- Associated Press - Thursday, December 1, 2016

SPOKANE, Wash. (AP) - Gonzaga held a significant size advantage over Mississippi Valley State but the big difference was on the perimeter.

The eighth-ranked Bulldogs hit 12 3-pointers, nine in the first half, and they remained unbeaten with a 97-63 victory over the winless Delta Devils on Thursday night.

“We kept (Przemek Karnowski) from getting the ball,” Mississippi Valley State coach Andre Payne said of Gonzaga’s best big man. “We forced them into the game we wanted.”

Josh Perkins and Silas Melson had 15 points apiece for Gonzaga.

All of Perkins’ points came on five first-half 3s. Melson had eight points in the second half, finished 5 of 8 from the field and grabbed four rebounds.

“I thought once the first 5 minutes went by we settled in,” Gonzaga coach Mark Few said.

Nigel Williams-Goss chipped in 13 points, five assists and three steals for the Bulldogs.

The Delta Devils had an energetic start, but the Bulldog’s nine first-half 3s built a 21-point halftime lead.

“If people are making 3s like that, our pressure becomes an early void, because that’s what we wanted them to do,” Payne said. “They just happened to be making a lot of 3s.”

MVSU went up by one in the early minutes, then the barrage of 3s began. Two 3-pointers by Williams-Goss and six points from Jordan Mathews helped the Bulldogs go up five points just 4 minutes into the game.

Reserve freshman center Zach Collins had two early dunks, both of which he flushed while being fouled. Collins finished with 13 points and nine boards for the Bulldogs.

The Zags went an 11-2 run that included three 3s from Perkins. The redshirt sophomore hit his fourth and fifth 3 shortly thereafter, which pushed the lead to 20.

Rashaan Surles had 13 points for the Delta Devils.


Mississippi Valley State: Much of the Delta Devils’ early woes can certainly be attributed to the four Top 25 teams they have faced - all on the road.

Gonzaga: In order to sweep the remainder of its nonconference schedule, it largely hinges on the play of Williams-Goss. The transfer guard picked up Advocate Invitational MVP honors and WCC Player of the Week honors and is averaging a steady 12.8 points, 5.8 rebounds and 4.8 assists per game while shooting 45 percent from 3 and 94.7 percent from the line.


Gonzaga: The Zags jumped three spots to No. 8 after winning the Advocare Invitational and beating a winless team will likely have no effect. Where GU could get hurt is in the RPI, where the Zags are No. 1 and MVSU is slotted at No. 320. Now the season’s biggest early test lies ahead in Arizona, which the Bulldogs hold a 1-7 record against. A win Saturday would give Gonzaga its second over a ranked team.


The Zags’ most recent hike in the polls - from No. 11 to No. 8 - marks the program’s fifth 6-0 start since the 1958-59 season. Of the four 7-0 starts in program history, Gonzaga has followed two of those with losses to Arizona - the most recent example of that coming in 2014-15, a 66-63 Arizona win in overtime.


Freshman Rui Hachimura scored a season-high 10 points in 13 minutes. The Japan native has seen limited action this season, but has impressed Few with his early development.

“He’s got such a good feel for the game and you can throw him into a situation like that,” Few said. “He’s coming along. He’s very much a work in progress, but I’m happy where he’s at.”


Mississippi Valley State gets a two-week break before returning to play at Seattle University on Dec. 15 and Grand Canyon on Dec. 17. The Delta Devils play their fifth ranked opponent, No. 19 Iowa State on Dec. 20.

Gonzaga faces No. 16 Arizona at Staples Center on Saturday, then returns home to play in-state Pac-12 opponent Washington on Dec. 7.

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