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South Dakota stands in way of Gonzaga perfection

Zach Collins, left, Bryan Alberts and the rest of the No. 7-ranked Zags have South Dakota to get past on Wednesday to complete a perfect nonconference season. (Dan Pelle / The Spokesman-Review)
Zach Collins, left, Bryan Alberts and the rest of the No. 7-ranked Zags have South Dakota to get past on Wednesday to complete a perfect nonconference season. (Dan Pelle / The Spokesman-Review)

Gonzaga has one obstacle standing in the way of an unbeaten non-conference record and making some history in the process.

The Zags have never been 12-0. They were 11-0 in 1944 – 15 years before the program joined NCAA Division I – before losing to Whitman in the 12th game.

No. 8 Gonzaga (11-0) will try to make it a perfect dozen against visiting South Dakota (9-5) on Wednesday.

The Coyotes, Division I members since 2008, have won three of their last four, the lone loss coming at Portland 85-82 last Friday.

South Dakota, which opens Summit League play next week, features four transfers, including former North Idaho College forward Trey Burch-Manning, who averages 10.1 points and 6.1 rebounds.

Transfer guards Matt Mooney (Air Force), Carlton Hurst (Colorado State) and Trey Dickerson (Iowa) join Burch-Manning and 6-foot-7 post Tyler Flack in the starting five.

Mooney averages a team-high 14.7 points, Dickerson 10.1, Hurst 7.9 and Flack 13.3.

“They’re a solid team with some skilled guys that can get going,” Zags coach Mark Few said. “The three (Division I) transfers were pretty good gets for them.”

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