Two weeks ago I stood on KREM's set and said that the Zags were about to embark on their most difficult stretch of conference play. They played at BYU, and then hosted San Diego, San Francisco, and Saint Mary's. Those four teams are the four teams vying for the #2 seed in the WCC Tournament.
It was supposed to be a challenge.
We all know how that turned out.
But just how incredibly impressive were the Zags last four wins? Well we're about to break that down now.
ZAGS DOMINATE OVER FOUR GAME STRETCH
First of all, the Zags defeated the top four teams in the league by an average of 31 points. Beating Saint Mary's the most by 48, and their closest margin of victory was 16 points over USD.
It's no wonder the Zags lead the country in scoring margin right now, at 25 points per game.
Both the players and Mark Few were happy with their play through this four game stretch.
"They did great. Different styles and different featured players in different games," said Few. "I thought our attention to detail was good. I thought we defended really, really well. We had a couple stretches of games where maybe we didn't do quite everything we were looking for, but by and large to win against the next closest four so resoundingly is a great accomplishment by our guys."
"Almost flawless," said Geno Crandall of his team's performance. "Of course there's going to be flaws here and there, but I think we did a really good job of accepting the challenge the coaches presented to us because they said the same thing, that this stretch was going to be tough and that we were going to have to take our game to another level than we've been playing all year. I think the guys did a good job of that and really proud of the effort and the attention of detail we showed through these last few games."
HOW THEY DID IT ON OFFENSE
In all four games, four Zags scored in double figures, and in the Saint Mary's game five Zags scored in double figures.
Zach Norvell, Brandon Clarke, and Rui Hachimura all scored in double digits for all four games. While Corey Kispert scored twice in double figures and Josh Perkins, Filip Petrusev, and Geno Crandall all scored 10 or above once.
As you would imagine with that many players shooting well, the Zags average shooting percentage was also impressive at 55.2% over those contests.
By the way who leads the nation in shooting percentage right now? You guessed it. Gonzaga, at 52.7%
HOW THEY DID IT ON DEFENSE
During their non-conference games, the Zags defense was a big concern. They've definitely gotten their act together there.
With the exception of USD's Pineiro torching the Zags for 30, Gonzaga kept the other star players they faced well below their average. The Gaels' Jordan Ford averages 21.6 points per game, he had 8 against Gonzaga. BYU's Yoeli Childs averages 21 points per game, he had 12 against GU.
Just as well as Gonzaga shot on offense, they also limited their opponents' shooting percentages on defense. Over those four games, Gonzaga's opponents shot an average 38.8% from the field, which ironically is the exact percentage Gonzaga is averaging holding their opponents to overall this season. That ranks 11th in the NCAA..