With only a few days left until Christmas, it seems as though everyone is asking the same question: What’s on your Christmas list?
The Gonzaga basketball players are no exception.
“Some headphones,” GU’s Silas Melson said after practice on Tuesday, along with a hot meal from his mother, of course. “College life … the meals come scarce.”
Nigel Williams-Goss also had home on his mind.
“Honestly, I just want to be with them (my family),” Williams-Goss said.
Freshman forward Zach Collins only had one thing on his wish list ahead of Wednesday’s game against South Dakota.
“A toothbrush!” Melson answered for Collins from across the locker room on Wednesday night.
Collins cracked a smile, but that wasn’t quite what he had in mind.
“My Christmas list is to go 12-0 for the Zags,” Collins said.
Simple enough, and the Zags delivered him exactly what he wanted.
Gonzaga toppled the Coyotes 102-65 Wednesday night to close out a 12-0 record before conference play begins against Pepperdine on Dec. 29. The victory marks the best start since the program began in 1908.
Collins led with a game-high 21 points that helped GU pass the 11-0 record set by the 1944 Gonzaga basketball team. That year the Bulldogs finished 21-2.
“I really didn’t ask for anything else but that, so I got what I asked for,” Collins said.
GU coach Mark Few said earlier this month – when Gonzaga beat Akron to achieve a 10-0 record, the best start since the team joined the NCAA Division I in the 1957-58 season – that there wasn’t much to celebrate.
“We’re in December. I don’t think we need to be doing somersaults and cartwheels,” Few said following the 61-43 Gonzaga win over the Zips on Dec. 10.
Although there were no Zags in sight Wednesday night doing cartwheels down the court, Few admitted after the game that the 12-0 start is not something to just shrug at this time.
“To get this far along with all the success this program has had, it’s harder than heck to keep having something, to do something nobody else has done before,” Few said. “To go 12-0 … especially with the nonleague slate we had, the opponents, and even the timing a little bit, was an impressive job by these guys.”
The Zags have had a few close calls this season, with the closest being against Iowa State at the AdvoCare Invitational in Orlando, Florida, on Nov. 27. The Bulldogs barely held on for a 73-71 victory that ended the tournament.
The Florida Gators also gave the Zags a scare in that tournament before GU pulled away with a 77-72 win.
“I feel good,” Przemek Karnowski said. “I mean, we are winning games.”
But GU’s star center still wouldn’t smile about Wednesday’s feat.
“It doesn’t matter, it’s game by game,” Karnowski said. “The next game is Pepperdine and we got to focus on that.”
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