Losing Jalen Suggs in the first half shook up No. 1 Gonzaga.
Getting him back in the second half Wednesday provided a needed jolt of energy.
Joel Ayayi matched his career high with 21 points and Andrew Nembhard and Corey Kispert each scored 19 points, and Suggs' return shifted the transition game into gear to help the Bulldogs rally past No. 11 West Virginia 87-82.
“At first, we were kind of disappointed because we all love Jalen," Nembhard said. “Him coming back in the game was big for us. He played football so you know he’s tough and we’re pretty versatile so we could do some different things in the second to help him out. It worked out well for us."
The freshman star finished with four points, five assists and six rebound — much of that production coming after he went down with what initially appeared to be a serious left ankle injury.
By the second half, he was lobbying to get back on the court. And once he did, everything turned for Gonzaga, which struggled against the Mountaineers size and strength.
But once they were off and running, it was no match. Gonzaga (3-0) has won seven straight, dating to the end of last season, and already has two wins over top 15 opponents — Kansas and West Virginia (3-1).
Derek Culver finished with with 18 points and 15 rebounds and Oscar Tshiebwe had 14 points and nine rebounds before fouling out with 7:26 to play to lead the Mountaineers. Afterward, Culver blamed himself for this one.