Gonzaga was dealt a blow to the early part of its WCC conference slate as junior guard Gary Bell Jr. was ruled out after breaking his right hand, according to head coach Mark Few on his radio program.
According to a report from The Spokesman-Review‘s Jim Meehan, Bell saw a hand specialist on Monday after the guard’s hand began to swell up following Saturday’s win over Santa Clara in which the junior guard was limited to only 16 minutes of play.
Bell is averaging 12.7 points, 3.2 rebounds and two assists while shooting tremendous percentages (50 FG/82 FT/47 3FG) across the board for the No. 24 Zags, and they are sure to feel his loss on both ends of the floor.
Gonzaga is also dealing with injuries to its other two leading scorers, as guard Kevin Pangos has been dealing with a toe injury for a month or so, and forward Sam Dower Jr. deals with a lower back injury. Dower missed the Santa Clara game and it is uncertain whether he’ll play against San Francisco on Monday night.
UPDATE: According to ESPN’s Jeff Goodman, head coach Mark Few expects Bell to miss 4-6 weeks while Sam Dower is out indefinitely,
Nic Moore scored 18 of his 25 points in the second half and added 11 assists as No. 16 SMU knocked off Gonzaga in Moody Coliseum on Saturday night, 69-60.
The Zags got 20 points and 16 boards from Domantas Sabonis, but Kyle Wiltjer scored just four points and shot 2-for-17 from the floor.
It wasn’t pretty.
And it may have been the end of Gonzaga’s NCAA tournament hopes.
Entering Saturday, the Zags had an RPI in the mid-60s, enough to keep them in the bubble conversation but not enough to make them anything more than a team that will be projected to end up on the cut-line.
The issue is a complete lack of quality wins on their résumé. Gonzaga beat UConn in the Bahamas. That’s a borderline top 50 win. They beat Washington, another borderline top 50 win. Beyond that? They swept Pepperdine, beat Tennessee and own a win over Montana. None of those are top 100 wins, and that’s why the SMU game was such a big deal. The Mustangs are a top 25 team. This was a road game. This win was the kind of thing that the Zags could pin at the top of their profile.
But Wiltjer didn’t show up, the Zags had no answer for Moore and they’ll head back to Spokane needing, in all likelihood, to win the WCC’s automatic bid if they want to dance.
Cal picked up a big win over Oregon State in Haas Pavilion on Saturday night, and the exclamation point was this emphatic dunk from Jaylen Brown: