Rui Hachimura scored 21 points, Killian Tillie had a season-high 17 and top-seeded Gonzaga dominated from the start in an 87-49 beatdown of Fairleigh Dickinson in a first-round West Region game Thursday in Salt Lake City.
Gonzaga set a school record for margin of victory in an NCAA Tournament game.
Brandon Clarke had 14 points, nine rebounds and three blocks for the Bulldogs. He combined with fellow frontcourt players Hachimura and Tillie to make 21 of 32 shots against the 16th-seeded Knights.
Gonzaga, stewing for nine days after a loss in the West Coast Conference tournament championship game, was relentless from the opening tip, preventing the Knights from making a basket through the first six-and-a-half minutes.
The Bulldogs went up by 10 points with 15:49 to go in the first half, by 20 with 9:35 left and by 30 with 1:45 remaining.
Gonzaga (31-3) will play in Saturday’s second round against No. 9 Baylor, a 78-69 winner over No. 8 Syracuse later Thursday.
Fairleigh Dickinson, which defeated Prairie View 82-76 in a First Four game Tuesday, shot just 30 percent (15 of 50).
Mike Holloway Jr. and Elyjah Williams each scored 10 points to lead the Knights (21-14). Senior guard Darnell Edge, who scored 33 against Prairie View and was Northeast Conference tournament Most Valuable Player, mustered only seven against Gonzaga on 2-of-11 shooting.
The Bulldogs had a 47-30 rebounding advantage.
Gonzaga poured in the final 19 points of the first half to take a 53-17 lead into the locker room.
That marked the ninth time this season that Gonzaga reached 50 in a half, and the 53 points were six more than it scored in a 60-47 loss to Saint Mary’s in the WCC tournament title game.
Hachimura scored 14 points in the first half and had as many baskets (five) as FDU. Gonzaga had more fast-break points (18) than Fairleigh Dickinson had first-half points.
The Knights played better in the second half, needing just over seven minutes to match their first-half scoring total, but Gonzaga never faltered in winning a first-round game for the 11th consecutive year.
—Field Level Media