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Gonzaga rewind: Zags stuff highlight reel during rout over BYU

UPDATED: Sun., Feb. 24, 2019, 8:57 p.m.

Josh Perkins offered a glimpse of what kind of night it was going to be when he and Zach Norvell Jr. staged their customary pregame shoot-off from a tunnel entrance at the McCarthey Athletic Center:

Perkins drained a rainbow, 25-foot trick shot over the top of the backboard from a nearly impossible angle.

The highlights kept on coming as the second-ranked Zags clobbered BYU 102-68 Saturday on Senior Night, making for a packed latest installment of Gonzaga rewind.

CRANDALL’S CREATIVE CROSSOVER

Senior Geno Crandall made the play of the game, which took some doing on a night with numerous candidates.

Brandon Clarke’s blocked shot started a fastbreak and Crandall slowed down near the 3-point line for a behind-the-back dribble that lost defender Nick Emery for a second. Crandall followed with a between-the-legs crossover at the elbow that sent Emery stumbling in the wrong direction toward the baseline.

Crandall glided in for a layup that put Gonzaga up 71-53 midway through the second half.

“I saw a gap open up so I attacked it,” Crandall said. “He jumped really hard on the first one. I had to go back the other way and thankfully he wasn’t able to keep up with the second one.

“A lot of us when we’re out there we don’t really think too much. It’s a lot of reaction to what you see. Kind of like an improv thing. Thankfully it went well for me, otherwise I might have been on the bench.”

Emery poked fun at himself Sunday by tweeting a video of the play with the comment: “If anyone is wondering, my ankles are okay. You win some, you lose some.”

It wasn’t the only time it didn’t go well defensively for Emery, who earlier tumbled to the court reacting to Norvell’s jab step. Norvell missed a wide-open 3-pointer before Emery scrambled to his feet.

KISPERT JOINS BLOCK PARTY

Corey Kispert ranks fourth on the team in blocks, a category Clarke owns with a single-season program record of 88 and counting.

Kispert, though, delivered a swat at the rim on Gavin Baxter as the bouncy 6-foot-9 freshman elevated for a dunk. BYU coach Dave Rose came onto the court seconds later to protest and was tagged with a technical foul.

“Absolutely, all ball,” Kispert said. “There was a dead ball (when) they called a technical and BC (Clarke) ran over and gave me a chest bump. I was like, ‘I was trying to be like you.’ ”

Kispert had another acrobatic play with a two-handed flush of a Josh Perkins’ lob pass in the first half.

CLARKE DOUBLES DOWN

Clarke’s streak of scoring in double figures in every game this season was in jeopardy at halftime when he was 0 of 5 from the field and had just two points. It looked bleak when he was still at two points midway through the second half.

Clarke heated up just as the Zags separated from the Cougars with a 23-3 run. He scored nine points in a five-minute span, capped by a dunk with 3:52 remaining to put Gonzaga on top 92-59. He finished with 11 points and 10 rebounds for his 10th double-double.

“I just missed some easy shots I make usually,” Clarke said. “In the first half, I think I was fading away too much on my jump hooks, but it’s something to learn from and get better for the next games.”

Clarke, who entered the week leading the country in field-goal percentage, was 4 of 4 in the second half and finished 4 of 9. It was just the second game he’s been below 50 percent (Washington, 4 of 11).

PERK SPINNING RECORDS

Perkins surpassed Matt Santangelo as the school’s all-time assists leader in Thursday’s win over Pepperdine. He’s climbing several other GU single-season and career lists.

His seven assists against BYU gives him 199 this season. He’s tied with Jeremy Pargo for fourth, just two behind John Stockton, eight behind Blake Stepp and 26 behind Santangelo.

Perkins scored 21 points to move past Gary Leachman and Derek Raivio into 16th with 1,468 career points. Przemek Karnowski is 15th with 1,495.

Perkins hit three 3-pointers, hiking his career total to 240, just three behind fifth-place Raivio. Perkins’ 163 career steals rates sixth, four behind David Stockton. John Stockton is first with 262.

There are no records kept on trick shots from a tunnel entrance, but Perkins is the unofficial leader with at least three this season.

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