With a 69-62 win over No. 16 Arizona on Saturday, Gonzaga solidified its status as a 2016-17 powerhouse.
The Bulldogs held off the Wildcats in the second half thanks to dynamic guard play and domination in the paint, the latter with the help of big man Przemek Karnowski’s 18 points.
However, Gonzaga’s offensive success did not only come from Karnowski, but also balanced guard play. Nigel Williams-Goss, Jordan Matthews and Josh Perkins all scored in double digits, although none of them scratched the surface of potential play.
Opponents can’t forget about freshman phenom Zach Collins, either, who pitched in eight points and eight rebounds. He’s already proven that he has the potential to become a difference-maker for Gonzaga. Kyle Wiltjer would be proud.
But, let’s remember too that Arizona is no joke. The Wildcats also have an international talent in Lauri Markkanen, who pitched in 14 points and eight rebounds. The guards all did their thing for the Wildcats as well, but committed too many turnovers, especially Kadeem Allen. The Wildcats will improve as the season goes on, but any significant gains will likely require an early return from defensive wizard Parker Jackson-Cartwright and, of course, Allonzo Trier.
Gonzaga faces some early challenge from Tennessee and Washington, but expect them to roll until a January matchup at Saint Mary’s.