It was late in the second half of Bishop Gorman’s season opening 64-36 victory at Faith Lutheran on Tuesday night that Crusader students started a chant directed toward 6-foot-11 Gaels center Stephen Zimmerman.
“Over-rated, over-rated,” it went.
When you are rated by some scouting services as the No. 1 junior in the nation as the talented Zimmerman is, it’s something that comes with the territory.
Despite still being slowed by a high ankle sprain suffered about a month ago that has limited his practice time, Zimmerman still managed to produce a double-double in his 2013-14 debut, scoring 11 points, grabbing 11 rebounds and blocking two shots in the win over the Crusaders.
Senior point guard Noah Robotham, also coming off an ankle injury, scored a team-high 12 points and Chase Jeter added eight points and 11 rebounds as the Gaels (1-0) overcame a sluggish start to cruise past Crusaders (0-1).
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Faith Lutheran, playing a 2-3 zone that featured 6-foot-8 Mitch Fulfer (12 points) and 6-7 Clayton Holthaus (11 points) in the back row, did a nice job of collapsing around Zimmerman, who didn’t get his first field goal until the 2:51 mark of the third quarter when he drove and scored on a reverse layup to increase Gorman’s lead to 40-21.
“I hate zone,” said Zimmerman. “I was taking what they gave me. It was my first real game back. I was little bit off.”
“We just wanted to keep bodies on him and try and contest his shots,” Faith Lutheran coach Bret Walter said. “I thought our defense played pretty well. They scored a lot of their points on second-chance points and transitions.”
The Gaels finished a 41-20 rebounding edge and forced 21 turnovers. Nick Blair (10 points), Deon Whiteside (8 points) and Zack Collins (6) also had solid games for Bishop Gorman.