LOS ANGELES (AP) — No. 1 Gonzaga has won 25 games in a season before, in fact the Zags have done that for 10 consecutive seasons. They just have never done it this fast.
Thursday night’s 90-60 victory over Loyola Marymount was the Bulldogs’ 25th this season in as many games.
Gonzaga, 13-0 in the West Coast Conference, is Division I’s last unbeaten team.
“It’s the most balanced team they’ve had,” Loyola coach Mike Dunlap said. “And they have size in numbers. They’ve never had that kind of size.”
The Bulldogs have three 7-footers and two more players at least 6-10, but against Loyola it was 6-3 guard Nigel Williams-Goss who led the way with 19 points and 11 rebounds.
The Bulldogs have no problem deferring to whoever has the hot hand.
“This is the most balanced team we’ve had,” Williams-Goss said. “And we have all that size.”
That also makes for a more aggressive team and that was demonstrated at the free throw line, where Gonzaga made 34 of 44, while Loyola went to the line only eight times, making four.
“That’s a huge disparity,” Dunlap said. “Too many turnovers led to fast break opportunities.”
Johnathan Williams had 13 points for Gonzaga, while Jordan Matthews, Zach Collins and Killian Tillie each had 11.
Collins is 7 feet and Tillie is 6-10. Gonzaga’s starting center and second-leading scorer, 7-1 Przemek Karnowski, was held to a relatively modest seven rebounds and six points.
The Bulldogs are so balanced, no player has led them in scoring in consecutive games all season.
Of course, when a team is undefeated it can sometimes be difficult to judge how much they are growing as the season progresses.
“I think we’ve been a sneaky-good defensive team this season,” Gonzaga coach Mark Few said. “I don’t think we get enough credit defensively.
“And I see small areas of growth. The one thing we’ve been able to do is change our game plans and do different things. They’re good about doing things on the fly.”
Loyola (11-13, 4-9) hung close until midway through the first half. Then the Bulldogs closed the half with a 24-9 run to lead 50-28. The Lions never could recover.
Loyola was led by Steven Haney’s 12 points, all coming on 3-pointers. Brandon Brown and Buay Tuach each had 11 points for the Lions.