PORTLAND, Ore. — Moments after walking off the court following a victory over Ohio State, Gonzaga was already thinking about No. 7 Florida.
The 17th-ranked Bulldogs will face the Gators on Friday in the Phil Knight Invitational.
“In tournaments as great as this you don’t get a lot of time,” Gonzaga coach Mark Few said Thursday night after his team’s 86-59 win over the Buckeyes. “We’ve got to move on and get ready for a big one tomorrow.”
Johnathan Williams had 21 points and Gonzaga was boosted by an enthusiastic crowd that turned out for an event featuring four teams ranked in the top 10 in the country.
Josh Perkins added 20 points for the Bulldogs, who improved to 4-0 after playing in last season’s NCAA Tournament championship game.
C.J. Jackson and Jae’Sean Tate each scored 12 points for Ohio State, which trailed by as many as 26 in the second half as the Zags pulled away. The Buckeyes (4-1) will face Stanford on Friday.
The tournament involves 16 teams playing in two brackets on Thanksgiving, Friday and Sunday, with a break on Saturday. The field also includes top-ranked Duke, No. 4 Michigan State and defending NCAA Tournament champion North Carolina.
Dubbed the PK80, the event celebrates Nike co-founder Phil Knight’s 80th birthday.
Gonzaga and Ohio State were in the Motion Bracket, playing Thursday at Memorial Coliseum. Teams in the Victory Bracket played Thanksgiving Day at the adjacent Moda Center.
Gonzaga was coming off a 79-66 victory Saturday over Utah State. The Bulldogs have held 60 consecutive opponents under 50 percent shooting from the field.
Ohio State coach Chris Holtmann is in his first season with the Buckeyes after three seasons at Butler, which is also in the Motion Bracket field.
“I think more than anything I want to see how we respond to moments like this,” said Holtmann, who added he was surprised by the sheer number of Gonzaga fans.
Tate made all 10 of his shots from the floor and had a career-high 24 points to lead Ohio State to an 80-55 win against Northeastern on Sunday. He set a program record for the highest field-goal percentage with a minimum of 10 attempts.
The Buckeyes took an early 14-10 lead in this one on Jackson’s 3 pointer, but Gonzaga responded with an 11-2 run to go up 21-16, capped by Perkins’ 3.
Ohio State climbed back into it, pulling briefly in front 22-21 on Kam Williams’ 3-pointer. It didn’t last long, and the Zags pushed their lead to 33-27 on Williams’ dunk.
Perkins’ 3-pointer at the end of the first half put Gonzaga fans on their feet, and the Bulldogs went into halftime with a 44-31 lead.
Tate said he thought the Buckeyes got rattled by a few early calls and couldn’t recover.
“A couple of calls didn’t go our way and it took away from our focus,” he said.
Zach Norvell Jr.’s layup midway through the second half pushed Gonzaga’s lead to 65-43.
It was the second meeting between the teams. Ohio State defeated Gonzaga 73-67 in the second round of the 2012 NCAA Tournament.
Ohio State: All of Ohio State’s four victories were by double figures. … The Buckeyes last played in Portland in the opening rounds of the 2015 NCAA Tournament. They beat VCU 75-72 in overtime before losing to Arizona 73-58.
Gonzaga: The Zags easily had the bigger crowd support, with Spokane, Washington, about a 5½-hour drive from Portland. The fan base also turns out for Bulldogs road games at Portland, another member of the West Coast Conference. … Gonzaga had six players averaging in double figures going into the game.
Holtmann thought Gonzaga’s zone was particularly vexing. “Like any zone, you’re good at it if you’re big and long and active — and they’re all of that,” he said.
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