Nigel Williams-Goss, back after missing a game due to a sprained ankle, scored 19 points and grabbed 11 rebounds to lead No. 1 Gonzaga to a 90-60 victory over Loyola Marymount on Thursday in a West Coast Conference game at Los Angeles. File Photo by Jim Bryant/UPI | License Photo
Nigel Williams-Goss, back after missing a game due to a sprained ankle, scored 19 points and grabbed 11 rebounds to lead No. 1 Gonzaga to a 90-60 victory over Loyola Marymount on Thursday in a West Coast Conference game at Los Angeles.
"He's special," Gonzaga coach Mark Few said of Williams-Goss, who had 10 points and nine rebounds by halftime. "He deserves to be an All-American. He's a leader of a team that's 25-0."
Johnathan Williams added 13 points and freshman reserve forward Killian Tillie scored 11 points, all in the first half, to help the Bulldogs improve to 25-0 overall and 13-0 in the WCC. Jordan Mathews and Zach Collins also each had 11 points for Gonzaga.
Loyola Marymount (11-13, 4-9) shot only 39.3 percent from the field and did not have a scorer in double figures until Steven Haney made a 3-pointer with 12:42 left in regulation. By that time, Gonzaga led 60-43.
Haney finished with 12 points, and Brandon Brown and Buay Tuach each had 11 points for the Lions, who hosted a No. 1 team for the first time at Gersten Pavilion.
"Turnovers did us in again," Lions coach Mike Dunlap said. Loyola Marymount committed 17 turnovers after having 22 in a 93-55 loss to Gonzaga in Spokane, Wash., on Jan. 12. "You can't give a team like Gonzaga more opportunities to score and put you away."
The Bulldogs scored 23 points off the Lions' turnovers. In the last meeting, Gonzaga scored 25 points off the turnovers.
Gonzaga, which shot 54.2 percent from the field, never trailed after scoring seven unanswered points to take a 16-10 lead with 12:32 left in the first half.
The Bulldogs went on a 15-4 run to build their advantage to 39-22 with 4:04 remaining in the first half.
Loyola Marymount did not get closer than 17 points in the second half after trailing 50-28 at halftime.
Gonzaga outrebounded Loyola Marymount 38-27 and outscored the Lions 42-24 in points in the paint.
"We knew it was going to be physical tonight," Few said. "We shot free throws great. That's how we got a jump on them."
Gonzaga made 34 of 44 free throw attempts while Loyola Marymount was only 4 of 8. Williams-Goss made 9 of 10 free-throw attempts, Williams was 7 of 8, and Tillie and Mathews were each 4 of 4.
The Bulldogs' victory sets up an anticipated game at No. 20 Saint Mary's (22-2, 12-1) on Saturday night. Gonzaga beat the Gaels 79-56 at Spokane, Wash., on Jan. 14.
"It's going to be a fantastic atmosphere," Few said of the game at Moraga, Calif. "They are a great team. Their efficiency is through the roof. We're going to have to play our best game of the year to have a chance to win that game. I know our guys will be excited."
Saint Mary's has won seven consecutive games since losing to Gonzaga. The Gaels defeated visiting Portland 51-41 on Thursday night.
Loyola Marymount next hosts Portland on Saturday.
-- Gonzaga has won 16 straight games against Loyola Marymount and 21 of the past 22 meetings. The Bulldogs have won seven straight at Loyola Marymount.
-- The Lions have used 11 different starting lineups. They used all 12 players on their roster for the fourth game in a row.
-- Entering Thursday, Gonzaga was one of six teams in the country that were undefeated in conference play. Three other teams at the NCAA level (two in Division II, one in Division III) are also undefeated, but none of those teams had 24 wins like the Bulldogs.
-- Loyola Marymount is 4-15 in its past 19 games against ranked opponents.
-- The Lions have previously hosted the nation's top team in 1956 and 1978, before Gersten Pavilion was built.