There was no shortage of tributes for Gonzaga’s lone senior, Anton Watson, on Senior Night. One of the coolest happened long before 6,000 filled the McCarthey Athletic Center to witness Gonzaga’s 94-81 victory over Santa Clara on Saturday. More than an hour before tip-off, Watson had one basket all to himself, putting up shots and free throws with his teammates watching from in seats along the sideline. "Just watching greatness,” Graham Ike said.
Gonzaga will rightfully devote much of its attention to Adama Bal after the Santa Clara wing hurt the Bulldogs for 17 points, including the winning basket, during a 77-76 loss to the Broncos last month at the Leavey Center.
Tis the point of the college basketball season when every win, even the margin of victory, and every loss is magnified for teams trying to fortify at-large credentials. Gonzaga is rarely in that position, but that’s where the Bulldogs find themselves with three key West Coast Conference regular-season games left.
The latest victory in Gonzaga’s five-game winning streak looked a lot like the first four. Junior post Graham Ike controlled the lane and led the Bulldogs in scoring with 20 points, his fourth consecutive game with at least 20. The starting five all posted solid numbers, including Nolan Hickman’s four 3-pointers and 19 points, and Ben Gregg, who was a prep standout at Clackamas High about 20 miles down the road, added three 3s and 13 points, all in the first half.