Looking at Gonzaga’s Starters + Notes

By Chris Jackson               Sports Editor

Gonzaga’s projected starters:

Nigel Williams-Goss (Guard): The transfer from Washington is commanding a Gonzaga offense at point guard, helping the team rank, averaging a team-high 16.7 points and 4.7 assists per game. He was named the All-WCC Player of the Year honor, alongside being a finalist for the Naismith Trophy, Oscar Robertson Trophy and the Wooden Award. Williams-Goss is also nearly automatic at the free throw line, connecting on 90 percent of his attempts this season. 

Jordan Matthews (Guard): Similar to Williams-Goss, Matthews transferred from a Pac-12 program (Cal) and is a key contributor in the starting rotation, especially offensively. Matthews has found success from long range during his college career, hitting 41 percent of his attempts. He is one of five players on the roster to average double-digit scoring totals.

Josh Perkins (Guard): The sophomore guard is struggling over the past five games, combining for 18 points, including a pair of scoreless outings. During that stretch, he is shooting 4-for-16, alongside a 2-for-7 mark from the free throw line. He is averaging 8.3 points per game this season.

Johnathan Williams (Forward): Williams is one of the many talented players in the frontcourt, posting 10.7 points per game and a 39 percent clip from 3-point range. He totaled 14 rebounds in the first round victory over South Dakota State. Williams was also named a First Team All-WCC selection.

Przemek Karnowski (Center): Simply put, Karnowski is a mammoth inside. He’s listed at 7-foot-1 and 300 pounds, consistently putting up big numbers against opposing big men. Karnowski is averaging 12 points and six rebounds, earning a First Team All-WCC selection. His 134 career victories are the most of any player in NCAA history.

Game Notes

  • Gonzaga is the No. 1 seed in the region, entering with a 34-1 overall record
  • The Zags also went 17-1 in the West Coast Conference, with their only loss coming to BYU in the regular season finale. They beat St. Mary’s in the conference championship, hoisting a fifth straight WCC Tournament crown
  • Gonzaga defeated No. 16 South Dakota State in the first round and No. 8 seed Northwestern in the Round of 32
  • The last time these two faced in the postseason was in 2012, when Gonzaga trounced the Mountaineers, 77-54, in the first round of the NCAA Tournament in Pittsburgh
  • Gonzaga advanced to the Sweet 16 last year and the Elite Eight in 2015
  • Gonzaga is 5-0 against ranked opponents, highlighted by a victory over Arizona — minus Parker Jackson-Cartwright and Allonzo Trier — back on Dec. 3
  • Gonzaga is 14th nationally in scoring, recording just below 84 points per game
  • Gonzaga enters with the nation’s No. 5 scoring defense, surrendering 61.1 points per contest
  • Gonzaga is a No. 1 seed for the second time in program history and is making its 19th straight NCAA Tournament appearance
  • Gonzaga freshman Zach Collins, who is listed at 7-feet tall, is projected as the 14th overall pick in the NBA Draft by NBADraft.net. He earned a Second Team All-WCC selection. His 65.2 percent mark shooting is tops in the conference. In his first ever trip to the NCAA Tournament, Collins totaled seven blocks during last weekend’s two games.
  • Gonzaga head coach Mark Few notched his 500th career win last Saturday
  • West Virginia is in the Sweet 16 for the 10th time in program history and the second time in the last three years
  • A win would put WVU in the Elite Eight for the fourth in school history and the first time since 2010
  • The winner faces either Arizona or Xavier in the Elite Eight on Saturday
  • WVU is 9-9 all-time in California, winning four straight games in the state
  • In its last 11 NCAA Tournament appearances, WVU has reached the Sweet 16 seven times
  • Opponents turn the ball over on 27 percent of their possessions against West Virginia, the most in the country
  • WVU has scored a school-record 2,956 points this season
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