- Associated Press - Saturday, December 3, 2016

LOS ANGELES (AP) - Gonzaga was in attack mode from the opening tip , eager to assert itself against an Arizona team that had owned the rivalry in recent years.

Przemek Karnowski scored 18 points and the eighth-ranked Zags beat No. 16 Arizona 69-62 on Saturday in the inaugural Hoophall LA doubleheader at Staples Center.

Josh Perkins added 16 points for the Zags (8-0), who beat the Wildcats (6-2) for the first time since 2011 after losing six of the previous seven matchups.

“It’s my first win against Arizona in five years, happy about that,” said Karnowski, a senior from Poland.

Five of the previous meetings were decided by five points or less.

“We showed some toughness,” Zags coach Mark Few said. “In this series with these guys it seems like we’ve led for 75, 76 of the prior 80 minutes and just didn’t close it out.”

Arizona freshman Rawle Alkins scored 16 points and 7-foot freshman Lauri Markkanen had 14 points and eight rebounds. Dusan Ristic, a fellow 7-footer, added 12 points and seven rebounds. Freshman Kobi Simmons, who was averaging 13.0 points, shot 1 of 9 and finished with two points.

“We never give up,” Alkins said. “Playing hard at both ends of the floor. Rebounding. We’re supposed to be rebounding every second on offense.”

Karnowski and Perkins combined to score Gonzaga’s first 17 points of the second half, extending its lead to 53-40.

Gonzaga led by 13 for much of the second half and it didn’t get close until the final 6:45 when the Zags couldn’t make free throws. They missed eight of their last 14.

The Wildcats got to 63-58 on a basket by Chance Comanche before Nigel Williams-Goss hit a floater for the Zags, their last basket of the game with 1:10 to play.


With No. 1 Kentucky, No. 6 Virginia and No. 7 Xavier all losing on Saturday, the Zags figure to move up in next week’s rankings. They haven’t been as high as seventh since finishing 2014-15 in that spot. They’re 8-0 for the first time since 2012-13 and remain one of four West Coast teams that are undefeated.


The doubleheader attracted Hall of Famers Elgin Baylor, Spencer Haywood, Bernard King, Gary Payton, Ralph Sampson and Jamaal Wilkes, who were introduced at halftime.

The Laker Girls performed during the game, although Arizona brought its cheerleaders.

The game, associated with the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame in Springfield, Massachusetts, was played on the Lakers court.


The Wildcats played without guard Parker Jackson-Cartwright, a junior from Los Angeles who sustained a high ankle spain on Wednesday against Texas Southern. He was averaging 8.2 points and 5.3 assists.

“It really affects everything and everybody,” Miller said. “Our zone offense, our out of bounds offense. Defensively it really affects us because Keanu Pinder has never guarded a perimeter player.”


Arizona: The Wildcats played their fourth game of the season on a neutral court. … Miller’s streak of victories against ranked non-conference opponents ended at seven. The average margin of victory in those games was three points. … Kadeem Allen, held scoreless in last year’s win at Gonzaga, finished with 10 points before fouling out. … Markkanen has scored in double figures in all eight games.

Gonzaga: Two of the Zags’ previous four 7-0 starts were followed by losses to Arizona. … They were just 7 of 21 from 3-point range after making 25 of 57 from long-range in their previous wins over Iowa State and Mississippi Valley State.


Arizona: The Wildcats shot 36 percent in the first half when they had nine turnovers. They struggled to get untracked and only once reduced their deficit to single digits in the half. They shot 39 percent for the game and finished with 12 turnovers.

Gonzaga: The Zags raced out to a 23-9 lead to start the game. They hit 3-pointers on their first two possessions, causing Arizona to call time out. In all, the Zags made five of their six 3-point attempts in the half during their game-opening run. They had five steals and five blocked shots in the half, with Killian Tillie and Williams-Goss coming up with two big ones.


Arizona: Hosts UC Irvine on Tuesday.

Gonzaga: Hosts Washington on Wednesday, the Zags’ second straight Pac-12 opponent.


More AP college basketball: www.collegebasketball.ap.org and https://twitter.com/AP_Top25.

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