SPOKANE, Wash. (AP) — Rasir Bolton scored 17 points and Chet Holmgren added 15 as No. 3 Gonzaga beat Tarleton State 64-55 on Monday night, rebounding from a narrow loss to Duke last week that knocked the Zags out of the top spot in The Associated Press’ Top 25.
Duke replaced Gonzaga as No. 1 on Monday, ending a string of 20 consecutive weeks the Bulldogs held the top ranking.
Drew Timme scored 10 points for Gonzaga (7-1), which extended its program record by winning its 56th consecutive home game.
Tahj Small scored 25 points for Tarleton State (1-6), which is in its second season of transitioning to Division I.
The Texans, who start four guards and a guard/forward, used an aggressive swarming defense to disrupt Gonzaga for most of the game.
The Zags, who average 90 points and lead the nation in field goal shooting, led 26-25 at halftime. They shot just 35% in the first half and committed nine turnovers while going seven minutes without a field goal.
Small’s 3-pointer early in the second gave Tarleton State a 30-28 lead. But a basket by Timme and a 3-pointer by Holmgren put Gonzaga up 33-30.
The teams traded baskets, and Bolton’s 3-pointer lifted Gonzaga to a 49-45 lead with 8:30 left.
Two free throws by Timme and a pair of baskets by Holmgren put Gonzaga up 55-47 with four minutes left.
Bolton sank a pair of baskets for a 59-49 lead with two minutes left.
Tarleton State: Who built the scrappy Texans’ schedule? They have already lost to No. 8 Kansas and No. 24 Michigan this season, along with Wichita State … Tarleton has not shot above 40% this season against a D-I opponent.
Gonzaga: The Bulldogs lead the nation with 99 consecutive appearances in the Top 25, but barely escaped the Texans after a ragged night of shooting and 16 turnovers … The Zags lead the nation in shooting at 55.2%.
Tarleton State: Hosts Charleston Southern on Sunday.
Gonzaga: Plays No. 16 Alabama in the Battle in Seattle on Saturday.
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