Even though Gonzaga is the center of attention in the college basketball world at the moment, all the press and discussion seems to fade from thought when this team laces it up. They simply play a game, and do so at an extremely high level. Today that was the case as they just destroyed Portland by a score of 81-52. The lowly Pilots were looking to spoil the Zags' dream season but it was pretty evident after several minutes of play that this was going to be a game with little resistance. More than anything, today's game wasn't about playing Portland, it was about paying homage to three excellent seniors that have given so much to the university.
Senior forward led the way for the Bulldogs as he scored 20 points and pulled down 9 boards. He was very aggressive throughout the game and constantly found himself in good position near the basket for a lob pass from one of GU's guards. Kelly Olynyk joined Harris in his domination of the Pilots - the junior had a double double with 15 points and 11 rebounds. Olynyk was, as usual, wildly efficient as he went 7-8 from the floor. He finishes the regular season shooting a ridiculous 66% from the floor and averaged 18 points per contest. Many will wonder if today's game was Kelly's last in the Kennel. We won't know the answer to that question for some time but, if it was, he gave the Bulldogs and Mark Few everything he had this year.
For as rough as a night as they had against BYU, the entire team elevated their play today against Portland. While some of it can be attributed to the level of competition and the fact that it was on their home floor but the Zags were as hot as they have been all season in the first half. They shot somewhere in the ballpark of 60% in the first half and were hitting from deep. Sophomore guard Gary Bell drilled 4 of his 7 three point attempts and finished the game with 14 points.
Now, get ready for some endless (and largely pointless) discussion. "Do they deserve to be No. 1" and "Can they handle the pressure of being No. 1" and other drivel are sure to fill our heads all the way up until the tournament as long as the Bulldogs continue taking care of business and win the WCC Tournament. A No. 1 seed is what matters and that is well within reach after some of the events this week. Indiana appears to be locked in pending a late season meltdown and either Duke or Miami are likely to get one should they run the table. Gonzaga is sitting pretty but the committee has proven to be fickle before.
Either way, this is a very special team and it was led all year by a very special group of seniors. The contributions that Elias Harris, Mike Hart, and Guy Landry Edi have made during their careers truly can't be measured. Here is to hoping that we get to see them play all the way through April.