Yup, a little slow-starting this morning, much like Loyola Marymount last night at the McCarthey Athletic Center.
More below in my day-after post.
--Former Zag and current Los Angeles Laker Robert Sacre was back in town with the NBA on all-star break. The big man took his seat a few rows behind the Zags' bench and the Kennel Club promptly began chanting his name.
Gonzaga has had several post-game/practice visitors this season, including ex-Zag Ronny Turiaf, avid Zag fan and PGA golfer Kyle Stanley and former GU and MLB star Jason Bay. Sacre addressed the team after Thursday’s win in, well, Sacre style.
“It’s like Elvis is in the building,” coach Mark Few said. “Definitely colorful, that’s how I’d describe that talk he just gave” the team.
Domantas Sabonis had never met Sacre but came away impressed.
“He’s a great dude, very funny,” the 18-year-old freshman said. “It was awesome, different than the other speeches. It was funny.”
--Checked in with Przemek Karnowski (hard fall near end of first half), Domantas Sabonis (rolled ankle for second straight game) and Josh Perkins (broken jaw in late November).
Karnowski and Sabonis didn’t seem too concerned about their ailments. Karnowski had a bag of ice on his elbow and anticipated some pain today but nothing he considered serious. The big man hit the floor three times in a 40-second span before being replaced by Angel Nunez.
“It just hurt at first,” he said. “After a while it wasn’t that bad.”
Sabonis has tweaked the same ankle twice.
“It’s feeling a bit weak,” he said. “Nothing serious.”
Sabonis said his fractured finger is on the mend. He saw a doctor Tuesday and expects it to be healed in two weeks.
Perkins has been seeing a doctor on a weekly basis but said it remains uncertain if/when he can return to practice. With just five regular-season games remaining and Perkins essentially on the sidelines for the last 2½ months, it seems likely Perkins won’t return this season.
The freshman guard, who still has some of the wire/band framework in place, said he’s regaining his strength and his conditioning. If he doesn’t return, Perkins would be eligible to apply for a medical redshirt because he’s only appeared in five games.
STATS OF NOTE
--Kyle Wiltjer is 11 of 18 on 3s in the last four games.
--Kevin Pangos had two steals, moving him into solo fifth place with 161 in his career. No. 4 David Stockton had 167 steals.
--Karnowski made 3 of 4 shots last night, moving his WCC totals to 61 of 85 (71.7%).
--Sabonis was 4 of 6. He’s 43 of 63 (68.3%) in conference play.
Few: “We’re as balanced as we’ve probably ever been, and these guys are an unselfish group. Even when it was at 30 or 40 points, we were making the extra pass.”
LMU coach Mike Dunlap joked to AP: “He looks like a choir boy and hits like an assassin.”
Karnowski: “The key today and in many games was the defense. It was amazing in the first half and guys stayed on top of it. We let it slip in the second half but we got the win.”
Bell: “We can’t take any of these games for granted. They’re going to give us their best shot. We have to give our best shot.”