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Nigel Williams-Goss outduels San Diego’s top scorer

It was a two-man battle at the Kennel for the most points scored in eight minutes.

Gonzaga’s top dog won.

Nigel Williams-Goss outscored Olin Carter, San Diego’s top shooter of the night, in the first eight minutes of the Zags’ 79-43 rout of the Toreros on Thursday.

Williams-Goss hit 15 of the Gonzaga’s first 23 points with 12 minutes left in the first half. Carter was limited to only 10 points – the team’s total at 11:55 in the first.

The Zags opened the show at the McCarthey Athletic Center with a quick dunk from Johnathan Williams off a toss from big man Przemek Karnowski.

Williams-Goss laid in four more points for GU and Karnowski hooked in another shot above San Diego’s defender to put Gonzaga up 8-0 in the first three minutes.

San Diego didn’t get on the board until 17:04, when Carter hit a jumper that bounced several times on the rim before falling in.

Then a battle ensued.

Williams-Goss drove to the basket on Gonzaga’s next possession for another two points. Carter sunk a shot from 3-point range with almost 16 minutes left in the first, but Williams-Goss answered with GU’s first 3-pointer to put the Zags up 13-5.

Carter hit another jumper to pull the Toreros within six points of Gonzaga.

Almost a minute later Carter tossed in another 3 to cap his 10-point run for San Diego.

But Williams-Goss wasn’t quite finished. He dropped two more baskets to give the Zags a 19-10 lead at 13:18.

“He got down in the paint. There are times that he’s a good finisher in there, but there are also times where he made nice late dump downs to our big,” Gonzaga coach Mark Few said of the junior guard. “That’s just a really high understanding of what’s going on on the ball screen.”

In just the first half Williams-Goss looked to be back to normal after taking an awkward fall on Saturday, which seemed to have affected his performance earlier this week.

After landing hard on his left hip in the final minutes of the Gonzaga’s win over Portland on Saturday, Williams-Goss limped off the court. He was later seen heading into the locker room on crutches.

Williams-Goss called the injury a bone bruise that wasn’t too serious.

“It’s getting better. It’s kind of a tough week because we’re playing so many games, but day by day I feel it getting better,” Williams-Goss said.

The injury seemed to catch up with him at the start of the week when Gonzaga traveled to Portland for a rescheduled showing on Monday. Williams-Goss finished with a season-low four points, hitting only 2 of 9 attempts from the field.

“Whenever I feel like don’t play my best, I try to come out and get dialed and just try to be really aggressive the next game,” Williams-Goss said. “It worked out tonight.”

The junior guard scored 19 of his game-high 25 points in the first half on Thursday. He pulled down five of Gonzaga’s 38 boards and tied with Karnowski for a game-high five assists.

Thursday night was the seventh game this season that Williams-Goss has led the team in points scored, including a season-high 36 points at San Francisco on Jan. 5.

“He’s just a great point guard to have on you team, he’s just a great leader as well,” freshman Zach Collins said.

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