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Gonzaga Basketball

Gonzaga’s Anton Watson earns first career weekly WCC honor after career outing in Hawaii

Gonzaga Bulldogs forward Anton Watson (22) reacts after hitting the first of his two three pointers against UCLA during the second half of a college basketball game in the Allstate Maui Invitational on Wednesday, Nov. 22, 2023, at SimpliFi Arena at Stan Sheriff Center in Honolulu, Hawaii. Gonzaga won the game 69-65.  (Tyler Tjomsland / The Spokesman-Review)

Anton Watson has never had a better game than he did against UCLA on day three of the Maui Invitational, and nobody else in the West Coast Conference had a better week than Gonzaga’s fifth-year senior forward.

The Gonzaga Prep product earned WCC Player of the Week honors for the first time in his career and became the first Zag to snag the award this season, after pouring in a career-high 32 points against the Bruins to help the Bulldogs secure a 2-1 record at Honolulu’s SimpliFi Arena at the Stan Sheriff Center.

During the 69-65 win over the Bruins – Watson’s fourth over UCLA in as many years – the senior also hauled down seven rebounds and had two assists and two blocks.

On a night when his Gonzaga teammates made just 9 of 38 (23%) shots from the field, Watson was supremely efficient, connecting on 14 of 15 (93%) while making all three of his 3-point attempts. For a 14-minute stretch in the second half, Watson was the only Gonzaga player with a field goal.

Watson’s career outing came one day after he posted his second double-double of the season, scoring 12 points to go with 13 rebounds in a 76-57 win over Syracuse.

After a scoreless first half in the Maui Invitational opener against Purdue, Watson rebounded to finish with eight points, two rebounds and four assists.

For the tournament, he averaged 17.3 points and 7.3 rebounds per game, earning all-tourney honors alongside Purdue’s Zach Edey and Braden Smith, Tennessee’s Dalton Knecht, Marquette’s Oso Ighodaro and Kansas’ Hunter Dickinson.

Watson, who entered his name in the NBA Draft before electing to return to college for a fifth season, has now reached double figures in four of five games this season. He’s leading the Zags in scoring at 16.6 points per game and is tied with Graham Ike for the team lead in rebounds, at 8.0 boards per game.

San Francisco guard Ryan Beasley earned WCC Freshman of the Week honors after averaging 15.5 points to help the Dons beat Purdue Fort Wayne and Minnesota.