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Dayton’s Obi Toppin only unanimous selection to AP All-America team

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Dayton star Obi Toppin is the lone unanimous first-team choice to The Associated Press college basketball All-America team announced Friday.

He was joined on the first team by Iowa’s Luka Garza, Marquette’s Markus Howard, Seton Hall’s Myles Powell and Oregon’s Payton Pritchard.

Toppin received first-team votes from the entire 65-person media panel and is Dayton’s first first-team AP All-American after averaging 20.0 points and 7.5 rebounds and shooting 63.3% in a breakout season that was canceled by the coronavirus pandemic. The 6-foot-9 sophomore helped the third-ranked Flyers match the program’s highest ranking in the final AP Top 25.

MORE: NBC SPORTS ALL-AMERICAN TEAMS

Garza, a junior forward, averaged 23.9 points and 9.8 rebounds per game to earn 63 first-team votes. Howard led the nation with 27.8 points per game, and Powell, a fellow senior, was 17th at 21.0 points.

Pritchard became the fourth Pac-12 player to lead the conference in scoring (20.5 PPG) and assists (5.5 APG). The senior guard is the first first-team AP All-American from Oregon.

AP All-America

First team

Obi Toppin, Dayton
Luka Garza, Iowa
Markus Howard, Marquette
Myles Powell, Seton Hall
Payton Pritchard, Oregon

Second team

Devon Dotson, Kansas
Udoka Azubuike, Kansas
Malachi Flynn, San Diego State
Cassius Winston, Michigan State
Vernon Carey Jr., Duke

Third team

Filip Petrusev, Gonzaga
Jordan Nwora, Louisville
Jared Butler, Baylor
Tre Jones, Duke
Jalen Smith, Maryland

Honorable mention (at least 10 points): Daniel Oturu, Minnesota; Immanuel Quickley, Kentucky; Marcus Zegarowski, Creighton; Saddiq Bey, Villanova; Mason Jones, Arkansas

Filip Petrusev, No. 1 Gonzaga race past San Diego 94-50

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SAN DIEGO — Joel Ayayi scored 20 points, Filip Petrusev had 17 and top-ranked Gonzaga sprinted past San Diego 94-50 Thursday night for a laugher after playing two close West Coast Conference games.

Admon Gilder scored 12 points and Corey Kispert had 10 for Gonzaga (17-1, 3-0), which won its ninth straight game since its only loss, to Michigan on Nov. 29 in the Battle 4 Atlantis in the Bahamas. Killian Tillie had 10 rebounds.

The Zags continued to dominate the series against the Toreros (7-11, 0-3), beating them for the 11th straight time, the 22nd time in the last 23 games and for the 44th time in 47.

Braun Hartfield, Yauhen Massalski and Jared Rodriguez scored nine apiece for USD.

The Bulldogs had to come back in both of their previous WCC games, an 85-72 win at Portland in which they trailed at halftime, followed by a 75-70 home win against Pepperdine.

But they toyed with the Toreros, whose only highlight was taking a 1-0 lead when Hartfield made the second of two free throws 42 seconds in.

After that it was all Gonzaga. The Bulldogs simply overwhelmed the smaller, slower Toreros in making slam dunks, 3-pointers and fast-break layups to take a 53-16 halftime lead.

Petrusev had 15 points in the first half, including a hook shot and a three-point play for the Bulldogs’ first points. They grabbed leads of 10-3 and 18-5, both of which forced USD coach Sam Scholl to call timeouts. Gonzaga continued to pour it on, taking leads of 27-6 and 40-14.

Even the Zags’ misses were spectacular. Kispert fed Tillie as he swooped in for a dunk, but the ball bounced off the rim.

The next time down the floor, Kispert hit a 3-pointer. Later in the half, Ryan Woolridge fed Anton Watson and his dunk attempt bounced off the rim.

A few minutes later, Petrusev’s bank shot gave the Zags the 40-14 lead.

Woolridge made a pretty stutter-step layup and Kispert closed the half with a 3-pointer just before the buzzer.

The highlights continued in the second half. Petrusev had a monster slam dunk a minute in and then drained a 3-pointer from in front of the Zags’ bench for a 63-25 lead with 13:23 to go. He smiled, turned and pointed to the bench, and his teammates pointed back.

The Bulldogs came in with six players averaging double figures in scoring and leading the nation in offense at 88.3 points per game.

BIG PICTURE

Gonzaga: The Zags have a remarkable number of streaks going. They won their 30th straight regular-season conference game and their 34th straight conference road game. They were coming off their 32nd consecutive home win.

USD: The Toreros fell to 0-3 vs. No. 1-ranked teams. They lost 96-38 at home to Gonzaga on Feb. 23, 2017, and 101-71 to Kansas on Dec. 9, 1995, at the San Diego Sports Arena.

UP NEXT

Gonzaga heads up the freeway to play at Loyola Marymount on Saturday afternoon.

USD hosts Pepperdine on Saturday night.

