Williams-Goss leads No. 1 Gonzaga over Pacific 82-61
SPOKANE, Wash. (AP) Gonzaga coach Mark Few took a rare glance down the road as the top-ranked Bulldogs have only two games left in their quest for an undefeated regular season.
”Now we can see the light at the end of the proverbial tunnel,” Few said after Gonzaga beat Pacific 82-61 on Saturday to remain the only undefeated team in Division 1. ”We should have a real chance.”
Few had earlier declined to speculate on his team’s hopes of becoming the first team since Kentucky in the 2014-15 season to go undefeated.
”It was too early to focus on,” Few said.
Remaining for Gonzaga is a road game Thursday at San Diego and a final home game Saturday against BYU.
Few also pointed out that Gonzaga’s win Saturday clinched at least a tie for the program’s 20th West Coast Conference title.
”That’s one of the things I take a lot of pride in,” Few said. ”We enjoy the journey. I’m enjoying the heck out of every day of this ride.”
Nigel Williams-Goss had 18 points and seven assists to lead Gonzaga. Johnathan Williams had 12 points and 11 rebounds, and five players scored in double figures for Gonzaga (28-0, 16-0), whose 28-game winning streak is the longest in the nation. Zach Collins blocked five shots.
Jack Williams scored 16 points and D.J. Ursery had 11 for Pacific (10-19, 4-12), which played Gonzaga tough at home on New Year’s Eve. Pacific played without second-leading scorer T.J. Wallace, out with a foot injury.
Pacific was undone by 33.8 percent shooting, compared to 46 percent for Gonzaga, and a poor rebounding performance.
”The Zags are as good as any No. 1 team and could win a national title,” Pacific coach Damon Stoudamire said. ”But it will take some luck. Every team that wins gets some luck.”
Neither team shot well in the early going, and Gonzaga held a 21-18 lead midway through the first half.
The Zags closed out the half with a 22-12 run, the last eight points by Williams-Goss, to take a 43-30 lead.
Gonzaga opened the second half with a 10-3 run to extend its lead to 20 points. The lead later grew to 70-43 and the Tigers did not threaten again.
”This program is about winning,” Gonzaga center Przemek Karnowski said.
Karnowski noted the Zags have won the regular season title all five of his seasons. ”It feels good,” he said.
Pacific: The Tigers led Gonzaga 46-45 at home on Dec. 31 before the Bulldogs pulled away for a 20-point victory. It was the only WCC game this season in which Gonzaga has trailed in the second half. Pacific is 1-11 in the series against Gonzaga, winning in 1976.
Gonzaga: Gonzaga is off to the best start in program history, and has won 20 straight games by double digits. They have seven wins against teams that are in the top 50 in RPI. The Bulldogs have trailed less than 7 percent of the time in their games this season, and only twice in the second half.
Gonzaga made 26 of 30 free throws, while the Tigers made 10 of 18 from the line. Gonzaga won the rebound battle 45-36.
Pacific plays Santa Clara on Thursday.
Gonzaga plays at San Diego on Thursday.
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