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Gonzaga Muscles Past Auburn In 90-67 Win

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The Zags justified their No. 1 ranking this week.

Fort Myers Tip-Off Photo by Douglas P. DeFelice/Getty Images

The Gonzaga juggernaut marches on. Maybe Bill Self was on to something when he compared the Zags to the great Kentucky squads of 2012 and 2015?

The Zags picked up where they left off yesterday against Kansas by dismantling another Power 5 team. Auburn is an incredibly young squad that had to replace a significant amount of talent, and is now without five-star freshman Sharife Cooper who looks like he may never suit up for the Tigers. The Tigers should improve as the season moves along, but that is of little consolation today as they simply lacked the firepower to keep pace with Gonzaga.

The triumvirate of Corey Kispert, Drew Timme, and Jalen Suggs will get the spotlight because of their numbers and highlights, but make no mistake, the Zags are not a three-man show. The depth of talent that Mark Few has at his disposal is unmatched, and unselfish team basketball is in the DNA of this program.

Timme posted a Domantas Sabonis-esque double-double with 28 points (11-16 FG) and 10 rebounds. Kispert wasn’t too far behind with 25 points, 6 rebounds, and 2 steals while Suggs had a very spectacular 12 points and 6 assists. But the strength of Gonzaga is the group, and this group will be a difficult team to beat this season.

In both games that Gonzaga played in Fort Myers, they appear to have stunned their opponents with their speed and athleticism. Auburn seemed to be caught flat-footed as Gonzaga raced up and down the floor, blitzing the passing lanes and getting to the basket early and often. Gonzaga plays in a mid-major conference, but does not have mid-major athletes.

The lead-up to this game was more anxiety-inducing than any minute of the actual contest. Jim Meehan of the Spokesman-Review broke that two Gonzaga players had tested positive for COVID-19 after yesterday’s game against Kansas, which was subsequently clarified as two young role players (Dominick Harris and Julian Strawther were not on the bench for this game) were isolating in their hotel room in accordance with COVID protocols and guidelines from “Fort Myers Health Officials”...

Subsequent reports from Aaron Torres of Fox Sports indicated that each of the four teams participating in the Fort Myers Tip-Off contractually agreed to continue play even in the event of 1-2 positive tests. I’m curious to know how many positive tests would have been needed to cancel the event, but clearly that threshold was not reached.

Whether the game should have been played or not is now a moot point since the game obviously happened and the Zags have a 2-0 record to show for it. Whether there will be a greater price to pay for that record in the next few days remains to be seen.