No. 2 Gonzaga leaves North Carolina blue after 94-81 Victory

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SPOKANE, Wash. — Corey Kispert scored 26 points, Filip Petrusev added 20 and No. 2 Gonzaga rolled past North Carolina 94-81 on Wednesday night, handing the Tar Heels their fourth straight loss.

One of the most highly anticipated games ever inside Gonzaga’s gym was a party for most of the night for the home team. The Bulldogs (12-1) won their fourth straight since suffering their only loss of the season against Michigan in the final of the Battle 4 Atlantis.

More importantly, the Zags finished off an unbeaten stretch of three marquee games at Washington, at Arizona and against the Tar Heels.

Garrison Brooks led North Carolina (6-5) with 16 points, but the Tar Heels have dropped four straight for the first time since the 2009-10 season. It’s been a brutal stretch for the Tar Heels with the Zags the fifth opponent ranked in the top 10 in North Carolina’s past six games.

Then there’s the injuries. North Carolina learned Monday it would be without star point guard Cole Anthony for four-to-six weeks following surgery to repair a partially torn meniscus in his right knee. Anthony sat during Sunday’s loss to Wofford as did guard Leaky Black. Black returned Wednesday and had six points in nine minutes.

North Carolina also played the second half without Brandon Robinson, who was feeling ill. He played 16 minutes of the first half and didn’t score.

Having Anthony and a completely healthy roster might not have mattered.

Kispert and the Zags were ready from the start to put on a show for maybe the toughest ticket in school history. Kispert was nearly perfect in the first half, hitting 6 of 8 shots including a trio of 3-pointers. It was his fourth straight game in double-figures after being quieted by Michigan.

Kispert made 10 of 12 shots overall, at one point during the second half turning with his hands out and a slight shrug after knocking down his fifth 3-pointer.

Gonzaga shot 59% and five players in double figures. Joel Ayayi, Ryan Woolridge and Admon Gilder all finished with 11 points.

NO ANTHONY

While Anthony didn’t play in the loss to Wofford, the Tar Heels now know they need to make up for his scoring for at least a month. Anthony is averaging 19.1 points to rank second nationally among freshmen and has been the Tar Heels’ best player at creating his own shot. He led the team in scoring in six of his nine games this season, starting when he had 34 points against Notre Dame for the most points ever by an Atlantic Coast Conference freshman in his first game.

BIG PICTURE

North Carolina: In an effort to make up for the loss of Anthony, Williams went deep into his bench. North Carolina played 11 players in the first half alone trying to overcome foul trouble and find a grouping that could add some punch on the offensive end.

Gonzaga: The Zags are 6-4 in their past 10 games against ACC teams. Their last three wins over ACC foes are Duke, Florida State and now North Carolina.

UP NEXT

North Carolina: Face UCLA on Saturday in Las Vegas.

Gonzaga: Host Eastern Washington on Saturday.

Corey Kispert leads No. 9 Gonzaga over Texas Southern 101-62

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SPOKANE, Wash. — Corey Kispert scored 17 points, Joel Ayayi added 16 and No. 9 Gonzaga beat Texas Southern 101-62 on Wednesday night, rebounding from a loss to Michigan in the Battle 4 Atlantis title game.

Seven players scored in double figures for Gonzaga (9-1). The Zags have 28 consecutive home wins, second-longest streak in the nation after Tennessee’s 30.

Tyrik Armstrong scored 15 points for Texas Southern (2-6), which is playing a difficult nonconference schedule. Yahuza Ross added nine.

Gonzaga made 12 of its first 15 shots to jump to a 25-15 lead.

Texas Southern scored three straight baskets to get to 25-21.

But Gonzaga replied with a 28-9 run to push its lead to 53-30 at halftime.

Gonzaga shot 61% in the first half, while the Tigers shot just 37.8% and made just one of 11 from 3-point range.

Gonzaga scored the first nine points of the second half for a 62-30 lead.

Kispert’s 3-pointer gave Gonzaga an 82-46 lead with just under eight minutes left in the game.

BIG PICTURE

Texas Southern: The Tigers were picked to finish second in the Southwestern Athletic Conference. Their defense came in yielding 79.9 points per game. They have lost to Gonzaga each of the previous two years.

Gonzaga: The Bulldogs have five players banged up, and were seeking to rebound from an 82-64 loss to Michigan last Friday that was their most lopsided since 2014. They are 14-0 all-time against SWAC teams.

UP NEXT

Texas Southern hosts Concordia on Saturday.

Gonzaga plays at No. 22 Washington on Sunday, followed by a game at No. 12 Arizona on Dec. 14 before returning home to face No. 7 North Carolina on Dec. 18.

Petrusev leads No. 8 Gonzaga over North Dakota 97-66

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SPOKANE, Wash. — Filip Petrusev had 19 points, 15 rebounds and four blocked shots as No. 8 Gonzaga beat North Dakota 97-66 on Tuesday.

