LAS VEGAS – The Zags will always have their off nights. Their flukes. Their head-scratchers. At least that’s what the Zags kept telling themselves and everyone else since they lost out on a perfect season in their final regular-season matchup.
Even after Gonzaga topped Santa Clara 77-68 on Monday night in the West Coast Conference semifinals for their nation-leading 31st win, the Zags still noticed plenty of imperfections. Particularly in the performance of two Zags – Josh Perkins and Silas Melson – who seemed to had gone cold the entire night.
Perkins couldn’t make his mark on the stat sheet in 21 minutes on Monday. His highest number was in foul territory, where he picked up four personal fouls. His foul trouble was one reason he sat for nearly half of the game.
The other reason? Zero makes. In four attempts from the field, including a pair from 3-point range, Perkins couldn’t get the ball to fall in the net.
It “was just a tough game,” said Perkins, who has delivered 12 double-digit games this season.
It was a tough one for Melson, too, who couldn’t seem to find opportunities at the basket. Melson went up for only two shots, one from beyond the arc, in his 30 minutes on the floor. He eventually got on the board with two points when Santa Clara sent Melson to the line in the final seconds of the game.
“Some days aren’t your nights and some days are your nights and you’ve got to accept it and still, you know, try to be a contributor,” Melson said. “It’s a team thing. We’re in this together. We’re trying to win a championship as a unit. However it’s done, you know, you got to be happy with it.”
The rough offensive night for Perkins and Melson didn’t shake them up at all. Perkins said his perfomance is just a small piece of what the team displayed to an Orleans Arena full of mostly Gonzaga fans, and the only number that he pays attention to is the final score.
“All that matters is that we won,” Perkins said.
Perkins said he still felt some discomfort from his ankle after hurting it on Friday night when the Zags toppled Pacific in the quarterfinals. He took a hard fall along the sidelines halfway down the court. The guard was jogging down the court and appeared to be unguarded when he fell. He immediately grabbed his ankle and was helped to the bench where he stayed for the remainder of the game.
Perkins said his ankle and the Monday night’s stat sheet won’t hold him down in the conference championship on Tuesday when Gonzaga takes on Saint Mary’s.
“I’m going to come out doing what I do the next day so whatever happens today I’m the same person tomorrow, same person I’m going to be after the game. Perkins said. “So I’m good.”
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