Corey Kispert led the way for the undefeated Bulldogs in his final game in The Kennel.
24 games. 24 wins. It was an imperfect year for many, but not for the Gonzaga Bulldogs, who are the lone team in college basketball without a blemish.
In an unprecedented season played during a pandemic that has necessitated flexibility, diligence, and unceasing focus during last minute scheduling changes, COVID protocols, and unnatural adjustments to how the team spends time together, Gonzaga has proven to be the team that has handled chaos better than the rest.
While the final scoreline may look like it was simply another comfortable WCC win for the Zags, the Lions certainly came to play in their first look against Gonzaga this season. Despite a new coach for LMU this season and the challenges of losing several games and significant practice time due to COVID, the Lions, like many of their WCC cohorts, mustered one of their finer performances of the season in the hopes of an upset bid.
It is an understood truth amongst Gonzaga players that they will get every WCC team’s best game and best shot. That’s the reality when you’ve been the conference’s top dog for the last 20 years. So even though the WCC’s members may not garner the respect of the nation, save for maybe BYU and Saint Mary’s, the Zags know that the version of LMU, Santa Clara or Pepperdine that they see is not the same edition that their conference colleagues will see.
Even so, in every single game this season both inside and outside the conference, Gonzaga has taken every opponent’s best shot and proven to be the better team. It wasn’t always pretty, though most of it was truly sublime if we’re being honest. Look no further than the fact that 23 of Gonzaga’s 24 wins came by double digits—a truly absurd statistical achievement.
It was not the Senior Night atmosphere that they deserved, but the Zags were at least fortunate to close out their regular season with close family members in the building to share in their success.
In his final game inside The Kennel, Corey Kispert signed off with another excellent performance to the tune of 24 points (a truly fitting scoring output in his final home game), 5 rebounds, and 2 steals. It was his night, and deservedly so. In true Gonzaga fashion, he didn’t do it alone as Drew Timme (16 points, 7 rebounds, 4 assists), Jalen Suggs (12 points, 7 assists, 2 steals), Joel Ayayi (13 points, 3 assists), and Anton Watson (11 points) all scored in double figures to help add another W to the win column.
With the win, Gonzaga has taken care of every test presented during the regular season and hasn’t tasted defeated in over a year. But this team has only one goal for this season and that’s to win a national championship. There is still work to be done.