SPOKANE — With an upcoming holiday tournament, senior Elias Harris made sure No. 19 Gonzaga didn’t overlook an overmatched opponent.
Harris contributed 16 points and a career-high 18 rebounds as the Zags overwhelmed South Dakota 96-58 Sunday.
“I was just trying to get myself going, get the team going, so I was just crashing the boards,” Harris said. “Just go out and have fun, come out with lots of energy, attack the boards and grab as many boards as I can. That was my mindset.”
Przemek Karnowski, a 7-foot-1 freshman from Poland, scored a game-high 20 points on 9-for-10 shooting for the Zags (3-0), who head to the Old Spice Classic in Lake Buena Vista, Fla., to face Clemson on Thursday.
Gary Bell Jr., a Kentridge High School graduate, scored 16 points. Sam Dower had 12 points and nine rebounds and Kevin Pangos scored 10 points to go with six assists for the Zags.
Gonzaga shot 55 percent, outscoring the Coyotes 62-16 in the paint and outrebounding them 58-24.
It was Harris who led the charge.
“Great effort from him,” teammate Guy Landry Edi said. “He understands he needs to do that all year long for us to be more successful. Before the game, we talked about it. I knew he was going to come out and have a great, great effort.”
Freshman Casey Kasperbauer scored 17 points for the Coyotes (1-3), who were playing their fourth game in five nights.
“They’re really good, with great size,” South Dakota coach Dave Boots said of the Zags. “Physically, we just couldn’t push and shove with them. Even when we tried to double down on them, it was tough to get to them and they still stepped through us.”
South Dakota, with one senior starter and one returning starter from last season’s 10-18 team, shot 34 percent and made 20 turnovers.
Harris reached 10 rebounds by the time the Coyotes got to 10 points, almost eight minutes into the game. He had 12 points and 13 rebounds by halftime as Gonzaga built a 46-30 lead.
“It started with Elias,” Gonzaga coach Mark Few said. “I thought he had a great approach tonight and he was trying to get every (rebound) that was out there. If we could have left him out there longer, he easily could have had a 20-plus rebound night. It was good to see.”