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Sports >  Gonzaga basketball

The road to 32-1: A look back at Gonzaga’s dominant 2016-17 season

Gonzaga center Przemek Karnowski, second from right, and Rem Bakamus, bottom holding the shirt, signal the five WCC Championships the pair have won. (Dan Pelle / The Spokesman-Review)
Gonzaga center Przemek Karnowski, second from right, and Rem Bakamus, bottom holding the shirt, signal the five WCC Championships the pair have won. (Dan Pelle / The Spokesman-Review)

Gonzaga 122, West Georgia 76

EXHIBITION – Nigel Williams-Goss had 20 points and eight rebounds in the Zags’ rout of visiting West Georgia in an exhibition game. Johnathan Williams had 14 points and 14 rebounds.

Gonzaga 92, Utah Valley 69

1-0: Silas Melson scored 17 points and Jordan Mathews had 16 and the Bulldogs, ranked No. 14, rolled in their season opener. Przemek Karnowski added 14 points in his first game since a back injury sidelined him for most of last season.

Gonzaga 69, San Diego State 48

2-0: Jordan Mathews hit five 3-pointers and scored 17 points and the Zags held the Aztecs to 28 percent shooting in a victory. Zach Collins added 15 points.

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Gonzaga 109, Bryant 70

3-0: Przemek Karnowski scored 22 points and Johnathan Williams added 20 in a victory that saw the Zags hit 55.7 percent from the floor. GU held Bryant, with no starter over 6-foot-6, to just 42.6 percent shooting.

Gonzaga 82, Quinnipiac 62

ADVOCARE INVITATIONAL TOURNAMENT – 4-0: Johnathan Williams and Zach Collins led a balanced offense with 13 points apiece, helping the No. 11 Zags shrug off a slow start and pull away in the first round of the AdvoCare Invitation.

Gonzaga 77, Florida 72

ADVOCARE INVITATIONAL TOURNAMENT – 5-0: Josh Perkins had 18 points and Silas Melson scored 10 of his 12 during a second-half rally that carried the Bulldogs to the title game of the AdvoCare Invitational.

Gonzaga 73, Iowa State 71

ADVOCARE INVITATIONAL TOURNAMENT – 6-0: Nigel Williams-Goss scored 18 points as the Zags nearly blew an 18-point second-half lead before beating the No. 21 Cyclones in the championship game at the AdvoCare Invitational.

Gonzaga players hold the Advocare Invitational Championship Invitational Trophy after defeating Iowa State 73-71 on Sunday, Nov. 27 in Orlando, Florida. (Willie J. Allen Jr. / AP)
Gonzaga players hold the Advocare Invitational Championship Invitational Trophy after defeating Iowa State 73-71 on Sunday, Nov. 27 in Orlando, Florida. (Willie J. Allen Jr. / AP)

Gonzaga 97, Mississippi Valley St. 63

7-0: Josh Perkins and Silas Melson had 15 points apiece as the Bulldogs kept Mississippi Valley State winless. Gonzaga hit 12 3-pointers, including nine in the first half.

Gonzaga 69, Arizona 62

8-0: Przemek Karnowski scored 18 points and the eighth-ranked Zags beat the No. 16 Wildcats in the inaugural Hoophall LA doubleheader at Staples Center. Josh Perkins added 16 points as GU beat Arizona for the first time since 2011.

The Gonzaga bench erupts after Nigel Williams-Goss scores a crucial basket late in the game against Arizona, Dec. 3, 2016, in the Staples Center. (Dan Pelle / The Spokesman-Review)
The Gonzaga bench erupts after Nigel Williams-Goss scores a crucial basket late in the game against Arizona, Dec. 3, 2016, in the Staples Center. (Dan Pelle / The Spokesman-Review)

Gonzaga 98, Washington 71

9-0: Nigel Williams-Goss scored 23 points as the Zags dominated from the opening minutes to beat the poor-shooting Huskies in a resumption of their cross-state rivalry. Przemek Karnowski added 17 points and Jordan Mathews had 14.

Gonzaga 61, Akron 43

10-0: Przemek Karnowski scored 14 points and the Bulldogs won in a defensive battle. The win gave the Zags their first 10-0 start since 1958.

Gonzaga 86, Tennessee 76

11-0: Nigel Williams-Goss scored 20 points, and the Bulldogs scored the game’s first eight points and never trailed. Josh Perkins added 15 as five Zags hit double figures.

Gonzaga guards Jordan Mathews (4) and Josh Perkins (13) celebrate a hard-fought win over Tennessee on Sunday. On Monday, the Zags moved up one spot in the AP Top 25 poll to No. 7. (Dan Pelle / The Spokesman-Review)
Gonzaga guards Jordan Mathews (4) and Josh Perkins (13) celebrate a hard-fought win over Tennessee on Sunday. On Monday, the Zags moved up one spot in the AP Top 25 poll to No. 7. (Dan Pelle / The Spokesman-Review)

Gonzaga 102, South Dakota 65

12-0: Freshman Zach Collins scored 21 points, making all nine of his field-goal attempts, and the Zags won their 12th straight, the best start in program history. Nigel Williams-Goss added 14 points, nine rebounds and five assists for Gonzaga, which shot 53 percent.

