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Gonzaga coach Mark Few’s No. 1 priority: Stay in game mode

Gonzaga coach Mark Few and his Bulldogs have reached several milestones this season, including the best start in program history and becoming the last unbeaten left in Division I. (Dan Pelle / The Spokesman-Review)
Gonzaga coach Mark Few and his Bulldogs have reached several milestones this season, including the best start in program history and becoming the last unbeaten left in Division I. (Dan Pelle / The Spokesman-Review)

Gonzaga’s defense isn’t the only unit with a lot of deflections.

Head coach Mark Few added a few more following Thursday’s rout over San Diego when asked about the possibility of Gonzaga ascending to No. 1 in next week’s polls.

“We’ve done it here before,” Few said matter of factly. “This group has done an excellent job of just focusing on the process and trying to get better week to week and not really focusing on stuff we can’t control.”

He then steered the conversation toward Pepperdine, third-ranked Gonzaga’s assignment on Saturday at Firestone Fieldhouse in Malibu.

“We’re going to see a great effort,” Few said. “They haven’t had a very good season to this point but they get us on their home floor.”

After a couple more questions, Few was asked if absorbing a loss prior to the NCAA tournament could take some pressure off his team.

“Again, I’m not looking at March or late February,” Few said. “As soon as I’m done with you guys I’ll start watching the Pepperdine game from the last time we played them. We have a really quick turnaround.

“I just kind of live day to day, not a big forward thinker. Guess that’s a flaw of mine, but it kind of works.”


Gonzaga point guard Nigel Williams-Goss lead the charge last time out against Pepperdine, scoring a team-high 16 points on Dec. 29, 2016 in Spokane. (Colin Mulvany / The Spokesman-Review)
Gonzaga point guard Nigel Williams-Goss lead the charge last time out against Pepperdine, scoring a team-high 16 points on Dec. 29, 2016 in Spokane. (Colin Mulvany / The Spokesman-Review)

The Zags (21-0, 9-0 WCC) have reached several milestones this season, including the best start in program history and becoming the last unbeaten left in Division I.

A victory over the Waves (6-15, 2-7) would match the 2015 team’s program-record 22-game winning streak. BYU ended Gonzaga’s streak with a victory in the regular-season finale at the McCarthey Athletic Center.

Pepperdine, which handled Portland 78-60 on Thursday, is in a three-way tie for last place with the Pilots and Pacific. Seniors Lamond Murray (22 points, 10 rebounds), Chris Reyes (10 points, 15 rebounds) and Jeremy Major (20 points, five 3-pointers) carried the Waves past Portland.

The three seniors account for nearly 47 of the team’s 70.2 points per game.

Gonzaga opened WCC play in late December with a 92-62 victory over the Waves. The Zags led by seven at half before dominating the final 20 minutes. Przemek Karnowski and Nigel Williams-Goss each had 16 points to lead five players in double figures.

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