NCAA Basketball: Santa Clara at Gonzaga

Gonzaga Bulldogs forward Corey Kispert (24) takes the ball down court against Brigham Young Cougars guard Brandon Averette (4) in the second half of a WCC men’s basketball game at McCarthey Athletic Center. James Snook/USA TODAY Sports

Corey Kispert's game-high 23 points led four players in double figures as No. 1 Gonzaga pulled away in the second half for a 95-70 victory over Pepperdine in a West Coast Conference game on Thursday in Spokane, Wash.

Drew Timme scored 20 and dished out four assists for the Bulldogs (13-0, 4-0 WCC) while Joel Ayayi added 19 points and Jalen Suggs chipped in 18. Gonzaga canned 53.1 percent of its shots from the field.

Kessler Edwards scored 14 points for the Waves (4-6, 0-1), who were playing their conference opener. Kene Chukwuka added 11, but Colbey Ross, who entered the game averaging 19 points per game, made just 2 of 10 shots and finished with just nine points.

The Zags responded to being in a four-point game at the half by rattling off the first seven points of the second half. From there, the margin steadily grew until it reached as high as 26 points with just over two minutes remaining.

Gonzaga finished with a 47-28 advantage on the boards and a 50-21 cushion in points in the paint, more than enough to overcome 18 turnovers. It was the Zags' 40th straight victory over Pepperdine, dating to 2002.

Playing its first game after a 23-day layoff due to COVID-19 concerns, Pepperdine started slowly, falling behind 10-2 after Kispert's 3-pointer at the 15:49 mark.

From that point, the Waves gradually reeled Gonzaga in. Denying the Zags their usual assortment of transition points and attacking the basket with some consistency, Pepperdine took a 26-25 edge with 6:26 left on Sedrick Altman's jumper in the lane.

Gonzaga rattled off a 16-4 burst for a 41-30 lead on Ayayi's free throw with 2:09 remaining, but Pepperdine finished the half on a high. Darryl Polk Jr. dribbled the length of the floor and drained a running 3-pointer as the horn sounded, pulling the Waves within 43-39 at halftime.