Twelve different Zags scored in a dominating 102-65 win over the South Dakota Coyotes to give the Gonzaga Bulldogs the best start in school history at 12-0.
The Coyotes hung with the Zags for a few minutes, but things got quickly out of hand and the Zags took a 27 point lead into half. That got extended to a 40 point lead rather quickly, and with it, we got to see some extra minutes from Rui Hachimura and Bryan Alberts.
However, in the spirit of the holidays, and the spirit of being 12-0, I present you the 12 Days of Gonzaga.
- On the first day of Christmas, Gonzaga gave to me: Zach Collins going a perfect 9-for-9 from the floor and showed his athleticism in multiple fashions—especially on the fast break. Collins is one of the better running Gonzaga big men the team has had in a while, and he will cause headaches for opponents in every game.
- On the second day of Christmas, Gonzaga gave to me: finally a game where we hit the defensive glass well. The Zags finished 39 defensive rebounds, despite the fact South Dakota shot just 36 percent from the floor.
- On the third day of Christmas, Gonzaga gave to me: Santa Shem and Helper Rem is literally the greatest thing this program has ever produced. Seeing Przemek Karnowski wearing an ugly Christmas sweater while reading Christmas tales was the greatest thing 2016 has produced.
Santa Shem and his helper Rem are my favorite Christmas characters pic.twitter.com/0F8TOOFOjN— Keith Ybanez (@slipperyky) December 22, 2016
- On the fourth day of Christmas, Gonzaga gave to me: this absolutely destructive Rui Hachimura dunk.
Need a better look? pic.twitter.com/MAmjEqAvSc— Gonzaga Basketball (@ZagMBB) December 22, 2016
- On the fifth day of Christmas, Gonzaga gave to me: an all out three-point assault. The Zags finished the game shooting 12-of-28 from long range. Pretty much every single player that should be shooting was shooting, and even Ryan Edwards go in on the party (although he missed). If Gonzaga is able to consistently be a threat from long range, it really opens up the post game to go to work.
- On the sixth day of Christmas, Gonzaga gave to me: Greg Heister, Richard Fox, and Dan Dickau. It was painful at times, very painful. But there is something about the way these three guys play off each other that just has me cracking up. Fox seems to have the utmost disdain for Heister, and all I can do is just laugh throughout the entire broadcast, in both a good and a bad way. But shout-out to Father Hightower informing the broadcasting crew what a sugarplum is.
- On the seventh day of Christmas, Gonzaga gave to me: 12 different scorers in this game for Gonzaga. The Zags finished with 102 points, but only four players scored in double digits. This team is so well balanced and has so many scoring options that even when the going gets real rough, you know there is offensive potential in players like Alberts and Hachimura, despite the fact they don’t see many minutes.
- On the eighth day of Christmas, Gonzaga gave to me: four blocks from Collins. Coming into the game, Collins had nine blocks in 11 games. Now he has 13 in 12 games. He has the length and the mobility to be a disruptive force down low, and this was one of the first times in the season that he truly showed his defensive potential.
- On the ninth day of Christmas, Gonzaga gave to me: yet another solid game from Silas Melson. Melson finished with eight points and most importantly hit a couple of three pointers. He attempted five this game, which ties his most attempts this season with the Florida game. If Melson can develop a consistent outside shot, he has the potential to be the x-factor for this squad, especially in March. He is a big, hard-nosed guard, and it is great to see him completely buy into his bench role.
- On the tenth day of Christmas, Gonzaga gave to me: nine turnovers. The Zags got way too sloppy against Tennessee with 20 turnovers, a season high. This squad has generally been pretty careful with the ball, but considering previous years where that hasn’t been the case, turnovers can be a touchy issue. It was nice to see the Zags take care of business this time around.
- On the eleventh day of Christmas, Gonzaga gave to me: 13 minutes for Alberts. It was great to see Alberts get some minutes and show that he can still compete. The big issue last season was defensive awareness, and Alberts is still pretty far down the bench, especially considering how many guards this team has. But he still presents a legitimate three-point threat that the team might need to call on later in the season. Kudos to Few for putting him in earlier than he generally does in the season.
- On the twelfth day of Christmas, Gonzaga gave to me: 12-0 record. It is crazy to think that these Gonzaga Bulldogs are off to the best start in school history considering the caliber of squads that have come before them. But fact of the matter is they are, and that is really exciting. It hasn’t exactly been 12 dominating wins along the way, but as the saying goes: a win is a win. This team has done everything it has needed to take care of business, and appears to be fully committed and locked into continuing that trend. It is way too early to even broach the topic of being undefeated, but feel free to buy into all the Final Four hype and what not. This squad is that good.