In a perfect narrative, the first game in Gonzaga and Washington’s renewed rivalry would have gone down to the wire and GU’s Nigel Williams-Goss, who transferred from Washington, would have been the hero.
But things rarely fit into the perfect mold, and this game was no different.
When the Zags and UW met for the first time in 1910, the Zags won 23-14. On Wednesday, they enjoyed the same result, just with a vastly different score as GU demolished UW 98-71, in a lopsided game uncharacteristic of a rivalry. The Zags dominated the Huskies in nearly every category and ran away with the blowout.
Here are three takeaways:
Transfers taking charge
Williams-Goss may not have been the lone hero of the game, but the redshirt junior wasn’t shy about getting in on the action, and he certainly made an impact. He and fellow transfers, Jonathan Williams and Jordan Mathews led the way for the Zags. Williams-Goss was efficient scoring, going 9-13 and leading the Zags with 23 points on the game. He also served as GU’s floor leader, dishing out five assists.
Williams got the Zags going, scoring their first seven points, on two and-ones—one with a missed free throw—and an alley-oop dunk. From there he handed off the scoring to Mathews, who went on a 12-point binge in the first eight minutes. Williams finished with nine points and Mathews had 14.
The trio hasn’t wasted anytime sliding into big roles for the Zags, averaging a combined 31.6 points to start the season.
GU outrebounded 54-42
GU dominated Washington in nearly every category, except rebounds. GU was outrebounded 54-42 and the Huskies grabbed 29 offensive rebounds to GU’s 11. The disparity didn’t hurt the Zags though, as nearly everything else went right for them and wrong for UW. GU shot 45.9 percent from the field and held UW to 30.4 percent shooting. The Zags were also 8-16 from the 3-point line and the Huskies made just five 3s on 25 percent shooting. Still, a rebounding margin like this one will hurt the Zags in tight games, so it certainly gives head coach Mark Few something for his team to work on.
Karnowski nearing full health
When Przemek Karnowski went down with a back injury five games into last season the Zags felt his loss. Now that he is nearing full health the fifth-year senior looks close to peak form. Few said prior to the season that spectators should be patient with Karnowski as he continued the healing process, and his minutes were limited in the first few games. Against UW he played 23 minutes, scored 17 points, grabbed eight rebounds and dished out three assists. Plus, he looks like the player GU lost at the beginning of last year, which bodes well for the Zags going forward.