Zags turn tables in second half to beat USF, reach 27-0

After a sloppy start against the Dons Gonzaga tightened up on defense and got a big timer performance from Nigel Williams-Goss to cruise away from the Dons.

SPOKANE, Wash. (AP) Undefeated Gonzaga struggled in the first half against San Francisco.

But Nigel Williams-Goss helped the Zags dominate the second half and coast to a 96-61 victory Thursday night.

Williams-Goss scored 30 points as Gonzaga extended the nation's longest winning streak to 27 games.

''We're not going to beat every single team by 20 points in the first half,'' said Przemek Karnowski, who added 23 points and seven rebounds for Gonzaga (27-0, 15-0 West Coast). ''We've got to play our defense like we're supposed to.''

Gonzaga, which is seeking to become the first team since Kentucky in 2015 to go undefeated in the regular season, let San Francisco shoot 50 percent and take the lead midway through the first half.

But they held the Dons to 23.5 percent shooting in the second half, and outscored them 54-26 for the win.

''I like how we adjusted,'' Karnowski said. ''We altered a lot of shots.''

Chase Foster had 15 points and Matt McCarthy added 11 for San Francisco (18-10, 8-7). The Dons have dropped 11 straight to Gonzaga and 28 in a row in Spokane dating to 1989.

Williams-Goss, a junior guard, added six rebounds and seven assists as he torched the Dons for at least 30 points for the second time this season. He was 10 of 14 from the field.

''He's a really, really focused individual,'' Gonzaga coach Mark Few said of Williams-Goss. ''He doesn't leave anything to chance.''

San Francisco coach Kyle Smith liked his team's effort in the first 16 minutes.

''We competed well,'' Smith said. ''We gave ourselves a chance.

''We had a couple quick possessions, a couple of bad shots that led to a quick transition for them,'' Smith said. ''You can't let your guard down at all.''

San Francisco shot well to lead for a good portion of the first half, until a late surge gave Gonzaga a 42-35 lead at halftime.

Williams-Goss scored 11 points as Gonzaga put together a 15-2 run that bracketed halftime to build a 52-37 lead early in the second.

Williams-Goss continued to score virtually at will, adding eight more points as Gonzaga built a 62-43 lead.

The Dons made only five of their first 20 shots in the second half.

''We guarded the ball better,'' Few said. ''We guarded the rim. We quit giving up 3s.''

Gonzaga, which has trailed only 6 percent of the time in games this season, fell behind 16-11 midway through the first half. The Zags clawed back and tied the game at 22-22 on Zach Collins' basket. Williams-Goss followed with a 3-pointer to put Gonzaga ahead for good.

© 2017 Associated Press


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