Gonzaga's Hummer Heightens His Game

By Josh Barr
Washington Post Staff Writer
Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Playing against a top opponent and perhaps the Washington area's top post player, Gonzaga forward Ian Hummer acknowledged that last night's game represented a special opportunity. Hummer, a 6-foot-6 senior who has committed to play for Princeton, was a key player on last year's City Title championship team, but the chance to show his skills against third-ranked Bishop McNamara and its star center, Talib Zanna, was exciting.

"To go against him is a real treat," Hummer said, relishing the rare chance to play against a taller opponent.

And while Hummer certainly had plenty of help on both ends of the court from junior guards Tyler Thornton and Cedrick Lindsay, it was his play that helped the seventh-ranked Eagles to a surprisingly easy 67-41 victory over the visiting Mustangs in a Washington Catholic Athletic Conference game.

Hummer finished with 17 points and nine rebounds, leading Gonzaga (13-2, 5-1) to its sixth consecutive victory.

"He has a future in front of him and to have a big game against him, in the future I can say, 'I did well against that man who's dunking on all those people,' " Hummer said, noting that the 6-9 Zanna has accepted a scholarship to play for Pittsburgh.

Zanna had 11 points, 13 rebounds and 3 blocks for the Mustangs (11-3, 5-1), but he was in foul trouble throughout. While trying to stay on front of Zanna on defense and force him to go to his left, Hummer adjusted to be more aggressive on offense, continually going to the basket.

"When a good player knows the guy guarding him is in foul trouble, he is going to attack him," said McNamara Coach Marty Keithline, whose team plays at second-ranked DeMatha on Friday. "Ian attacked him tonight."

Hummer also benefited from strong play by Gonzaga's guards. Lindsay scored 14 of his 16 points as the Eagles surged to a 28-19 halftime lead. Then Thornton, who was scoreless in the first half, scored eight of his 10 points during a 15-2 run in the third quarter that burst the game open. The two also played a big role on defense as Gonzaga Coach Steve Turner instructed his players to pressure the ball on the perimeter and not allow easy passes into Zanna, who averages 15.9 points and 14 rebounds per game.

No. 7 Gonzaga 67 No. 3 McNamara 41

Slowed Down: McNamara guard Rashad Whack, a George Mason recruit, did not start after injuring his left ankle in a game on Saturday. He finished with eight points, including a pair of three-point bank shots and seemed to favor the ankle.

Tough on D: Gonzaga held its third consecutive opponent to less than 45 points.

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