Streaking Gonzaga rises to No. 1 in Associated Press poll

With 27 wins and only two losses, the Gonzaga Bulldogs on Monday moved up to No. 1 in the Associated Press Top 25 college basketball poll.

Both Gonzaga and No. 2 Virginia climbed one spot after previously top-ranked Duke lost at home last Wednesday to North Carolina.

Gonzaga, from the West Coast Conference, has built the nation’s longest winning streak at 18 games.

All of the victories in the streak have come by double-figure scoring margins.

Deep and talented, the Bulldogs beat Pepperdine by 28 points and BYU by 34 at home last week.

Their streak notwithstanding, the Bulldogs haven’t been tested by many of the NCAA powerhouses this season, which will bring their ranking into question in some quarters.

They won against Duke but lost back-to-back games against Tennessee and North Carolina in non-conference.

Since then, they have stormed to a 14-0 record in the WCC and have boosted their nation-leading scoring average to 90.7 points per game.

Virginia, by contrast, plays at a much slower pace and leads the nation defensively by holding opponents to 54.5 points.

After a 64-52 victory at Louisville, the Cavaliers improved to 8-2 against ranked opponents.

Virginia, third-ranked Duke and No. 5 North Carolina are all tied for first place in the ACC standings.

Despite the loss to the Tar Heels, the Blue Devils dropped only two spots to third in the poll on the heels of their 75-65 road victory Saturday at Syracuse.

Led by RJ Barrett and his 30 points and seven assists, Duke registered the win in its first game without injured star Zion Williamson.

Williamson, the projected No. 1 pick in the NBA Draft, was hurt in the first minute against the Tar Heels.

The American Athletic Conference-leading Houston Cougars, 26-1 on the season after a 71-59 home victory over South Florida, moved up one spot in the poll to eighth.

The Cougars have won 11 in a row, and they lead the nation in field goal percentage defense (36.2). The Cougars are fifth in points allowed (60.3).

AP Top 25
1. Gonzaga 27-2 West Coast
2. Virginia 24-2 ACC
3. Duke 24-3 ACC
4. Kentucky 23-4 SEC
5. North Carolina 22-5 ACC
6. Michigan State 23-5 Big Ten
7. Tennessee 24-3 SEC
8. Houston 26-1 American
9. Michigan 24-4 Big Ten
10. Marquette 23-4 Big East
11. Texas Tech 22-5 Big 12
12. Nevada 25-2 Mountain West
13. LSU 22-5 SEC
14. Purdue 22-7 Big Ten
15. Kansas 20-7 Big 12
16. Kansas State 21-6 Big 12
17. Maryland 21-7 ACC
18. Florida State 21-6 ACC
19. Wisconsin 19-8
20. Virginia Tech 21-6
21. Buffalo 24-3
22. Iowa 21-6
23. Cincinnati 23-4
24. Wofford 24-4
25. Washington 22-5

No. 3 Gonzaga wallops Texas A&M, 94-71

Third-ranked Gonzaga allowed Texas A&M to stay in the game for the first 14 minutes and then rolled to an easy 94-71 victory Thursday night in front of a rowdy crowd at the McCarthey Center in Spokane, Washington.

In the first home game for Gonzaga against a team from the Southeastern Conference, the Bulldogs overwhelmed the Aggies by shooting 49.2 percent from the field while forcing 14 turnovers and blocking 10 shots.

Guard Zach Norvell scored 22 points to lead Gonzaga, a team that reached the NCAA title game in 2017 and the round of 16 last season. Forward Rui Hachimura produced 18 points and seven rebounds.

Savion Flagg scored 18 and T.J. Starks 16 for A&M.

Both teams entered the game with key players sidelined. Forward Killian Tillie is out for Gonzaga with a leg injury. Guard Admon Gilder did not make the trip for A&M because of unspecified health issues.

Gilder out indefinitely

A&M senior guard Admon Gilder will be out indefinitely due to health issues, according to a story posted on texags.com.

Gilder will remain in Texas for further evaluation while the Aggies travel to Washington and Vancouver in the coming week.

“I’m grateful for our medical team at Texas A&M. They are working diligently to get Admon back to the court as soon as possible, but his overall well-being is our priority,” head coach Billy Kennedy said.

Gilder said he is disappointed that he can’t be with the team this week.

“I understand that my health is important and that resolving this successfully will allow me to continue to pursue basketball for years to come,” he said. “I will overcome with God’s help, for I can do all things through Christ, who strengthens me.”