Efton Reid III played just 3 minutes for 6th place Gonzaga in the opening round of the Phil Knight Legacy tournament.
A 7-foot transfer from LSU figures to see more game time against No. 24 Purdue in the semifinals on Friday night in Portland, Oregon.
That’s because the Boilermakers (4-0) feature 7-of-4 center Zack Eddie, who recorded 24 points and 12 rebounds in an 80-68 win over West Virginia.
Surprisingly, Purdue coach Matt Painter was not impressed.
“I thought he was playing average,” Painter said of Edey, who committed six turnovers. “He is a really good player. He is one of the best players in the country. If he gets 24 and 12 and has an ‘average’ game, he’s pretty cool. He is a weapon.”
Mason Gillis added 14 points for the Boilermakers, who posted a season-high 51.1 percent field goal percentage, while Brandon Newman came off the bench to score eight points.
The Zags (4-1) defeated Portland State 102-78 in the opening round, and Malachi Smith scored a season-high 23 points to lead a balanced offense.
Smith, who was the Southern Conference Player of the Year at Chattanooga before moving to Gonzaga in the offseason, went 5-for-5 from 3-point range. He scored in double digits for the first time since scoring 15 goals in the season opener against North Florida.
“I’m trying to be ready whenever my number is called and requested,” said Smith.
Preseason All-American Drew Timme scored 18 points on 7-of-8 shooting from the field and grabbed six rebounds for the Zags. Rasir Bolton added 14 points and eight assists, Hunter Sallis had 12 points and Julian Strawther and Anton Watson each had 10 points.
“That’s what makes this team special. We have multiple players who can do different things,” said Smith.
With Chet Holmgren leaving Gonzaga after one season to turn pro – he was selected second overall in the 2022 NBA draft by the Oklahoma City Thunder – the Zags were left without a shot blocker in the post.
Meet Reid, the only LSU player to start all 34 games last season. A five-star recruit at IMG Academy in Florida, he averaged 6.3 points and 4.3 rebounds in 19.6 minutes per game as a freshman with the Tigers.
Reid recorded eight points and as many rebounds in 12 minutes in the season opener against North Florida. However, he has only played 23 minutes in the last four games.
While 6-10 Timme and 6-8 Anton Watson defended Kentucky’s 6-9 Oscar Tshiebwe, the NCAA’s Player of the Year, last Sunday in an 88-72 Gonzaga victory, Edey literally presents a much bigger problem.
Gonzaga coach Mark Pugh, whose team played the finals on Thanksgiving night, said he noted the early results of a 16-team invitational tournament in which Portland nearly lost No. 1 North Carolina and No. 8 Duke to Oregon State. .
“There are some good teams that can drop out if they’re not ready or not giving their best,” said Few. “I think it really helped solidify our approach.”
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