West Coast Conference

Gonzaga 92, Pepperdine 62

13-0: Nigel Williams-Goss and Przemek Karnowski each scored 16 points as the No. 7 Zags cruised. Jordan Mathews scored 15 points on five 3-pointers.

Gonzaga 81, Pacific 61

14-0: Jordan Mathews scored 16 points and fueled a big run in the second half to help the Zags rally. Gonzaga trailed by eight with 17:13 remaining before going on a 25-4 run in a 10-minute span.

Gonzaga 95, San Francisco 80

15-0: Nigel Williams-Goss scored a career-high 36 points, and the No. 5 Zags, who shot 61 percent from the floor, rolled. Jordan Mathews scored 16 points for GU. Williams-Goss shot 12 for 15, made all nine of his free throws and also had 11 rebounds and six assists.

Gonzaga 93, Loyola Marymount 55

16-0: Przemek Karnowski scored 17 points and the Bulldogs remained the nation’s only undefeated Division I team. Zach Collins scored 15 points and Silas Melson added 13 as six Zags scored in double figures.

Gonzaga 79, Saint Mary’s 56

17-0: Nigel Williams-Goss scored 19 points and the Zags beat their archrival. Jordan Mathews added 16 points, and Johnathan Williams had 14 for the Bulldogs, whose 17-game winning streak is the longest in the nation.

Gonzaga’s Nigel Williams-Goss and Zach Collins pressure Joe Rahon of Saint Mary’s. (Dan Pelle / The Spokesman-Review)
Gonzaga’s Nigel Williams-Goss and Zach Collins pressure Joe Rahon of Saint Mary’s. (Dan Pelle / The Spokesman-Review)

Gonzaga 88, Santa Clara 57

18-0: Przemek Karnowski scored 19 points on just seven shots from the field and the No. 4 Zags rolled to their 11th straight double-digit win. Karnowski made six shots against the undersized Broncos and added seven more points from the line. Zach Collins had 16 points and Nigel Williams-Goss added 11 points and 10 rebounds.

Gonzaga 73, Portland 52

19-0: Nigel Williams-Goss scored 15 points as the Zags cruised. Przemek Karnowski added 12 points for Gonzaga, which was actually outrebounded and held to 45 percent shooting. Zach Collins added nine points and nine rebounds.

Gonzaga 83, Portland 64

20-0: Zach Collins had 13 points and the No. 3 Bulldogs won in a game that was rescheduled because of a winter storm earlier in the month. The Bulldogs have won 20 straight games, their longest streak since winning that many in the 2005-06 and 2003-04 seasons. Silas Melson and Jordan Mathews each added 12 points for the Zags, who led by as many as 33 and had four double-digit scorers.

Gonzaga forward Johnathan Williams dunks the ball during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game against the Portland in Portland, Ore., Monday, Jan. 23, 2017. (AP Photo/Steve Dykes)
Gonzaga forward Johnathan Williams dunks the ball during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game against the Portland in Portland, Ore., Monday, Jan. 23, 2017. (AP Photo/Steve Dykes)

Gonzaga 79, San Diego 43

21-0: Nigel Williams-Goss scored 25 points, making 11 of 15 shots, in the Bulldogs’ victory. Johnathan Williams added 13 points and 12 rebounds for the Zags, who shot 53 percent from the field. Williams-Goss added five assists and five rebounds.

Gonzaga 96, Pepperdine 49

22-0: Przemek Karnowski scored 16 points and Silas Melson had 15, and the Zags matched its longest-ever winning streak at 22 games. The Bulldogs shot 58.6 percent and held the Waves to 30.2 percent shooting. They took immediate command over outmanned Pepperdine using a superior height advantage to jump out to a 27-8 lead.

Gonzaga 85, BYU 75

23-0: Nigel Williams-Goss scored 33 points and the No. 1 Zags won their 23rd straight, the longest winning streak in school history. Gonzaga took a 42-26 lead after dominating the first half. The Bulldogs used a 20-4 stretch early to put BYU in a deep hole.

Gonzaga guard Nigel Williams-Goss dribbles past BYU guard Elijah Bryant during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game Thursday, Feb. 2, 2017, in Provo, Utah. (Jeff Swinger / Associated Press)
Gonzaga guard Nigel Williams-Goss dribbles past BYU guard Elijah Bryant during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game Thursday, Feb. 2, 2017, in Provo, Utah. (Jeff Swinger / Associated Press)

Gonzaga 90, Santa Clara 55

24-0: Playing the school’s first home game as the nation’s No. 1 team, the Zags got 16 points from Jordan Mathews and 15 from Josh Perkins in the win. Zach Collins added 14 points and eight rebounds in Gonzaga, which did not play a home game when it was ranked No. 1 in 2013. GU shot 61 percent from the field.

