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College basketball: No. 3 Gonzaga rolls, sets sights on No. 1

Johnathan Williams, Nassir Barrino
Gonzaga forward Johnathan Williams (3) grabs a rebound against San Diego guard Nassir Barrino (0) during the second half on Jan. 26.
(Young Kwak / Associated Press)

Nigel Williams-Goss scored 25 points Thursday night as unbeaten and third-ranked Gonzaga rolled to a 79-43 victory over San Diego at Spokane, Wash., clearing one obstacle to a possible No. 1 ranking next week. 

Johnathan Williams added 13 points and 12 rebounds for the Bulldogs, who have a good chance of claiming the top spot in the AP poll after No. 1 Villanova and No. 2 Kansas lost this week.

Gonzaga, 21-0 overall and 9-0 in the West Coast Conference, plays Pepperdine on Saturday night in Malibu. 

Other notable games around the nation:

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at No. 9 North Carolina 91, Virginia Tech 72: Justin Jackson scored 26 points to lead the Tar Heels.

Kennedy Meeks added 15 points and 14 rebounds for North Carolina, which climbed into sole possession of first place in the Atlantic Coast Conference with its seventh consecutive victory along with No. 6 Florida State’s loss at Georgia Tech on Wednesday. 

North Carolina (19-3, 7-1) made a season-high 14 three-point shots. Seth Allen scored 19 points for Virginia Tech (15-5, 4-4).

at No. 19 Cincinnati 86, No. 24 Xavier 78: Jacob Evans III scored 21 points to lead the Bearcats. 

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Cincinnati (18-2) extended its winning streak to 11 games by overcoming an incredible performance by Trevon Bluiett, who made 12 of 15 shots and scored a career-high 40 points for Xavier (14-6).

at Alabama Birmingham 79, Louisiana Tech 70: The Conference USA game was marred by a benches-clearing brawl that resulted in Louisiana Tech playing the final six minutes with only four players.

Despite being a player short, Louisiana Tech outscored UAB, 20-16.

Notable West Coast games:

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No. 7 Arizona 79, Washington State 62: Allonzo Trier scored 17 points in his first home game of the season, Lauri Markkanen had a double-double and No. 7 Arizona pulled away late Thursday night in a 79-62 victory over Washington State at Tucson.

Trier scored 12 points against UCLA on Saturday in his first game back after a 19-game suspension for performance-enhancing drugs. He became more assertive after a quiet first half at McKale Center, scoring 11 points in the second to help Arizona improve to 19-2 overall and 8-0 in the Pac-12 Conference.

Markkanen finished with 16 points and 13 rebounds in Arizona’s 13th consecutive win overall and 17th in a row at home. Washington State (10-10, 3-5) played well most of the game before fading. 

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No. 10 Oregon 73, at Utah 67: Dillon Brooks returned after sitting out a game because of an ankle injury and scored 17 points to lead the Ducks.

Oregon (19-2, 8-0) led by as many as 13 points in the second half, but Devon Daniel’s dunk sliced the deficit to five and then Kyle Kuzma’s three-point basket made the score 70-66 with 1:40 to play.

But the Utes (14-6, 5-3) were denied multiple chances at the rim in the late going, including Chris Boucher’s block of Kuzma’s shot with 31 seconds remaining. 

at Colorado 85, Oregon State 78: George King scored a season-high 24 points and the Buffaloes (11-10, 1-7) ended a seven-game losing streak.

Drew Eubanks scored 27 points and Stephen Thompson Jr. added a career-high 26 for Oregon State, but the Beavers (4-17, 0-8) could not avoid their eighth consecutive loss. They are 0-8 on the road.

Cal Poly 79, at UC Irvine 66: Victor Joseph scored 22 points and the Mustangs ended a 10-game losing streak while dealing the Anteaters their first Big West loss of the season on Thursday night. The win gives Cal Poly its first conference win, and avenges a 70-48 drubbing at the hands of UC Irvine on Jan. 18. 

at Loyola Marymount 79, Pacific 73: Brandon Brown hit nine of 11 field-goal attempts for 21 points while dishing out six assists as the Lions held off the Tigers. Trevor Manuel and Steven Haney added 11 apiece for Loyola Marymount. 

at Long Beach State 76, Cal State Fullerton 65: Justin Bibbins hit five three-pointers and scored 26 points, both matching career highs, and the 49ers pulled away for a win over the Titans. Roschon Prince had nine points and career highs with 14 rebounds and four blocks. 

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at Pepperdine 78, Portland 60: Lamond Murray Jr. had 22 points and 10 rebounds, and the Waves beat the Pilots to end a five-game losing streak. Murray was nine for 20 from the floor, and has scored 20 points or more in six straight games to match a program record. 

Upcoming Friday night Southland games:

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Arizona at USC — 7 p.m. PST

No. 16 Arizona State at No. 13 UCLA — 8 p.m. PST


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