A Player's Program: #8 Gonzaga preview - Tucson News Now

A Player's Program: #8 Gonzaga preview

TUCSON, AZ -

Arizona and Gonzaga will meet Saturday for the fourth consecutive season and the seventh time since 2000. 

The 16th ranked Wildcats (6-1) enter the contest following a win versus Texas Southern, 85-63, in McKale Center on Wednesday evening. 

UA’s offense posted an impressive field goal percentage of 63.2 percent for the game, which was a new season high by 14.1 percent. The season high was propelled by the Wildcats shooting 72.7 percent from the field in the second half. 

UA is led in scoring by the freshmen trio of Lauri Markkanen (18.3 ppg), Kobi Simmons (13.0 ppg) and Rawle Alkins (10.9 ppg). 

Those three freshmen make Arizona one of only two programs in the nation to have its top three scorers all be freshmen averaging at least ten points per game. The other school in this distinction is Auburn. 

The Wildcats have won six of the seven meetings versus the Zags with five of those games being decided by five points or fewer. 

Arizona won 66-63 in overtime in Tucson on Dec. 6, 2014 before downing Gonzaga 68-63 in Spokane last December. 

Entering the weekend, Lauri Markkanen is the only player in the Pac-12 to rank in the top 15 of the conference in scoring (18.3 ppg – 4th), field goal percentage (.541 – 13th), three-point field goal percentage (.469 – 6th) and free throw percentage (.892 – 4th). 

The 8th ranked Bulldogs (7-0) have won their first seven games for just the fifth time since the 1958-59 season.

They are led by guard Nigel Williams-Goss and Josh Perkins. Both are averaging 13 points per game while Perkins has pushed that average to 15 over the last five games.

Copyright 2016 Arizona Athletics. All rights reserved.

David Kelly contributed to this story.

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