Gonzaga 90, Loyola Marymount 60

25-0: Nigel Williams-Goss had 19 points and 11 rebounds and the balanced Zags rolled again. Gonzaga got 13 points from Johnathan Williams, and 11 points each from Jordan Mathews, Zach Collins and Killian Tillie.

Gonzaga 74, Saint Mary’s 64

26-0: Przemek Karnowski scored 19 points as the Zags swept the season series and won for the 11th time in the past 13 meetings against their fiercest conference rival. Johnathan Williams added 17 points and Nigel Williams-Goss had 14.

Gonzaga 96, San Francisco 61

27-0: Nigel Williams-Goss scored 30 points as the Zags extended the nation’s longest winning streak to 27 games. Przemek Karnowski added 23 points and seven rebounds for Gonzaga, seeking to become the first team since Kentucky in 2015 to go undefeated in the regular season. Williams-Goss, a junior guard, added six rebounds and seven assists.

Gonzaga center Przemek Karnowski (24) makes a pass as San Francisco center Jimbo Lull (5) defends during the first half of an NCAA basketball game, Thursday, Feb. 16, 2017, at the McCarthey Athletic Center in Spokane. (Colin Mulvany / The Spokesman-Review)
Gonzaga center Przemek Karnowski (24) makes a pass as San Francisco center Jimbo Lull (5) defends during the first half of an NCAA basketball game, Thursday, Feb. 16, 2017, at the McCarthey Athletic Center in Spokane. (Colin Mulvany / The Spokesman-Review)

Gonzaga 82, Pacific 61

28-0: Nigel Williams-Goss had 18 points and seven assists to lead a balanced Bulldogs’ victory. Johnathan Williams chipped in 12 points and 11 rebounds, and five players scored in double figures for the Zags.

Gonzaga 96, San Diego 38

29-0: Josh Perkins and Jordan Mathews scored 15 points apiece, and Johnathan Williams had 14 points and 19 rebounds as the Zags clinched the West Coast Conference title. The 58-point victory margin was the biggest of the season for Gonzaga, which won games by 47, 46 and 39 points.

BYU 79, Gonzaga 71

29-1: Eric Mika had 29 points and 11 rebounds to help the Cougars upset the top-ranked Zags on Senior Night, ending GU’s quest to go undefeated in the final game of the regular season. Nigel Williams-Goss scored 19 points for GU, which was seeking to become the first team since Kentucky in 2014-15 to finish the regular season without a loss. The last team to finish the entire season undefeated was Indiana in 1975-76.

Gonzaga guards Nigel Williams-Goss (5), Silas Melson (0) and Jeremy Jones wear the loss to BYU on their faces, Saturday, Feb. 25, 2017, at the McCarthey Athletic Center in Spokane. (Dan Pelle / The Spokesman-Review)
Gonzaga guards Nigel Williams-Goss (5), Silas Melson (0) and Jeremy Jones wear the loss to BYU on their faces, Saturday, Feb. 25, 2017, at the McCarthey Athletic Center in Spokane. (Dan Pelle / The Spokesman-Review)

WCC Tournament

Gonzaga 82, Pacific 50

30-1: Jordan Matthews scored 22 points, Nigel Williams-Goss added 20 and the No. 4 Zags recovered from their first defeat and a sluggish first half in the WCC quarterfinals. Gonzaga couldn’t shake Pacific until Matthews keyed an 18-4 spurt to start the second half.

Gonzaga 77, Santa Clara 68

31-1: Nigel Williams-Goss had 25 points and eight rebounds, and the Zags secured a spot in the WCC title game for the 20th straight season. Przemek Karnowski added 19 points and seven boards for the Bulldogs, who dominated inside.

Gonzaga 74, Saint Mary’s 56

32-1: Nigel Williams-Goss scored 22 points, Przemek Karnowski added 15 and the Bulldogs won their fifth straight WCC tournament title. Williams-Goss also had six assists, six rebounds and six steals. Gonzaga shot 50 percent overall, scored 20 points off turnovers and had a 38-22 advantage inside, staking claim to a potential No. 1 seed in the NCAA Tournament.

Gonzaga forward Johnathan Williams (3) dunks the ball over Saint Mary's center Jock Landale (34) during the first half of a WCC title game, Tuesday, March 7, 2017, at Orleans Arena in Las Vegas. (Colin Mulvany / The Spokesman-Review)
Gonzaga forward Johnathan Williams (3) dunks the ball over Saint Mary's center Jock Landale (34) during the first half of a WCC title game, Tuesday, March 7, 2017, at Orleans Arena in Las Vegas. (Colin Mulvany / The Spokesman-Review)

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