SEATTLE – Josh Perkins called it a “little baby scare.”
It sure didn’t seem minor at the time. The senior point guard threw a pass to the right wing in the second half but he recoiled quickly, clutching his right arm.
The ball was deflected back to Perkins, who immediately called a timeout. He walked off the court, met by trainer Josh Therrien, and kept on striding through a nearby tunnel.
Perkins is Gonzaga’s only true point guard, though senior Silas Melson has been a capable fill-in when called upon. Melson assumed that role again in Sunday’s 97-70 rout of Washington, but only for about 45 seconds of game time.
Perkins returned to the bench and was soon at the scorer’s table. He checked in and zipped a pass to Johnathan Williams for a dunk to push Gonzaga’s lead to 68-47.
“Just some shoulder issues in the past, just hurt a little bit,” Perkins said. “Just popped out a little bit. I was here (holds arm away from body) and tried to extend (upward). It’s not very strong right now, but everything is good.”
Perkins was better than good most of the game. He scored 14 points on just five field-goal attempts. He hit three 3-pointers. He particularly enjoyed one 3 when he was jostled off-balance by a defender following his injury scare.
Perkins snagged four of his team’s nine steals, many fueling Gonzaga’s transition game.
The Zags piled up 20 assists, seven from post players. Gonzaga had just eight turnovers after committing 19 in Tuesday’s 88-72 loss to No. 4 Villanova.
“We’d been having problems turning the ball over and they took great care of it,” coach Mark Few said of Gonzaga’s guards. “The Huskies have been forcing a lot of turnovers (15.9 per game) but they did a great job managing the tempo, getting it to the high post, making some of those tough passes when we needed to and kind of passing on the other ones.”
Perkins’ passes were on target and he had just one turnover in 32 minutes.
He didn’t sound too worried about his shoulder.
“It goes back in (place) on its own,” Perkins shrugged. “It’s just sore, nothing too extreme.”