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Gonzaga’s Corey Kispert and Jalen Suggs earn WCC honors

The Bulldogs continue to roll as non-conference play wraps up.

NCAA Basketball: Gonzaga at Virginia Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports

The West Coast Conference named Gonzaga’s Corey Kispert Men’s Basketball Player of the Week, and teammate Jalen Suggs was named Freshman of the Week for the third time this season.

In Saturday’s game against the then-No. 16 Virginia, Drew Timme hugged Kispert during the last media timeout and told him he was proud of him. Kispert scored a career-high 32 points and tied Gonzaga’s single-game three-pointer record with nine successful shots from deep.

The night ended with a clear 98-75 victory over the Cavaliers, but for the No. 1 Bulldogs it seemed like just another day at the office.

“Shooters shoot,” Kispert said. “Everybody who walks in here believes they can put numbers up on the board if you get an open look, we are all encouraging everybody to shoot it.”

Kispert shot a blistering 70% last week (28-of-40). He is currently leading a strong Gonzaga offense with an average of 22.4 points per game while shooting 63.6% from the field overall. He has attempted 50 shots from beyond the arc this season and made 26 of them, for a 52.0% mark.

“He’s as good a shooter as I’ve ever coached, and like I said, nobody’s worked as hard as Corey has at mastering his craft, and yet, he’s incredibly unselfish,” said Gonzaga head coach Mark Few. “I think it’s very fitting that he’s right there in the record books for that particular stat.”

The senior was the NCAA March Madness National Player of the Week, which made it the second straight week a Gonzaga player gets that honor.

Suggs got it last week, while also sweeping the conference by being named the WCC’s Player and Freshman of the Week. Those honors came after the 6’4” guard picked up 27 points, including seven 3-pointers, against the then-No. 3 Iowa to get a 99-88 win for the Zags. His stats would’ve been impressive any night, but this time they were bigger because the team had just returned from a two-week Covid pause.

His performance in both games against North Western helped make him the only freshman nominated by the WCC this week.

He scored 12 points, seven rebounds, and seven assists during the first win on Dec. 21. That performance improved the following day with another victory against the same opponent. Suggs went 8-of-12 from the field, picking up 19 points, as well as six rebounds and five assists.

He wasn’t as hot against Virginia, going 3-of-7 from the field to get eight points. Even though he didn’t shine as much as the previous week, his talent was still easy to see.

“He is so strong and athletic, and he’s fast. He can shoot the ball,” said Virginia head coach Tony Bennett.