SPOKANE, Wash. — Fifth-ranked Gonzaga may be the nation’s last remaining undefeated major college basketball team, but the Zags say they aren’t feeling any extra pressure.
“We do just a great job of taking care of business and keeping control,” guard Josh Perkins said after Gonzaga crushed Loyola Marymount 93-55 on Thursday night. “We want to keep it going.”
“There’s no pressure,” added Nigel Williams-Goss, the team’s leading scorer. “We have the same motto: get better every day, each week.”
“We focus on one game at a time,” freshman Zach Collins said. “We lock in to every single game like we are not going to play again.”
Przemek Karnowski scored 17 points to lead Gonzaga to its 16th consecutive win, longest streak in the nation.
Collins scored 15 points and Silas Melson added 13 for Gonzaga (16-0, 4-0 West Coast). Six Zags scored in double figures.
Buay Tuach scored 19 points for Loyola Marymount (8-8, 1-4), which has lost 15 straight games to Gonzaga dating to 2010.
Gonzaga has shot better from the field than all 16 of its opponents this season. They shot 53 percent, while holding the Lions to 34 percent, including 26 percent in the decisive second half.
The first half was close and Gonzaga led for nearly all of it. The Bulldogs kept pushing leads to as many as 10 points, and the Lions would immediately whittle them down.
But three late 3-pointers — by Perkins, Melson and Johnathan Williams — lifted Gonzaga to a 46-35 lead at halftime. The Lions committed 10 turnovers and shot just 40 percent in the first half, while Gonzaga was 6 of 9 from 3-point range.
“We didn’t play that well in the first half,” Karnowski said. “Our defense was better in the second half.”
Karnowski noted the Zags won the rebound battle 41-37. “That’s a big deal for us,” he said.
Karnowski scored three baskets during a 10-3 run to open the second half that gave the Zags a 56-38 lead. The Lions made just one of their first nine shots in the second half.
Gonzaga’s lead was soon at more than 20 points, as the Bulldogs outscored Loyola Marymount 23-8 to open the second half. The Lions did not threaten again.
“The biggest issue was our inability to take care of the ball,” Loyola Marymount coach Mike Dunlap said of his team’s 22 turnovers.
“Those turnovers gave them easy baskets,” Dunlap said.
“We’ve got to move on quick,” he said. “To dwell on this kind of loss is foolhardy.”
Loyola Marymount: The Lions suffered close losses to Connecticut, Boise State and Texas-Arlington this season. Eight of their previous 12 games were decided in the final 10 seconds, and they lost five of them.
Gonzaga: The Bulldogs are off to the best start in program history, and became the only undefeated team in major college basketball when Baylor lost recently. Five Zags are averaging at least 10 points per game, led by Williams-Goss at 15.3, and they average 85.5 points as a team. The Zags are 13th in the RPI.
Gonzaga’s easy win against an over-matched foe will likely carry little weight with voters, but Saturday’s game against No. 21 Saint Mary’s will.
Both teams shot better from 3-point range than they did in overall field goals. Gonzaga made 10 of 18 3-point attempts. The Zags outscored the Lions 50-24 in the paint.
Loyola Marymount plays at Portland on Saturday.
Gonzaga faces a stern test to its undefeated record when they play No. 21 Saint Mary’s at home on Saturday.