By Jeff Goodman
Gonzaga still has a shot to extend The Streak.
After last night's shocking loss by Saint Mary's at home against Loyola Marymount, the 'Zags can move within a half-game of the Gaels with a road victory tonight against a Santa Clara team that is winless in WCC play.
Just a week ago, it seemed far-fetched to think Mark Few could run the program's streak of consecutive WCC regular-season titles to a dozen. Then the Zags took care of Saint Mary's in Spokane -- and the Gaels lost at LMU and also may have lost key starter Stephen Holt, who suffered a knee injury and won't play against Murray State this weekend.
As I noted last week on my trip out to Spokane, this is a Gonzaga team that has found a way to remain under the radar despite being 20-4 overall (it's the 15th consecutive season the Zags have won at least 20). Maybe it was the losses to Michigan State and Illinois -- or the league setbacks at Saint Mary's and BYU (two difficult places to play). Or maybe it was the fact that the Gaels were dominating the WCC and unbeaten at 11-0 until last week.
But Gonzaga's freshmen guards -- Kevin Pangos and Gary Bell -- have matured and the Zags have a couple of experienced guys up front in Robert Sacre and Elias Harris that are capable of playing with just about anyone. Pangos averaged 24 points, 5.5 assists and didn't turn the ball over at all in the last two wins against Saint Mary's and LMU.
The Zags, with a strong finish in the final five regular-season games, can make it 12 consecutive seasons.
Just one shy of UCLA's record of 13 straight league crowns back in the glory days from 1967-79.