By the end, Gonzaga’s 27th win looked like most of its first 26.
But it took a while.
The top-ranked Zags fought themselves and a game San Francisco Dons outfit in the first half before pulling away for a 96-61 win in front of 6,000 on Thursday at the McCarthey Athletic Center.
Gonzaga (27-0, 15-0 WCC) relied on the outside-inside combination of Nigel Williams-Goss and Przemek Karnowski. Williams-Goss made four 3-pointers and poured in 30 points. Karnowski added 23 points and seven rebounds.
Williams-Goss scored 36 points in Gonzaga’s 95-80 win over the Dons in early January.
The Zags broke away from seven-point halftime lead when Williams-Goss erupted for 15 points in just over five minutes, bumping Gonzaga’s lead to 62-43.
Junior wing Chase Foster led the Dons (18-10, 8-7) with 15 points.
The Dons were patient and effective offensively in the first half. Foster had 11 points, including a couple of baskets after a Zag defender inadvertently knocked off his headband. A USF staffer jogged across the court during a timeout to retrieve the headband from under a table near the sideline.
Seven-foot center Jimbo Lull hit just his second 3-pointer of the conference season and Jordan Ratinho chipped in seven points as the Dons led for most of the first 12 minutes.
Gonzaga moved in front with a 7-0 spurt to take a 27-22 lead. The Dons cut the deficit to two four times but the Zags scored the last five points of the half to take a 42-35 advantage, thanks mostly to an eight-point differential in GU’s favor at the free-throw line.
Karnowski and Williams-Goss combined for 25 first-half points. Gonzaga had led by at least nine at half in its last 12 games.
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