SPOKANE, Wash. (AP) Braden Huff scored 19 points off the bench in his collegiate debut, helping No. 11 Gonzaga pull away from Yale for an 86-71 win on Friday night.

The redshirt freshman forward sparked a big first-half run by the Zags, who fell behind by 10 points early. Huff made 7 of 10 shots and grabbed nine rebounds.

“(Braden's) done a nice job,” Gonzaga head coach Mark Few said. “I think the redshirt year helped him and he’s got a lot to his game. He can score in the post, he can stretch you out a little bit and tonight he rebounded.”

Ryan Nembhard added 16 points and seven assists for Gonzaga (1-0) in his debut after transferring from Creighton and following in the footsteps of his brother, Andrew, who played for the Zags. Nolan Hickman added 15 points and the frontcourt combo of Anton Watson and Graham Ike scored 11 apiece.

John Poulakidas led Yale (1-1) with 18 points. August Mahoney added 12 points despite shooting 2 of 11 from the field. Bez Mbeng added 10 points.

“He was really good,” Yale head coach James Jones said of Poulakidas. “(Gonzaga) did a pretty good job at trying to get him off the ball, but he had a nice game for us. We needed a couple of other guys to step up and do something.”

Huff checked into the game with the Zags trailing 16-6 and promptly sparked a 10-0 run with a 3-pointer from the top of the key. He scored 10 points in seven minutes in the first half and helped the Zags build a 47-42 lead at the break.

Gonzaga opened the second half on a 23-9 run and built a 16-point lead. Huff had seven points during that stretch.

Gonzaga has won every season opener since 2003 and has won every home opener dating to 1988.

“It took everything we had,” Few said of defeating Yale. “That’s a really good basketball team that we beat there.”


Yale: After splitting its first two games, the projected Ivy League champion will face another WCC opponent in Loyola Marymount early next week.

Gonzaga: The Zags won by 15 points just days after losing expected starter Steele Venters for the season with a torn ACL in his right knee. Freshman Dusty Stromer started in place of Venters and scored eight points in his college debut.


Yale: At Loyola Marymount on Sunday.

Gonzaga: Hosts NAIA school Eastern Oregon on Tuesday.


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