julian Strawther should match Williams, who is also averaging 3.9 rebounds and 3.6 assists for the Broncos.