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Gonzaga Basketball

Portland senior point guard Alec Wintering sidelined

Portland point guard Alec Wintering averages 5.8 assists per game this season. (Jae C. Hong / Associated Press)

Portland received devastating news Saturday before their game with Gonzaga when an MRI confirmed that senior guard Alec Wintering had suffered a torn ACL during Thursday’s loss at San Francisco.

Wintering was just five assists shy of the school’s all-time assists record held by Darwin Cook. He ranks second in program history in steals, fifth in points and sixth in 3-point percentage.

The Pilots tested Gonzaga, despite not having their leading scorer. Freshman Andre Ferguson started in place of Wintering and had five points and two rebounds in 23 minutes. Jazz Johnson, who finished with 12 points, also took on some of the ball-handling duties.

“Sometimes when you lose your leader like that, it wipes you out,” Portland coach Terry Porter said. “But the guys responded well with great effort. We knew it was going to be a tall task. Mark (Few) has done a great job building a great team, but I loved the way we fought and got after it.”

After hearing his ACL diagnosis, Wintering flew from Portland to Spokane on Saturday to be with his teammates. He helped rebound and fired passes during pre-game drills.

“I talked to him before the game,” said Gonzaga’s Nigel Williams-Goss, the Washington transfer who got to know Wintering when the Huskies and Pilots held preseason scrimmages.

“That’s a horrific injury, I don’t wish that upon anybody. I feel really bad for him. He was having a great year. My prayers are with him that he heals up and recovers.”