Corey Kispert scored 20 points and Anton Watson added 15 for Gonzaga (3-0), which has romped to victory in all three games. Six Bulldogs scored in double figures.

The Zags have won all six meetings with the Fighting Hawks.

Marlon Stewart scored 21 points and Filip Rebraca had 16 points and 13 rebounds for North Dakota (1-1), which took Gonzaga to overtime before losing here in 2017.

No such thriller this time, as Gonzaga held the Fighting Hawks to 34.7% shooting and outrebounded them 53-29.

Gonzaga jumped to a 15-2 lead as North Dakota missed eight of its first nine shots.

Kispert and Admon Gilder each hit 3-pointers as Gonzaga built a 25-9 lead.

North Dakota found its shooting touch and consecutive 3-pointers by Stewart cut Gonzaga’s lead to 30-21.

The Bulldogs replied with a 14-1 run.

Gonzaga led 55-36 at halftime, after holding the Fighting Hawks to 35% shooting and outrebounding them 28-14 in the first.

Gonzaga pushed the lead to 65-40 midway through the second, behind three consecutive baskets by Watson.

BIG PICTURE

North Dakota: Freshman De’Sean Allen-Eikens scored 22 points in a season-opening win over Crown, but was held in check Tuesday. North Dakota has never beaten a ranked team since joining Division I in 2008. North Dakota has 11 returning letter winners, including four who started at least 16 games last season.

Gonzaga: The Bulldogs came in shooting 60% from the field, second in the nation. They average 102.5 points per game. They have six freshmen on their roster and one returning starter in Kispert. Gonzaga’s 165 wins in the past five seasons are tops in Division I.

UP NEXT

North Dakota plays at Valparaiso on Sunday.

Gonzaga faces its toughest test of the young season at Texas A&M on Friday.

Kispert leads No. 8 Gonzaga over Alabama State 95-64

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SPOKANE, Wash. — Corey Kispert is the only returning starter for No. 8 Gonzaga from last year’s Elite Eight team, and he knows many of his young teammates are looking for leadership.

He provided it Tuesday.

Kispert scored a career-high 28 points as Gonzaga used a second-half surge to beat Alabama State 95-64 in the season opener for both teams.

“Setting the tone for the team is kind of what I am trying to do,” Kispert said after making 10 of his 13 shots, including five from 3-point range.

“I was in rhythm, not thinking too much,” Kispert said. “I let it come to me. That’s when the best things happen.”

Kispert knows he has to take a leadership role on a team that lost four starters to the NBA.

He said he learned how to be a leader from former teammates Johnathan Williams two years ago and Josh Perkins last year.

“I played with guys who did it well,” Kispert said.

Filip Petrusev added 15 points, Admon Gilder scored 12 and Ryan Woolridge had 11 for depleted Gonzaga, which is down to nine scholarship players. The Bulldogs have won 16 consecutive season openers dating to 2003.

Jacoby Ross scored 16 points and Brandon Battle had 10 for Alabama State in the first meeting between the teams.

Gonzaga led 42-30 at halftime behind 13 points from Kispert. Alabama State was hampered by 12 turnovers in the first half that led to 14 Gonzaga points. Gonzaga had just three turnovers in the first.

Consecutive 3-pointers by Ross allowed the Hornets to cut Gonzaga’s lead to 50-41 early in the second.

“It was a complete breakdown in our coverage,” Kispert said. “We’ve got to tighten up.”

Gonzaga replied with 15 straight points, while holding Alabama State scoreless for nearly six minutes, to take a 65-41 lead and was not threatened again. Kispert had nine points in that run.

Alabama State coach Lewis Jackson said the 24 fouls called on his team were a big problem.

“We wanted to come out aggressively on defense, but we picked up too many fouls,” Jackson said. “They got too many points off the free-throw line.”

Gonzaga sank 17 free throws, to just seven for the Hornets.

“Jacoby played really well,” Jackson said. “He was aggressive on defense and played with a lot of poise.”

SHORT-HANDED ZAGS

Forward Killian Tillie is still recovering from knee surgery and did not play, while freshman guard Brock Ravet, who was expected to contribute, has temporarily left the team for personal reasons. Gonzaga coach Mark Few said Tillie is the team’s most experienced player, despite missing much of last season with various injuries. “It’s frustrating for him,” Few said. “Hopefully we’ll get him back.”

TURNOVER TROUBLE

Alabama State was plagued by 21 turnovers that led to 29 Gonzaga points. The Zags committed just eight turnovers.

STATS

Gonzaga won the rebounding battle 34-25 and shot 57.6% to 49% for the Hornets.

BIG PICTURE

Alabama State: The Hornets are starting the season with 15 consecutive road games. They do not play at home until January. Jackson is seeking his 200th career victory.

Gonzaga: The Zags are picked to win an eighth consecutive West Coast Conference regular-season title. They have averaged 33 wins per season since 2014-15, tops in the nation.

UP NEXT

Alabama State plays at Missouri State on Sunday.

Gonzaga hosts Arkansas-Pine Bluff on Saturday.